Monitoring and determining who gets access to which data sources and how they access them can be challenging… but having a good access control system in place can be a life saver in case of a breach.
Regardless of the way your company choses to implement an access control strategy, it must be constantly monitored to make sure no user ends up with too many accesses that could compromise the security your sensitive information. For you, sensitive information might mean intellectual property, customer information or industry-specific data that must be protected.
One of the roles of access control is to protect specific information based on its value, importance and risk it would present to the business if it is exposed. As your company’s IT ecosystem expands, either due to your employees working remotely or partners needing access to some of your datasets, it is your job to ensure that these accesses are only granted for the information they need. This is by no means an easy task to do. Keeping track of all end points has become harder and not being able to draw the line between who’s inside and who’s outside your network adds another level of complexity to this problem.
Adding to the challenge of expanding ecosystems, is the management of users within it. New hires, employees changing roles or those leaving affect access rights and can increase the risk of threats if not properly managed. This means that sometimes, users might end up with more accesses than they actually need. As individuals move across the company, they have a tendency to accumulate access rights, which are rarely revoked or revised. Over an extended period of time, this can become a huge security risk. Now, imagine if you have dozens or hundreds of users in this situation!
The accumulation of unnecessary rights can be the result of not having a proper process in place to revise these accesses as users change roles or simply because your team does not have the right tools to monitor these rights. Determining user roles to reconcile the access users have to what they should have and adjust accordingly, is a good place to begin. For example, once you determine what type of information your Financial Analyst needs, it will be easier for your IT team to compare and retract any unnecessary access points.
Systems audits can also be beneficial as they will allow your analysts to see what is on your network and who can access the information that resides in it. It is important to conduct system audits on a regular basis because networks expand and new connections are being made regularly. Mapping all connections is an important thing to do as it can help you identify potential risks when granting access rights to users. A tool such as blësk’s Switch Port Manager (SPM) can help you with this task!
A policy of last privilege is also a good tool you can implement. This basically grants your employees the minimum access they needed to do their job effectively and efficiently which highlights the importance of having well defined user roles.
There are many tools available you can use in order to improve the security of your company’s sensitive information. Access control policies are not easy to implement but when broken down in smaller pieces it is something worth pursuing.