Effective Strategies for Enhancing Access Control Security
Protect your data with foolproof authentication that only grants entry to authorized individuals. This includes user IDs, passwords, PINs, security tokens, and cutting-edge biometric scans.
Schedule access reviews to verify and validate users’ privileges regularly. This ensures users’ access rights align with their assigned roles and responsibilities.
Automated Access Reviews
User access reviews reduce the risk of a security breach by ensuring that privileged users can access only those systems, applications and data they need for their job. In addition, they can curb overprovisioning, which can waste valuable licenses and slow down critical systems. Regular access reviews thoroughly examine permissions and assess whether the access level is appropriate for the current role and responsibilities.
While there are many different approaches to user access reviews, the best practice is to enlist the help of the people who deal with the application and data daily. This includes department heads, team leads, and managers who know the people and permissions being reviewed. This will ensure that the review is accurate and timely.
This approach is especially important for organizations that use Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), which automatically revokes old permissions as staff move between roles. This eliminates the need for manual access reviews, which can be time-consuming and error-prone. In addition, access control security reduces the risk of security breaches due to accidental or malicious changes.
It also helps to create a culture of security awareness within the organization. Involving employees in the process will speed up and improve employee understanding of the importance of cybersecurity measures. This will also reduce the number of unnecessary privileges that get revoked.
Privileged Access Management
Privileged access management involves monitoring and controlling privileged access so that it doesn’t get out of control and put your organization at risk. This can include granting temporary privileges, tracking user activity, and enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA).
PAM solutions can also limit the number of privileged accounts in your environment. For example, administrator accounts can provide elevated access to an entire IT infrastructure network but are commonly found to be hot targets for attackers. They can be used to modify Group Policy, steal data or cause damage to your infrastructure. This is why it’s important to reduce the attack surface of your IT infrastructure and only grant privileged access as needed.
When granting access, it’s also a good idea to apply the principle of least privilege and only allow users access to areas necessary for them to do their jobs.
This will ensure that if a privileged account is compromised, the attacker can’t do more damage than they could have done with an ordinary user account. This can be achieved by implementing zero trust policies, using MFA for all privileged access and removing orphaned accounts. It’s also important to use a solution that provides just-in-time access for day-to-day activities and offers methods for instant revocation of access.
Data Loss Prevention
An effective access control strategy must also include data loss prevention (DLP). A DLP solution monitors sensitive information for risky or inappropriate sharing, transfer, and use across on-premises systems, cloud-based locations, and endpoint devices. DLP can help prevent data breaches, ensure compliance with HIPAA and GDPR, and identify potential insider threats.
Securing administrative access is critical, as these accounts offer elevated privileges and are prime targets for cyber attacks. To help mitigate this risk, administrators should be restricted to the minimum access privileges required for their roles and only granted these privileges when necessary. In addition, regular phishing simulations and training can help to make administrators more aware of the risks associated with their privileged access and increase their vigilance around suspicious activity.
Temporary privileges are another access control security measure that helps limit the opportunity for unintentional exploitation and misuse. This practice allows organizations to grant users higher access rights for a short period, such as when a user needs to troubleshoot a problem or work with a particularly sensitive piece of data. Typically, these temporary privileges are logged and tracked, increasing accountability and visibility to granting privileges.
Many access control oversights occur when people must remember to revoke their access privileges after they no longer need them.
To avoid these types of mistakes, it’s important to regularly review your access control system and update your permissions accordingly. A simple way to keep track of these changes is by incorporating access card auto-expiration and connecting your access control system with human resources or contractor databases.
A layered security approach, also known as defense-in-depth, helps organizations protect each touchpoint using tools purposefully built for that touchpoint. For example, an employee’s laptop may have a VPN and antivirus software for securely accessing a company network, with the data on that laptop encrypted for redundancy and protection from malware threats.
Layered security starts with the physical layer, securing campuses, buildings, and other physical assets with locks, cameras, and alarm systems. It then moves to the network layer, securing servers and devices with firewalls and intrusion detection systems. Finally, it reaches the application layer, where encryption, tokenization, and other secure access measures protect individual applications.
For instance, role-based access control (RBAC) limits access to files and systems based on roles assigned to users in the organization. Additionally, many privileged access management solutions allow organizations to grant temporary privileges that expire when the user no longer needs those privileges.
This prevents unintentional misuse of or exploitation by malicious actors while allowing users to complete essential tasks. Additionally, most privileged access management systems will log and track the use of these temporary privileges, helping to create accountability and enhance overall security posture.
Likewise, an organization’s security team must regularly test the system to ensure all components work correctly. For example, a district should test its access control system to ensure all doors are closing and locking properly. If there are any issues, these problems must be addressed quickly so they don’t erode the security posture of the entire system.