Access control is a complex undertaking, which leaves it ripe for vulnerabilities and risks. Consider these five ways to shore-up your access control security approach and ensure your user permissions and settings aren’t putting you at risk.
What Is Access Control?
As the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) explains, access control is the way applications grant access to certain users and not others. Employees who administer those applications often define roles that grant access to specific applications for certain types of users. For example, an "admin" role would have access to administer the application, a very powerful role. Things can get tricky, however, when users have multiple or overlapping roles and permissions. As OWASP puts it, “Developers frequently underestimate the difficulty of implementing a reliable access control mechanism.”
5 Ways to Secure Your Access Controls
So, what can you do to reign in unwieldy and risky access controls? These five seemingly simple considerations combine to create a more secure access control approach and posture:
- User accounts should be created and maintained using the principle of “Least Privilege”. This means giving a user account "only those privileges which are essential to perform its intended function.”
- Implement multifactor authentication to ensure users are who they say they are when accessing applications.
- Use only secure, encrypted communication protocols - even within private network segments. Telnet and native FTP for example, pass authentication credentials in clear text and can be intercepted.
- It sounds too basic to mention, but physical security is also an access control consideration: “Physical security controls help protect computer facilities and resources from espionage, sabotage, damage, and theft.”
- Rely on monitoring and auditing to maintain compliance, track access, and dig deeper into potential security violations.
Get Your Access Controls in Line
What you don’t know can hurt you. To ensure your access control vulnerabilities are known and accounted for, Security Pursuit provides comprehensive IT audit services. We can highlight areas where access controls are lacking and help remediate your vulnerabilities to ensure a secure and compliant environment.