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Friday, August 5, 2011

Control 9: Controlled Access Based On Need to Know

Simply being an employee should not serve as adequate justification to obtain access to company data. Segregation of logical access must be in place to help deter casual browsing and potential unauthorized data disclosure. Start with broad concepts such as departments and teams as a way to isolate systems and data from those that do not require access.

A data classification program, even if elementary in nature, would be valuable to help achieve the objective of this control. Even if there are broad and limited categories of data types, it would be valuable to know where sensitive data is stored to make sure it is adequately protected from possible misuse.

Enforce strict role based access for all sensitive resources such as directories and servers and configure the default action to deny for all access that is not explicitly granted. Log failed access attempts and alert the team when failed resource attempts are detected.

Set a monthly calendar reminder to review the access of a small number of employees. Be on guard for access that may no longer be required. This can be a delicate process, so be sensitive to both the real and the perceived needs of co-workers. Enforcing this is particularly difficult with employees with tenure who tend to accumulate access over time.

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