How Restricting Access to Resources improves your Cyber Security

8 July 2024 by
How Restricting Access to Resources improves your Cyber Security
Mark Hodgkinson

The need for cybersecurity improvements is evident. A recent study revealed a staggering 72% increase in data breaches between 2021 and 2022, and it’s hard to dispute the alarming nature of these figures .

Despite implementing strict access controls and robust security policies, no organization is immune to cyberattacks. A notable example occurred in 2015 when the Pentagon, renowned for its security measures, experienced a breach of over 30,000 personnel records. Although the attackers did not access highly classified information, the incident underscored existing vulnerabilities. Undoubtedly, enhancing access controls would significantly bolster cybersecurity

And that’s what we want to discuss: how restricting access to resources improves cyber security. 

Limited Access = Limited Problems

Implementing access restrictions within an organization significantly reduces the potential attack surface for cyber threats. This approach is not about mistrusting individuals; rather, it focuses on minimizing unnecessary exposure points.

A core tenet of cybersecurity is adhering to the principle of least privilege, which means granting only the essential permissions and access rights required for job tasks. By limiting the number of authorized personnel, organizations can greatly mitigate the risk of unauthorized entry, data breaches, and other security incidents.

In summary, fewer authorized individuals equate to fewer security challenges

Improved Security

Implementing strict access controls directly enhances Security Information and Event Management (SIEM). By ensuring that specific resources are accessible only to authorized personnel, organizations significantly improve protection against various cybercrimes. These threats include external attacks from hackers attempting to breach network defenses, as well as incidents caused unintentionally by employees (accounting for 88% of company breaches). Effective enforcement of security policies can be achieved through mechanisms such as role-based access control (RBAC) and mandatory access control (MAC). Overall, organizations establish a robust multi-layer defense strategy to safeguard sensitive data from unauthorized access.

Boost Efficiency

Efficient operations benefit from restricted accessibility, particularly within organizational settings.

When proper access controls are in place, employees are limited to viewing only what is relevant to their roles. After all, why should employees need to access anything beyond their job requirements?

Clearly defined access rights enable employees to work effectively within their digital environment, reducing the time spent searching for information or gaining system access. This streamlined approach leads to increased productivity.

Moreover, limiting the number of individuals with access to sensitive systems prevents accidental modifications or deletions of critical data, resulting in a more stable and robust operation. Trust us, people can be trigger-happy and inadvertently delete important files. Without backups, it becomes a nightmare.

Additionally, security teams can better monitor and protect privileged resources by minimizing the number of authorized personnel.

Simplify User Management

Simplified user management is a significant advantage of restricting access to resources, especially for large organizations. Dealing with high staff turnovers and numerous departments can make user management complex and time-consuming.

Strict controls on accessing critical information and crucial systems ensure that only authorized personnel have access. Access control systems, such as identity and access management (IAM) solutions, provide an integrated platform for managing user permissions. Administrators can easily add, edit, or remove access rights based on roles, departments, or employment status.

Different Types of Access Control

While it would be convenient if there were only one type of access control, the reality is more nuanced. Let’s explore the most common types:

  1. Discretionary Access Control (DAC): This authorisation system allows resource owners to make decisions about accessibility. Based on their judgment, owners can grant or deny requests for resource access from other users.
  2. Mandatory Access Control (MAC): MAC operates with rigidity. It follows predefined rules based on security labels and classifications. For instance, a user’s clearance level and the classification of specific resources determine their permissions.
  3. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): In RBAC, permissions are assigned to roles within an organization. Each role has specific associated permissions. When a user’s role changes, so do their permissions.
  4. Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC): ABAC considers various attributes, such as individual user attributes and resource-related conditions, to determine access rights.

Considering the alarming statistics we presented earlier, implementing access control strategies becomes crucial for companies aiming to enhance cybersecurity. The security benefits are substantial, making restricted access a resounding ‘yes’ for every organization.

 


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