Importance of User Permissions for Enterprise Security

Importance of User Permissions for Enterprise Security
The Siliconreview
21 November, 2019

Enterprise security is a very complicated topic. All organizations need to take every reasonable precaution to minimize the likelihood of a security breach. Unfortunately, this requires them to be a bit cautious about trusting their employees. Whether they deliberately cause security issues or make mistakes that expose the network to third-party risks, employees can pose serious security problems. Shrewd IT managers will set user permissions conservatively to minimize these risks.

Why assigning user permissions is essential for network security

Organizations want to believe that they can trust their employees. They feel that employees should be able to freely access network resources without restraint, because they are valued members of their team. Unfortunately, unrestricted user privileges raise a tremendous number of security concerns.

Here are a couple of reasons that network administrators need to be aware of with network privileges.

Security breaches are usually inside jobs

Most people believe that security breaches are caused by sophisticated rogue hackers on the other side of the world. Cases like the John Podesta email hacking scandal help perpetuate this myth.

The reality is that the majority of security breaches are at least partially caused by the organization’s own employees. One study found that about 75% of all data breaches are inside jobs.

Setting strict use of privileges minimizes the risk of unscrupulous employees purloining your data. You don’t want to think that they would do something like that, but you can’t afford to take chances. There are a number of reasons they could consider participating in a data breach. They may be extorted by a hacker, take a bribe from someone organizing a data breach because they need extra money or release the data on their own because they harbor a grudge against the company. Creating strict user privileges should help prevent these problems. This is true with Docker resources, so you can set the user permission of your Docker registry.

Reduce the risk of unintentional security holes

As stated above, three out of four security breaches or at least partially caused by employees deliberately aiding the hackers or causing the breach themselves. However, there are plenty of other instances when well-meaning employees could inadvertently help cyber criminals.

Hackers take advantage of all possible security loopholes. They recognize that certain employees might not have the technical expertise to see through certain data breach attempts. They will take advantage of this, unless you take proper precautions.

This is another reason that it is necessary to have tight user privileges.  Fortunately, the risk of employees accidentally compromising data will be greatly reduced by ensuring that theywon’t be able to access the resources they don’t need.

Examples of user privileges

Determining the right user privileges can be difficult at first. You may have an easier time assigning appropriate privileges if you evaluate some examples from other companies. There are some examples to consider.

Privileges for database administrators

Database administrators have to perform a variety of actions on company data. As a result, their permissions should usually be nearly entirely unrestricted. They need to be able to read and write almost any type of data, as well as modify existing data sets.

Accounting professionals

Accounting professionals need to be able to review all kinds of customer data. They need to identify individual customers and review a wide range of financial information about them, including their credit card information. However, there is usually no reason for an accountant to actually modify this data. They should be given user privileges to read any customer data, but not right to the database or modify existing fields. If they identify an issue that needs to be changed, then they will need to report it to the database administrator.

Customer support specialists

Customer support professionals should have even fewer user permissions than accountants. They should be able to review customer information, but with certain limitations. They should not have access to financial records.

User Permissions Need to Be Restricted for Security Reasons

You need to be cautious about setting up user permissions. If you don’t set them appropriately, then you can create a host of security risks. Although you want to trust your employees, you need to recognize the risks of giving them unrestricted access to all network resources.