What Is The Principle Of Least Privilege (POLP)?

Person signing into laptop with principle of least privilege concept

Written by: Jay H.

The principle of least privilege (POLP) is the concept that you should only grant any user, program, or process the bare minimum privileges required to perform its tasks. So whether that user is the owner or a new hire, they only have the minimum permissions needed to do their jobs. This principle works by giving excessive rights only when necessary, thus reducing the risk of attackers gaining access to sensitive data in case of a breach.

Importance Of The Principle Of Least Privilege

Many experts agree that the principle of least privilege is one of the best cybersecurity practices that businesses should enforce.

However, while this concept may seem simple on paper, one study found that at least 72 percent of enterprises struggle to control excessive admin accounts. This is especially concerning when up to 99 percent of user privileges are unused and pose a potential risk.

According to Verizon, stolen credentials played a part in 80 percent of data breaches. Considering the average data breach costs small businesses $200,000, this is obviously an area of concern. Thus, implementing the POLP can provide many benefits, including:

  • A reduced attack surface for threat actors.
  • Limited malware infection and propagation.
  • Improved compliance and audit readiness.
  • Greater overall security.

How To Implement The POLP

Organizations can implement least privilege access through various steps, including:

  • Identify where excessive privileges exist.
  • Remove unnecessary admin accounts.
  • Determine how much privilege each user, program, or process requires and then grant the least privileges necessary.
  • Create user accounts with the bare minimum permissions required to do everyday business activities.
  • Use just-in-time privileges to grant privileges only when users need them, then revoke them when finished.
  • Only use administrator accounts when absolutely necessary; otherwise, use standard accounts.
  • Regularly monitor activity on all administrator accounts.

By successfully implementing the POLP in your organization, you can significantly reduce your risk if attackers breach your organization and strengthen your overall cybersecurity strategy.

If you would like Design2Web IT to help implement the principle of least privilege in your business, contact us today. Our managed IT services can help keep your organization safe from costly breaches.Protected by Copyscape

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