POLP or Principle of Least Privilege is a concept or procedure in computer security that restrains the users’ access to just what is strictly needed to do their jobs.
Users are allowed permission to write, read, or execute only the resources or files essential for the job. The principle is known as the principle of minimal privilege or the access control principle.
How Does the POLP Function?
The principle of least privilege mainly functions by permitting just adequate access to get the job done. If you adhere to this principle in an IT ambiance, the risk of attackers gaining access to sensitive data or critical systems by compromising a device, user account (lower level), or application is reduced.
You can contain the compromises to the area of origin with the help of POLP that stops them from spreading to the system at large.
Perks of Using POLP
To give you more idea about it, here are some of the major perks of POLP. Take a look.
- Decreases the Risk of Cyber Attacks – When privileged credentials are exploited by an attacker, it is a case of cyber attack. POLP limits the potential damage and thus protects systems from unauthorized users gaining system access.
- Prevents the Malware Spread – Malware attacks fail to use administrator or high-profile accounts and cannot damage the system or install malware when POLP restrictions are imposed on computer systems.
- Assists in Demonstrating Compliance – Organisations can prove their compliance with regulatory terms when an audit occurs by bringing forth the concepts of POLP that they have implemented.
- Enhances User Productivity – When a workforce is given only the required accessibility to complete the task assigned to them or accomplish the work they are responsible for, there will be less trouble-shooting and more productivity.
- Assists with Classification of Data – POLP concepts empower companies to analyze who can access what data if and when unauthorized access takes place.
Security Implications Provided by POLP for Web-Based Apps
The web-based apps implement a couple or more security contexts, in which one can be characterized as “administrator” or “typical user”.
Some of the web-based apps like network or cloud management consoles, security portals, vulnerability, or threat reporting and alerting tools can have various levels of administrative privilege.
That way, they can differentiate between basic admins who can maintain and upgrade the runtime context from senior admins capable of installing and configuring the environment, establishing role-based security structures, and populating them with accounts and groups.
How to Implement POLP for Securing Your Web Apps
Across the board, the principle of least privilege can be asserted by checking the accounts and processes associated with the web app–
- Do admins execute in a proper administrator security environment?
- Do ordinary users execute in a typical user ambiance?
If they do so, that is one step to ensure that things are working as expected. If not, you must work now to set things right and ensure that the accounts are secured properly.
But more is needed to assert POLP for the web-based apps. You can use some audit tools within the security tools of the web app itself and the access control capabilities of the OS of the host platform. It is mandatory to gain a picture of the privilege available to the web-based apps in their usual runtime context.
You can do the same thing for user roles, accounts, or groups required to run the web-based apps. From the information and forensic gathering perspective, you can also use audit tools and logs to know how privilege is used in genuine and general runtime contexts for web-based apps.
Probably you won’t find anything, but if you find a glitch, a security incident must be declared.
While POLP assists in minimizing the risks of unauthorized users accessing sensitive data, keep in mind that the minimum permissions should be at par with the role and responsibility of a user, which can be a bit of a challenge in larger organizations.
But with proper expertise and support, the principle of least privilege can benefit your organization in more ways than one. Paying attention to assignments and access rights and privilege is the key to asserting and maintaining POLP.
Opt for it and regain your peace of mind by ensuring that your valuable data, systems, and web apps are in safe hands. Safeguard your IT infrastructure and help your organization achieve its true potential with POLP. However, before you integrate it into your systems, consult the industry experts for selecting the right platforms and automating the process.