Why Should You Implement the Principle of Least Privilege?

Why Should You Implement the Principle of Least Privilege

Cloud security is essential for both businesses and end-users as everyone wants their information to be safe. Especially when it comes to businesses, they have to meet legal obligations to keep their clients’ data safe.

A large number of potential threats in cloud computing comes from human errors, malicious insiders, and account hijacking. These cloud security threats can be kept at a minimum by controlling permissions and privileges offered to the user. To make things clear, we have discussed different aspects of the principle of least privilege in detail.

What Is the “Principle of Minimal Privilege”?

This concept works on the idea that any program or user should only have minimum access and privileges in the cloud environment required to perform their function. For example, not all users need the right to edit or share client details. In such a scenario, the user should only be able to pull client information from the database but should not be able to make changes or share the information with others within or outside the organization. The principle of least privilege is considered as a best practice in the information technology industry.

Why Do You Need the “Principle of Minimal Privilege”?

The principle of minimal privilege helps eliminate common privileged threat vectors that include insider’s gone rogue, hackers, malware, partners, and simple user errors.

Poor Computing Hygiene + Excessive Privileges = Opportunities for Exploits 

Routine computing for employees generally includes email, Internet browsing, use of MS-Office, watching streaming video, and other basic applications. In the case of Windows PCs, most employees log into their system with administrative account privileges than what is needed. These excessive privileges increase the risks.

Hackers can steal passwords or install malware via email attachments or surfing. The hacker can then use the entire set of privileges of the account to access data from an infected computer. In a worst-case scenario, the infected computer can be used for coordinated attacks.

Insider Privilege Abuse 

Allowing users or multiple users to utilize an all-powerful cloud environment can cause several problems. For example, a simple click could delete an important file that can have far-reaching consequences. Also, accidental changes in the configuration can cause downtime of Tier-1 systems and bring all business activities to a halt. Some configuration errors can also cause gigantic vulnerabilities that would allow other exploits in the cloud platform.

External Hackers 

Hackers long for privileged accounts, as they once obtained, it provides fast track access to the organization’s critical systems and sensitive data. An account with excessive privileges in the wrong hands is a catastrophe. It will make a hacker an insider, and that’s a dangerous scenario.

One tactic hacker use to exploit cloud platforms is to gain an initial foothold through a standard account with excessive privileges and then exploit the system to steal admin passwords to gain more control over the cloud account.

Benefits of Principle of Minimal Privilege 

There are several advantages of implementing the principle of least privilege.

  • Better Security – It improves the security of the cloud account by preventing unauthorized access to critical cloud resources.
  • Minimizes Attack Surface– The least privileges concept prevents hackers from using the standard account to their advantage. Even an insider with malicious intent cannot access the essential resources that reduce the probability of internal attacks on the cloud system.
  • Limited Malware Propagation – even if malware gets an entry into the system, it is contained in a small area of functioning where it cannot inflict massive damage.

We thrive in a rapidly expanding universe of connected things, including smart devices, health monitoring, delivery devices, and industrial appliances. This presents an enormous challenge to IT in identifying and securing legitimate devices. The principle of minimal privileges helps rein in cloud security threats that come through the user’s excessive privileges.