Cyber Security and IT: User Management and Access Control

Tali Sachs

In today’s digital world, Cyber Security User Management and Access Control are two elements that go hand-in-hand.

 

Cyber Security User Management is simply the tool that allows System Administrators (or SysAdmins, for short) to manage the users of a network. For example, when a new employee joins an organization, the SysAdmin will create a new user on the company network. SysAdmins usually monitor user activity on an ongoing basis. When a staff member’s employment is terminated, the SysAdmin will disable the user account.

 

Access Control is what Network Admins use to grant or restrict a section of a computer network. It authorizes and controls user permissions.

 

So how does this pertain to Cyber Security?

 

With Greater Access Comes Greater Risk

No organization likes to think it cannot trust its own people. The very nature of IT and Cyber Security requires trusting not only the systems that are designed to withstand unauthorized access, but the employees who run and test those systems. In most cases, a company’s employees are its first line of defense.

However, blind trust can be a risk. Whether intentional or unintentional, a network user could enter a restricted area of an organization’s network or give access to an outside party. A security breach could then compromise the user account or the entire network. This possibility becomes more serious the larger the network and number of users, such as universities, hospitals, city services, and even the federal government.

 

Multiple Access Points

Gone are the days of one single computer station for each user. With the advent of technology, users can now access a computer network from multiple sources: on-site, mobile, and VPN, to name a few.

Threat detection programs must be equipped to respond to these same access points. SysAdmins need to constantly monitor and test Cyber Security User Management and Access Control systems to ensure they are as up-to-date as possible.

 

Passwords

We can’t say this enough: weak passwords equal a weak computer system. Healthy User Management tools require strong and hard-to-guess passwords and ensure that users update them on a consistent basis. After all, it isn’t only their own access that could be at risk.

 

Additionally, it’s a good rule of thumb to require different passwords for different areas of a network. This makes it harder for Hackers to gain entry to the entire system should they get into a single access point.

 

Social Media and Access Control

Hackers often try to gain entry to a secure network by way of social media. Because it’s fairly common for someone to receive a Facebook friend request from a person they don’t know or acquire an unknown Twitter follower, network users and SysAdmins must be vigilant. For this reason, many organizations either disable or greatly limit social media access from within their network.

 

Ongoing Monitoring

Managing users on a network can be a full-time job. Consider the activity in a large organization, such as an insurance company. The company employs 500 staff members in 12 offices, located in three different countries, with top-level executives and a sales team who travel internationally. This kind of setup cannot be left to random spot checks.

 

Network Admins must have strong tools to ensure top Cyber Security User Management and Access Control measures are in place.

 

For more on the latest in Cyber Security trends and news, check out other TurnToTech blogs and news.

 

 

Resources:

UK National Cyber Security Centre https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/10-steps-managing-user-privileges

Thycotic https://thycotic.com/