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Five Steps To A Secure User Access Strategy: Tips From A Managed Service Provider
A managed service provider is much more than your outsourced IT support. They are the experts you turn to for anything related to your IT security. With a broad unbiased view of the industry and decades of expertise, they will help you understand your needs better and craft the best security solutions that align with your business operations and workflow. While IT security is a complex and continuous effort, it does have certain fundamentals that every organization needs to focus on.
What Is User Access Strategy?
User access strategy is one of the core components of IT security. Every piece of data has its value depending on its confidentiality and criticality to the business. For instance, the available quantities for a particular product could be made public, but a customer’s contact and payment information should remain strictly private.
Leaking of sensitive data can lead to disastrous consequences that can cause monetary loss and severe damage to the company’s reputation. User access strategy provides an efficient way to regulate data use and ensure data access is provided only on a need basis. User access strategy helps establish different access levels and user roles so that data is never accessed outside their scope.
Defining your user access strategy is thus an essential part of your IT security management. Here are the five steps that 3nom, a leading managed service provider in NY, NJ and FL, recommends you take to establish a secure user access strategy.
Unique User Accounts /Roles
The fundamental level of access starts with creating a user account for every user who needs to access your system. Each user account should be identified with a unique id and given password-protected access. Users must never share passwords and accounts. Each time a user account is created, you assign it a security role. User role assignments should depend on the actual type of work, duties, or responsibilities the particular user will be undertaking, maintaining the Separation of Duties principles for accounting and other mission-critical types of work. Ensure that the key stakeholders and system owners validate the user roles before assigning them to user accounts.
Establish Strong Authentication Mechanisms
Consider employing robust authentication mechanisms such as multi-factor authentication and enforce your users to use strong password credentials.
Record Account Activities
There are several policies and regulations, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), and so on which regulate proper use of data. Make sure your system complies with the relevant data regulations and government policies to protect data and maintain data integrity at all times. You will have to record sessions activities of each privileged user account and continuously monitor data transfers to maintain trackable records that help with better auditing and forensic analysis in case of a security incident.
Automate Access Sharing
In practice, many users tend to share their account credentials with fellow users as a way to share data or ensure business continuity. But this can be quite problematic and defeats the purpose of establishing different user access levels. To prevent this, you need to automate the management of shared passwords or efficiently automate data access management. It should be made easy to assign, grant, and revoke access to data as and when required by authorized users. Analyze your business hierarchies and real-world operations to establish the right access levels, security roles, and associated privileges.
Monitor User Activity
Conduct regular audits to check whether you stay compliant and if there have been any forbidden data access operations. Audits also help you revise your access policies and help you continuously improve your existing security strategies.
An experienced full-service managed service provider can help you devise a step-by-step data protection strategy that fits your business. To start, schedule your free 30-minute consultation with 3nom Managing Director here.