All You Need to Know About Least Privilege: Part Two

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The principle of least privilege (PoLP) in IT stipulates that processes, programs, and users should be granted the absolute minimum privileges (access or permissions) necessary to carry out a particular task. Part two lists the benefits of leveraging the principle of least privilege for your business. 

Diminishes the attack surface

As mentioned in part one, the role of an HVAC contractor was critical to the Target data breach. Given that the third-party vendor had elevated privileges, one can safely say that Target failed to implement PoLP, consequently creating a broad attack surface for the hacker to leverage.

Under PoLP, restricting privileges for your applications, processes, and users significantly diminishes the attack surface and limits the ingresses and pathways for exploitation.

Reduces the impact of breaches

By implementing PoLP, you can substantially reduce the impact of a breach resulting from unauthorized or unwanted use of network privileges. For instance, if a user account with limited privileges is compromised, the scope of catastrophic harm is relatively low.

Reduces malware propagation and infection

Hackers usually target applications and systems with unrestricted privileges. As one of the most common web application cyberattacks, SQL injection attacks by inserting malicious instructions within SQL statements. The hacker can then enhance his privileges and acquire unauthorized control over your critical systems. However, by implementing PoLP, you can efficiently stunt and contain such malware attacks to where they first entered your system.

Ensures superior data security capabilities

In addition to eliminating any security flaws on the periphery of your business, you also need to focus on minimizing the risk of proprietary data thefts and insider leaks. It is imperative to monitor and control the activity of your authorized users to reinforce your cybersecurity stance.

Since PoLP restricts privilege elevations and the number of users given access to confidential information, it inherently enhances the security of your critical data

PoLP best practices

There are certain best practices that you must follow to implement PoLP in your security policies efficiently.Here is a list:

  • First, you must conduct a privilege audit for all your existing programs, processes, and user accounts to ensure they have only the minimum permissions required to do their jobs.
  • Ensure you start all your user accounts with privileges set to the lowest possible level. Implement least privilege as the default for all your existing and new user accounts, applications and systems.
  • You must elevate account privileges as needed and only for a specific period required to do the job. An efficient strategy to provide access while maintaining control is using one-time-use credentials and expiring privileges.
  • Keep track of all the activity on your network, including access requests, system changes, and individual logins. A comprehensive understanding of who is operating on your network and what they do is critical to maintaining control over who can access what.
  • Maintain a management platform allowing flexibility to elevate and downgrade privileged credentials securely.
  • Conduct regular audits to check for old accounts, users or processes that have accumulated privileges over time and analyze whether the elevated privileges are still relevant.

According to PoLP, organizations should operate under the zero-trust framework by not blindly trusting anything within or outside their network and verifying everything before granting permissions for access.

Implement PoLP across your IT environment today to strengthen your cybersecurity posture. Don’t know how? Contact us now to help you understand how you can implement and leverage the powerful capabilities of PoLP.

You can trust our wide range of cybersecurity solutions to safeguard your assets. We adhere to PoLP best practices and offer threat detection and response, risk management, and compliance services. With us, you can have peace of mind knowing that we take a proactive stance and keep abreast of the latest threats. We also provide continuous monitoring and support to ensure the security of your systems and data.

If you’re interested, please get in touch with us for a no-obligation consultation at

Terry Cutler

I’m Terry Cutler, the creator of Internet Safety University, an educational system helping to defend corporations and individuals against growing cyber threats. I’m a federal government-cleared cybersecurity expert (a Certified Ethical Hacker), and the founder of Cyology Labs, a first-line security defence firm headquartered in Montréal, Canada. In 2020, I wrote a bestselling book about the secrets of internet safety from the viewpoint of an ethical hacker. I’m a frequent contributor to National & Global media coverage about cyber-crime, spying, security failures, internet scams, and social network dangers families and individuals face daily.