Access Control Policy
In order to protect our digital assets, organizations have implemented access control policies. These policies are designed to restrict access to confidential information and critical assets within your organization. An access control policy is a list of rules that enforce security measures for user account authentication and system resource authorization. Your organization might have a variety of different authentication methods, like username and password logins, tokens, or biometrics. However, all these methods will fall under the scope of your access control policy. An access control policy is a document that specifies what types of user accounts exist within the system, what their respective privileges are, who can assign privileges to users or change their attributes in general, and who can create new accounts or add new users with specific attributes, who can set which users can see certain data or resources and what type of access each user has within an application based on a set of predetermined rules
Why is an Access Control Policy Important?
An access control policy protects your company from being hacked. It also ensures that employees only have access to the information they need to do their jobs. This ensures that sensitive data is protected from people who don’t need to see it, and that the people who do have access to information have appropriate permissions. An access control policy also helps you monitor who is accessing your data. If a user is trying to access information for which he is not granted permission, you’ll be notified, allowing you to take appropriate action. For example, if an employee is trying to access a file that he is not authorized to view, you’ll know about it. You’ll have the opportunity to review the file, determine what the employee was trying to do, and then decide if any disciplinary action is needed.
What should be included in an access control policy?
There are many different components that you can include in an access control policy, but these are some of the most important:
- Employee Data
- Employee Communications
- Employee Authentication
- Employee Data Retention
- Employee Ownership of Data
- Employee Privacy
- Employee Protection of Data
- Employee Termination
- Employee Responsibilities
- Security Awareness Training
- User Privileges
That said, every business is different, so you may need to tweak the components of your access control policy to meet the needs of your organization.
Employee training and education
One important component of your access control policy is employee training on security policies and best practices. Employees will be more aware of dangers if you provide them with the training and education that they need. They’ll be more likely to report potential threats or breaches of security, which will help you protect your company from cyber attacks even further. You’ll also be able to better enforce your access control policy when your employees understand the company’s security goals and requirements. Your employees will be able to recognize threats and attacks more quickly, which will help to protect any sensitive data that they have access to.
Limiting User Access to Company Data
Another important section of your access control policy is outlining what information employees have access to. You may have employees who need access to everything within the company, while others need to see only a small portion of your data. You’ll need to decide what information each employee is authorized to see. You may even want to include specific information that one employee cannot see, regardless of whether or not he has the appropriate access privileges.
Identifying the Company’s Sensitive Data
Every business has some type of sensitive data, even if that data doesn’t seem overly important. You may have information about employees, clients, or other partners that you want to protect from prying eyes. You should identify the sensitive data within your company and then create an access control policy that limits the number of people who can see it. You’ll need to decide who can view this information and who cannot.
Establishing Network Security Measures
Another important section of your access control policy is outlining the network security measures that your company uses. You need to decide what type of firewall you have, what antivirus software you use, and other protective measures that you take to keep your business safe. You’ll also need to decide what type of monitoring and logging software you use. For example, you may have software that records each time someone accesses company data. You may also have software that records when someone logs into the network.
How to Create an Access Control Policy
Now that you know what an access control policy is and why it’s important, let’s talk about how to create one for your business. The first step is to decide who will be responsible for creating the policy. You may want to involve company executives and managers, or you may want to have IT staff create the document. The next step is to decide what information you want to include in the policy document. Every company is different, so you may want to consult with your IT staff for help creating the document. You may also want to consult with legal experts and HR professionals for help with the document.
Access Control Types
- Authentication – The process of verifying identity. This is the process that verifies the identity of the user or the system to make sure it is who it says it is
- Authorization – The process of granting rights or privileges to users or groups to use resources in the system.
- Accounting – The process of keeping track of who used which resources at what time or for what reason.
- Auditing – The process of reviewing what users or systems have done or attempted to do on an asset at a certain time. This could be an audit log of certain actions like login attempts or what changes a user made in a system. These are essential components of an access control policy and system.
Determining Which Activities Require Which Levels of Authorization
- Determine the level at which people need to be authenticated. This will depend on the sensitivity of the information or assets they’re accessing.
- Determine the level at which people need to be authorized. This will depend on the sensitivity of the information and assets they’re accessing.
- Determine the level of auditing required for the system or data. This will depend on how much logging you’d like to have for a particular system.
Identifying Which Users or Groups Need Which Activities Authorized and the Scope of the Activity
- The authentication and authorization process should be documented. This will allow you to reference the process if you need to make changes in the future or if you add or remove additional users.
- Identify what activities each user should have authorized. This will depend on the sensitivity of the data or assets they’re accessing.
- Document what the scope of the activity is. This will depend on how sensitive the information or assets are.
- Create a centralized authentication system. This will allow you to manage a single login or authentication system to access different systems.
- Create centralized authorization rules. This will allow you to manage authorization rules in a centralized location and make it easier to identify or make changes to multiple systems.
- Make sure the systems you’re using have auditing capabilities. This will allow you to keep track of who is logging in to systems and for what reasons, what changes have been made by whom, and what results in those changes were responsible for.
While implementing an access control policy is essential in protecting your organization, it must be implemented correctly. If you get it wrong, you could end up creating a policy that is too strict and doesn’t allow employees enough access to do their jobs. Alternatively, a loose access control policy could lead to severe data breaches and cyber-attacks. An effective access control policy will be strict enough to keep sensitive information secure while still allowing employees the access they need to do their jobs. An access control policy helps protect your company from cyber-attacks by providing strict guidelines for employees on how they can view, modify, or share company files and information. You need an access control policy in your business to protect your company from cyber-attacks, ensure that employees only have access to the information they need, and keep sensitive data protected from unauthorized users.