Cybersecurity has moved to the top of the CISO priority list and not just because of the astronomical cost of cyber insurance. According to Gartner, organizations will collectively spend $188.3 billion on information security and risk management products and services in 2023. And one Gartner reports that 61% of CIOs are increasing their investments in cybersecurity. But what if there was a cybersecurity solution that required little investment and was relatively easy to implement? Luckily, there is one, and it’s a solution that can be stolen straight from the CFO’s handbook: segregation of duties.
What is separation of duties?
Separation of Duties (SoD) is a internal control created to prevent fraud and mitigate risk. SoD ensures that at least two people are responsible for performing a business process. SoD breaks down processes into multiple tasks to ensure that ultimate control of a business process is never in the hands of a single individual. SoD achieves this by dividing a transaction or other non-financial process into two or more stages or by requiring another party’s approval before completion. But segregation of duties can also help prevent and mitigate the risk of cybercrime.
5 Ways to Strengthen Your Cyber Defenses with Separation of Duties
1. Mitigate insider threats
An insider is anyone with authorized access or knowledge of an organization’s resources: employees, consultants, third parties or contractors.
Detection insider attacks has become more complex as companies migrate to the cloud. With the adoption of the cloud and the abundance of supported applications, IT ecosystems are becoming increasingly complex and disconnected. Cyber Security Insiders reported that more than half of security professionals are expected to do more with less and may lack adequate training. The combination of these factors is the main culprit, allowing individuals to compromise your systems, knowingly or unknowingly.
Insider threats can come from negligence or from malicious insiders who aim to intentionally cause harm. IT and cyber departments are particularly vulnerable to insider attacks because they are more likely to know about vulnerabilities in the organization’s systems and security. But regardless of the threat, organizations can take steps to be proactive and reduce the danger by implementing SoD policies.
Implementing effective SoD policies can limit insider threats, leading to data breaches and cyberattacks, as collaboration with another employee is required. Separating processes into tasks reduces the risk of unintentional errors and protects against insiders whose goal is to cause damage.
2. Control privileged access
The most notable and damaging data breaches have one thing in common: poorly secured privileged user accounts. Privileged accounts are the preferred means for cybercriminals to steal sensitive data, plant malware, deploy ransomware, or perform other acts against the organization. Malicious actors exploit the increased permissions of these accounts to access the network and infiltrate systems and data.
SoD policies for privileged accounts and access management strengthen privileged account security, permissions, data encryption, and direct integrations with the security platform. Privileged account management should be integrated with identity access management processes, such as provisioning, deprovisioning, access risk mitigation, and segregation of duties. Implementing an automated lifecycle process for privileged account access is essential to avoid entitlement drift and privileged access proliferation.
3. Security in case of misconfiguration
Security misconfigurations occur when security settings are not properly defined or maintained or are implemented with errors. The ability to avoid misconfigurations and to detect and correct them quickly if they occur is critical to an organization’s security. Misconfigurations can impact applications, clouds, or networks and are a significant cause of data breaches.
How segregation of duties can help in this case: The same person assigned to DevOps does not have to create, configure and manage an environment.
Continuous monitoring of application configuration helps organizations eliminate surprises. No organization wants to be surprised by a misconfiguration or configuration change that can lead to security incidents. A solution like MonitorPaaS with built-in segregation of duties policies adds an additional layer of assurance that provides robust security controls, implements best practices into your security program, and strategically advances prevention and remediation by addressing the root causes of vulnerabilities identified and hazardous functions in a system.
For example: separate the most dangerous functions of a system. Every change in the revision history is accepted by two trusted people before submission.
4. Automated Policy Management
Automation can speed up analysis and response to security and cyber incidents. By automating policy management you can reduce the chance of an attack succeeding and enable faster prevention of internal and external threats.
5. Security Data Lake
By collecting insider threat and security data in a data lake, organizations can act effectively against real-time threats and make better informed decisions. By centralizing identity access data on-premises and in the cloud, environments and organizations can perform advanced analytics to detect and respond to sophisticated attackers.