Despite the notoriety of NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden and
the subsequent fallout over the 'insider threat', a survey by
privilege management leaders Avecto indicates that IT Security
Professionals still aren't taking preventative action.
The survey, which asked 348 decision makers in the information
security field, was conducted at FOCUS 13 - the sixth annual McAfee
security conference in October.
With the Snowden affair still fresh in everyone's minds, the
survey found that the majority of those asked had reconsidered
their approach to user privileges, yet only 27% had actually
reprioritized their policies on admin rights since. See the full
survey results here.
Avecto co-founder Paul Kenyon said that although there has been
an increase in discussion regarding privilege management policies,
the subsequent lack of action by organizations has been a
"We were acutely aware of the fact that this was a big problem,"
Kenyon said told
SearchSecurity. "What we weren't aware of necessarily was that
organizations also accept this is a problem, but they're not
prepared at the moment to do much about it."
According to Kenyon, it's not difficult to get to the root of
why users gain privileged rights. To put it simply, in a Windows
environment, users often need local administrator rights to install
and run applications and to generally maintain productivity,
leading to what is often referred to as
privilege creep. This can be particularly problematic in larger
organizations, as users obtain administrator rights for a specific
task or project without ever having them revoked.
However, even with privilege
managementsolutions now allowing organizations to take a much
more granular approach to controlling user privileges, many are
still not focussing on their privilege management strategy.
"Organizations need to accept this is part of their security
defense in-depth approach to ensuring their organization is as
protected as it possibly can be," Kenyon said. "We have to manage
our privileges. We have to ensure people are getting the necessary
set of privileges, not too few and not too many."
Although the concept of least privilege dates back to at least
1977, Kenyon says that it has only really taken off in the last few
years as organizations begin to transition away from the soon-to-be
unsupported Windows XP to Windows 7, which has served as a unique
window of opportunity in terms of reining in administrator
Click here to see the full SearchSecurity article.