Follow the Separation of Duties Principle for a Safer Organization

One of the oldest security principles still in use today is privilege separation. Simply put, it argues that no single person should have sufficient authority to cause a catastrophic event to occur. Separation of responsibilities guarantees that tasks are distributed to workers in such a way that no single employee has complete control of a process from start to finish. Separation of tasks entails each individual having a separate job, allowing everyone to specialize in a certain area.

Benefits of separation of duties

  • There is less likelihood of information leaking. Because the demands of people doing various tasks do not demand the same access to the network and other systems. Each individual (or department) has distinct security requirements. In other words, one person’s or department’s data would not have to be read, erased, or edited by another.

  • Another advantage of delegating responsibilities is that any person (or group of people) may become an expert in their field. Rather than attempting to learn and be accountable for various jobs, they may concentrate their skills in one area.

  • The separation of tasks does not imply that just one person in an organization may fulfill a certain function. It is not a good idea to have only one person responsible for a certain duty since nobody else could accomplish that particular task.

  • Each job should be recorded, providing detailed instructions on how to carry out the duties.

  • Supervisors and managers must be aware of each dependent’s responsibilities in order to successfully coordinate jobs. This is especially critical in crisis situations, such as disaster recovery. By splitting roles, each person is free to focus on their unique job, each of which addresses a different aspect of the problem. Not only does this give a more effective technique for dealing with a crisis, but it also allows the problem to be effectively handled faster.

Application of separation of duties

  • An example would be a police department’s Internal Affairs office, which examines officer misbehavior. Because other officers are under investigation, you don’t want them to have access to the reports and data pertaining to their cases. This would risk the integrity of the data.

  • To combat fraud and guarantee quality control, some key transactions should need the authorization of two independent users.

  • When repairing an airplane or another mechanical system where safety is essential, two mechanics must often sign off on the repair. This double-check verifies that the fix was performed properly.

Additional instances of the separation of duties approach include:

  • Establishing new accounts and assigning administrative tasks to accounts can be shared by two people. This prohibits a single individual from establishing a new account and giving it administrative access to the network.

  • Physical access to crucial server sites should require the presence of two trustworthy personnel.

Summary

As the blog post demonstrated, the separation of duties principle has a variety of advantages for an organization. Separation of duties restricts information access to authorized users who are acting within the boundaries of their lawful authority. It also controls the possibility of both incorrect and improper acts, which is essential for internal security mechanisms.

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