As organizations invest in increasingly complex security frameworks, managing potential vulnerabilities and compliance issues becomes more difficult. With more touchpoints for organizations to monitor, unauthorized individuals stand a greater chance of slipping through the cracks and gaining access to sensitive data and assets.
Your organization likely can’t afford to risk a costly data breach. To limit the likelihood of an attack, you must put specific security measures in place that ensure compliance and manage access. Conducting a thorough access control audit of existing endpoints enables you to identify and address any gaps in security protections before they result in negative consequences.
Logical access control (LAC) refers to the security mechanisms and tools used to control and restrict access to digital resources, such as data, applications, networks, and systems. It ensures that only authorized individuals can access specific resources based on their predefined privileges.
Logical access control goes a step beyond physical access control, which is only concerned with interactions that take place at door entries. Instead, logical access control encompasses all the physical and mobile credentials that an organization uses, beyond the door, to gain access to endpoints and networks.
A secure logical access control solution consists of hardware, application software, credentials, and implementation services. Single sign-on (SSO) authentication solutions like the WAVE ID® Platform are one example. By plugging a Wave ID Reader into a work laptop, employees can access data and information they’re authorized for without worrying about typing in a password. From the organization’s perspective, this allows leadership to manage access from a centrally managed server instead of having to track hundreds of individual device log-ins. In addition to SSO, secure print management, time and attendance tracking, and visitor management are some other logical access use cases to consider.
A thorough audit involves examining the effectiveness of all logical access controls your organization has in place. By conducting an audit, organizations can identify deficiencies in their existing access controls and learn where they should be making improvements.
Audits are also crucial from a compliance perspective. Regulatory frameworks such as ISO 27001, NIST, and PCI DSS all require organizations to abide by different access control standards. An audit can ensure your organization is fully compliant with these regulations and avoid costly fines. Lastly, audits also increase accountability in the event of a security breach. An audit trail reveals a clear picture of access attempts and other actions, clarifying who within the organization is responsible.
While the specifics of an access control audit will vary depending on your organization’s needs, there are several core tenets that all organizations should abide by. Here are four steps to keep in mind as you consider how to best carry out an effective audit:
The first step in your audit should be to take a close look at your existing access controls. Specifically, you should examine user permissions, policies about passwords, and other safeguards that control access throughout the organization. Where are there gaps in controls — for example, applications for which user permissions aren’t documented?
How does your organization verify user identities? Whether you use passwords, biometrics, ID badges, or multi-factor authentication, consider if there are any weaknesses that could allow unauthorized users to gain access to sensitive assets.
Be sure to examine your organization’s approach to access control compliance. Not only should you evaluate their compliance with specific standards, you should also evaluate policies surrounding compliance. For example, who is responsible for monitoring changes in regulations? How do they communicate these changes to the organization at large?
Finally, a logical access control audit offers tremendous benefits, but only if it becomes a regular part of your security checklist. Auditing twice a year is a good rule of thumb, but consider adjusting timelines in accordance with new regulations. Also use every new audit as an opportunity to revisit findings from previous audits to determine if you’re making sufficient progress.
With countless touchpoints to monitor, more organizations are embracing logical access control as a way to protect their assets. While this is a step in the right direction, it must coincide with a comprehensive audit process to ensure access control solutions are working properly.
To make LAC more effective for your organization, you also need hardware that can integrate with a variety of access control solutions. To learn more about what hardware fits this bill, reach out to rf IDEAS today.