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CIS Control 14

Controlled Access Based on the Need to Know

Key Principle:

The processes and tools used to track/control/prevent/correct secure access to critical assets (e.g., information, resources, systems) according to the formal determination of which persons, computers, and applications have a need and right to access these critical assets based on an approved classification.

Why is this CIS Control critical?

Some organizations do not carefully identify and separate their most sensitive and critical assets from less sensitive, publicly accessible information on their internal networks. In many environments, internal users have access to all or most of the critical assets. Sensitive assets may also include systems that provide management and control of physical systems (e.g., SCADA). Once attackers have penetrated such a network, they can easily find and exfiltrate important information, cause physical damage, or disrupt operations with little resistance. For example, in several high-profile breaches over the past two years, attackers were able to gain access to sensitive data stored on the same servers with the same level of access as far less important data. There are also examples of using access to the corporate network to gain access to, then control over, physical assets and cause damage.

Main Points:
  • Segment the network based on the label or classification level of the information stored on the servers. Locate all sensitive information on separated VLANS with firewall filtering to ensure that only authorized individuals are only able to communicate with systems necessary to fulfill their specific responsibilities.
  • All communication of sensitive information over less trusted networks should be encrypted. Whenever information flows over a network with a lower trust level, the information should be encrypted.

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Information Hub: Controlled Access Based on the Need to Know