I could tell you, but I’d then have to kill you

network padlockI was going to start this post with something along the lines of “ever since James Bond said those immortal words”, but it actually turns out it was the character Maverick in the movie Top Gun who said it. But for the sake of this article let’s just pretend that it was a 007 line.

You don’t need to have the level of data they have in spy movies to have a need to protect it. Any time you ask a client for their name, their email address, their postal address, or any details about their interaction with your company, you now have an obligation keep that data safe.

So you’ve done all the right things, MBITS has built you an impressive new database system with a state of the art security system, the system is stored on MBITS servers in our secure data center, so who do you now give access to?

Inside security circles there is a concept called the Need-To-Know principal. It’s pretty simple to follow, prior to giving someone access to your data, ask the question does the person have a need to know that information to do their job, if not don’t provide access. I’d suggest erring on the side of caution and only provide access if there is an actual need at that point in time. You can always grant access at a later date if it turns out that person does need access after all.

As an example, if a persons’ job role is office administration and they never have a need to look up a customer’s details, don’t provide access. If someone needs to access customer’s details, but has no need to see financial information about that customer, provide access to the customer’s record, but deny access to the financial information.

A real world example I can give, we recently built a CRM database for an Australia wide organisation. We have allowed certain people within that organisation access to any client record within that organisation, and we have locked down others within that organisation to only be able to view clients within certain regions. When determining the security arrangements for this system, it was decided that certain employees had no reason to access clients in other regions. As such we have set up the security of the database to simply exclude any clients outside the employees region when they are doing searches.

Furthermore it was determined that there was certain tasks which only managers needed to run, as such those tasks and the associated data is locked down to only managers. However thanks to the design of the system, should say Jane Doe require access to both Sydney and Melbourne as a manager, promoting her to a manager for both cities is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons.

So this week, have a think about your data and more importantly who has access to it. If John the receptionist does not have a need to access the financial data as part of his job, now is the time to make sure he can’t access the financial data.

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