How To Use Rule-Based IT Security

How To Use Rule-Based IT Security

How and when should you use rule-based security to protect your company?

Use it effectively, and you will have more free time to focus on high-value strategic tasks. It’s a way to reduce employee burnout on the IT security team. You get to achieve more security protection with less manual work. That’s why rule-based security benefits you. Now, let’s consider its advantages and disadvantages.

Rule-Based Security: What are the Advantages and Disadvantages?

Like other IT security techniques, rule-based security has a vital role to play. However, IT security rules provide the best value when you appreciate their limitations as well.

Rule-based security is best used in situations where consistency is critical. As a simple example, create a rule regarding password complexity to exclude common dictionary words. A rule-based approach with software would check every single password to make sure it fulfills the requirement. For identity and access management, you could set a rule to automatically suspend access for user accounts with no activity for 60 days. Every day, you can use a system to check access activities to detect situations where the rule needs to be followed. With a rule-based security system in place, it is also easy to obtain metrics and reports to show when the rule is followed. You can also create schedule-based rules such as requesting IT audit review access management practices on an annual basis.

There are some drawbacks to relying too heavily on rule-based security. For example, these security techniques do not automatically adjust to changing business conditions like rapid expansion or new API connections with third parties. Further, rule-based security may cause unacceptable productivity impacts for end users. For instance, automatically locking out users who log in from international locations may hurt traveling sales professionals. Finally, there may be situations where a rule-based security methodology is too permissive or straightforward. Such an implementation is easy for hackers to exploit.

Using Security Software To Implement Rule-Based Security

Now that the value of rule based security is clear, you might be wondering how exactly to put this idea into production. Writing up procedures, policies and similar documents will help. However, it is practically difficult to systematically track whether those rules are being followed. To avoid becoming bogged down in monitoring each security activity, use the software. Here are three security software solutions that make it easy to follow the rules every time.

Password Station. Even as multi-factor authentication becomes more popular, traditional passwords remain critically important. To reduce the chance of a security breach, use Password Station to enhance your password rules. For instance, you can use mass enrollment to onboard the whole company (or departments) at once. Likewise, you can enforce rules for self-service password reset questions such as leveraging company-specific data points (e.g. hire date and employee number).

Compliance Auditor. Measuring your password compliance is necessary rather than sufficient to achieve true rule-based IT security. To reduce the chance of unauthorized access, you may set a rule that all user access accounts need to be reviewed and approved by a manager annually. Keeping track of those reviews, making sure they are done on time, and centrally logging them is easy with Compliance Auditor.

Single Sign-On. Single sign-on software rules make it easier to tighten the process. For instance, you can enforce rules on software license management. Avatier Single Sign-On includes a Terms of Use tracker so you can stay in compliance with your licenses. Further, you can keep records of the activities of privileged users. That means it is easier to determine if your users are aligned with a rule-based approach.  

How To Improve Rule-Based Security With Processes and Training

Equipping your team with identity and access management software is an excellent way to improve security. However, rule-based security assumes you have created effective rules along with processes and training to bring those rules to life. To optimize your rule-based security practices further, use these tips and techniques.

  • IT Security Rule Training. For rules that require manual steps or employee involvement, provide regular training sessions. Also, consider inviting an outside consultant to provide guidance when you are creating or updating your IT security rules.
  • IT Security Rule Exception Management. It’s not practical to address every security exposure with rules. That’s why you need a process for users to request exceptions. However, you need a follow-up process to evaluate the reasonability of keeping the exception open every 3, 6 or 12 months.
  • Review IT Security Rules For Value. No IT security practice, even automated rules, stays useful forever. Therefore, set a schedule of annual or quarterly reviews for all of your rules to see if they are helping.
  • Propose New Areas For IT Security Rules And Automation. As you add new SaaS apps, products and technology to your company, IT security needs to keep pace. Once you have a defined process or checklist for managing a certain type of cybersecurity risk, ask yourself what rules can be developed to address the issue. Once you have created rules, look for ways to automate those rules across the company.
  • IT Security Rule Outside Evaluation. As you develop more security rules that run automatically through software, you may find it challenging to evaluate all of them. Therefore, leverage the expertise of an outside security consultant to provide an independent opinion on your security rules and propose adjustments where needed.

Through using these practices, your rule-based IT security methods will become better defined over time. If you use software to do some of the heavy lifting, you will end up with more capacity on your hands.

Your Next Move Beyond Optimizing Rule-Based Security

Rule-based security is an excellent process to handle well-known cybersecurity problems. However, you cannot create a rule for something new or poorly understood. As a result, we suggest reserving some capacity to proactively evaluate emerging security risks throughout the company and environment. If you don’t find anything relevant in public information, consider attending IT security conferences where you can find out about new issues through networking.

Written by Nelson Cicchitto