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Lesson 5 Access Control
Objective Control access to your network/improve security and Access Control

Regulating Network Access to Improve Security

Network security is crucial for ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and systems. This document provides a comprehensive guide on how to improve security by regulating network access, including outlining best practices for identity and access management, network segmentation, and continuous monitoring.

Network security is a critical aspect of protecting an organization's data, infrastructure, and users from unauthorized access, misuse, and potential cyber threats. By regulating access to the network, organizations can effectively minimize the risk of data breaches, unauthorized access, and other security incidents. This document outlines strategies and best practices for improving network security through access regulation.

2. Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Effective IAM is a cornerstone of network security. The following IAM principles and best practices can help organizations regulate access and improve security:
  1. Principle of Least Privilege: Grant users the minimum level of access necessary to perform their job functions. Regularly review and update access permissions to ensure they remain appropriate.
  2. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Assign permissions to roles rather than individual users, simplifying the management of access rights and reducing the likelihood of unauthorized access.
  3. Multifactor Authentication (MFA): Implement MFA to add an extra layer of security to the authentication process, decreasing the likelihood of unauthorized access due to stolen or compromised credentials.
  4. Account Lifecycle Management: Establish a process for creating, updating, and deprovisioning user accounts, including regular reviews of active accounts to minimize the risk of unauthorized access.

3. Network Segmentation

Network segmentation involves dividing a network into smaller, isolated segments to limit the potential impact of a security incident. By restricting access to sensitive data and systems, organizations can improve their overall network security. Key network segmentation strategies include:
  1. VLANs and Subnetting: Create virtual local area networks (VLANs) and subnets to separate different types of network traffic and restrict access between segments.
  2. Firewall Rules and Access Control Lists (ACLs): Use firewalls and ACLs to enforce strict access controls between network segments, allowing only necessary communication while blocking unauthorized access.
  3. Network Zones: Establish separate network zones for sensitive data and systems, such as payment processing or intellectual property, and restrict access to these zones based on job function and business need.

4. Continuous Monitoring and Incident Response

Continuous monitoring and incident response are vital for maintaining network security and quickly identifying and addressing potential threats. Implement the following practices to enhance network security:
  1. Network Monitoring: Deploy network monitoring tools and intrusion detection systems (IDS) to analyze network traffic and identify signs of unauthorized access or malicious activity.
  2. Log Management: Regularly review and analyze logs from network devices, applications, and security systems to identify potential security incidents and unauthorized access attempts.
  3. Incident Response Plan: Develop and maintain a comprehensive incident response plan that outlines procedures for detecting, containing, and resolving security incidents, including a clear chain of command and communication protocols.
Regulating access to a network is a crucial aspect of network security. Implementing best practices for identity and access management, network segmentation, and continuous monitoring can significantly improve an organization's overall security posture. By following the strategies outlined in this document, organizations can effectively reduce the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security incidents.
Whenever limits are placed on individuals or systems to access only what they are supposed to, you are engaging in access control.
Your network's internal mechanisms ensure that each user and system can access only what the security policy allows.
At the system level, the two ways to implement control are access control lists and execution control lists.

Access control list (ACL)

An ACL is a list of the entities that can access the resource, such as users, servers, programs, or applets, and their access levels, such as read-only, write-only, read-write, delete, create, access, or other actions. If one of these entities attempts to perform an operation beyond its authorized level of access, the operating system will raise an exception or error notification. For example, each user or group is assigned an access level in an ACL specifying the operations that each user or group may perform on the database and the documents it contains. An authorized user must still pass the ACL test to gain access to a database.

Execution Control List (ECL)

An ECL allows the operating system to limit a program's activity. Traditionally, the operations of a program have been predetermined by its creators, and could not be modified or limited in any significant way. With an ECL you can determine which of the program's activities are appropriate, and which are not. In essence, you can exert operating system-level control over a single application. For example, an ECL can minimize the threat of a malicious program, further direct the activity of Java applets, and stop trojan horses[1] .
It can forbid the transmission of certain data and alert you to the unauthorized transmission attempt. Eventually, software vendors will begin shipping ECLs, allowing any user to determine the program's parameters.

Access Control Mechanisms

Access control mechanisms are essential when securing servers. You must define what users can access on servers, services, and daemons. A hacker can defeat even the most sophisticated operating system with the latest ACL and ECL methods if the administrator uses default settings.

[1] Trojan (trojan horse):A file or program that purports to operate in a legitimate way, but which also has an alternative, secret operation, such as emailing sensitive company information to a hacker. A trojan horse is a specific program that destroys information on a hard drive.