AC.L2-3.1.5 Least Privilege

CMMC Practice AC.L2-3.1.5 – Least Privilege: Employ the principle of least privilege, including for specific security functions and privileged accounts.

Links to Publicly Available Resources

Discussion [NIST SP 800-171 R2]
Organizations employ the principle of least privilege for specific duties and authorized accesses for users and processes. The principle of least privilege is applied with the goal of authorized privileges no higher than necessary to accomplish required organizational missions or business functions. Organizations consider the creation of additional processes, roles, and system accounts as necessary, to achieve least privilege. Organizations also apply least privilege to the development, implementation, and operation of organizational systems. Security functions include establishing system accounts, setting events to be logged, setting intrusion detection parameters, and configuring access authorizations (i.e., permissions, privileges).
Privileged accounts, including super user accounts, are typically described as system administrator for various types of commercial off-the-shelf operating systems. Restricting privileged accounts to specific personnel or roles prevents day-to-day users from having access to privileged information or functions. Organizations may differentiate in the application of this requirement between allowed privileges for local accounts and for domain accounts provided organizations retain the ability to control system configurations for key security parameters and as otherwise necessary to sufficiently mitigate risk.

Further Discussion
The principle of least privilege applies to all users and processes on all systems, but it is critical to systems containing or accessing CUI. Least privilege:

  • restricts user access to only the machines and information needed to fulfill job responsibilities; and
  • limits what system configuration settings users can change, only allowing individuals with a business need to change them.