• Requirement

    Employ the principle of least privilege, including for specific security functions and privileged accounts.

  • Discussion

    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.

More Info

  • Title

    Least Privilege
  • Domain

    Access Control
  • CMMC Level

  • Related NIST 800-171 ID

  • Related NIST 800-53 ID


  • DoD Scoring Methodology Points


  • Reference Documents

    • N/A

  • 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.


    You create accounts for an organization that processes CUI. By default, everyone is assigned a basic user role, which prevents a user from modifying system configurations. Privileged access is only assigned to users and processes that require it to carry out job functions, such as IT staff, and is very selectively granted [b,d].

    Potential Assessment Considerations

    • Are privileged accounts documented and is when they may be used defined [a]?
    • Are users assigned privileged accounts to perform their job functions only when it is necessary [b]?
    • Are necessary security functions identified (e.g., access control configuration, system configuration settings, or privileged account lists) that must be managed through the use of privileged accounts [c]?
    • Is access to privileged functions and security information restricted to authorized employees [d]?

NIST 800-171A Assessment Guidance

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