Separate user functionality from system management functionality.
DiscussionSystem management functionality includes functions necessary to administer databases, network components, workstations, or servers, and typically requires privileged user access. The separation of user functionality from system management functionality is physical or logical. Organizations can implement separation of system management functionality from user functionality by using different computers, different central processing units, different instances of operating systems, or different network addresses; virtualization techniques; or combinations of these or other methods, as appropriate. This type of separation includes web administrative interfaces that use separate authentication methods for users of any other system resources. Separation of system and user functionality may include isolating administrative interfaces on different domains and with additional access controls.
Prevent users and user services from accessing system management functionality on IT components (e.g., databases, network components, workstations, servers). This reduces the attack surface to those critical interfaces by limiting who can access and how they can be accessed. By separating the user functionality from system management functionality, the administrator or privileged functions are not available to the general user.
The intent of this requirement is to ensure:
- general users are not permitted to perform system administration functions; and
- system administrators only perform system administration functions from their privileged account.
This can be accomplished using separation like VLANs or logical separation using strong access control methods.
As a system administrator, you are responsible for managing a number of core systems. Policy prevents you from conducting any administration from the computer or system account you use for day-to-day work [a,b]. The servers you manage also are isolated from the main corporate network. To work with them you use a special unique account to connect to a “jump” server that has access to the systems you routinely administer.
Potential Assessment Considerations
- Are physical or logical controls used to separate user functionality from system management-related functionality (e.g., to ensure that administration (e.g., privilege) options are not available to general users) [c]?