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A security method known as mandatory access control, or MAC, limits the capacity of individual resource owners to grant or deny access to resource objects inside a file system. This is done as part of an effort to prevent unauthorized access.

The amount of sensitivity of the information included in a resource and the user’s authorization to access information with that level of sensitivity are both factors that are taken into consideration by mandatory access control, which is a way of restricting access to resources.

Best Practices for Implementing Mandatory Access Control Systems in Your Organization

Using a security label allows you to specify the level of confidentiality associated with the resource. The security label will always include a security level in addition to zero, one, or more security categories.

The information is categorized in a hierarchical fashion, which might be indicated by the security level. The classification or group to which the information belongs is determined by the security category.

Users are only able to access the information in a resource to which they are entitled based on the security labels that they have been assigned. If the user’s security label does not have sufficient authorization, the user will not be able to access the information contained in the resource.

A classification label is given to every item in the file system when using required access control, which is a method that is often used in buildings used by the government and the military.

There are three levels of classification:

  • Confidential
  • Secret
  • Top secret

On the system, each person and device are given a classification and clearance level that is comparable to one another. When a person or device attempts to get access to a particular resource, the Operating System (OS) or security kernel will examine the credentials of the entity to decide whether or not access will be given.

Even though it is the most secure access control setting that can be used, MAC needs careful planning and ongoing monitoring in order to maintain accurate classifications of all users and resource objects at all times.

MAC, which is the greatest degree of access control, may be compared with Discretionary Access Control (DAC), which is a lower level of access control that allows individual resource owners to set their own rules and apply their own security measures.

Mandatory Access Control Advantages

The data is protected to a high degree, as when using MAC, one may have complete peace of mind knowing that even their most sensitive information is secure and cannot be compromised in any way.

The information is centralized once data has been assigned to a category, therefore that data cannot be removed from that category by anybody other than the head administrator. Because of this, the whole system is brought under the jurisdiction of a single authority, making it centralized.

For sake of privacy, the data is manually set by an administrator. No one other than the admin may bring changes to the list of users who have access to any category or the categories themselves. Only the administrator is able to make changes to it.

Mandatory Access Control Disadvantages

The process of setting up the MAC must be carried out with extreme caution, as failing to do so will result in an unorganized work environment. The reason for this is because there are instances when a piece of information has to be communicated among coworkers in the same company, but MAC forbids anybody from doing so.

MAC has to be updated on a frequent basis, especially when new data are added or when old data are removed. The administrator is responsible for periodically giving the MAC system and the ACL list some thought in order to fulfill their duties.

The MAC system does not have any flexibility in its daily operations. The first process of inputting all of the data and creating an ACL that will not cause any problems in the future is not a simple undertaking.

When to Use Mandatory Access Control (MAC)?

The majority of organizations that fall under the categories of government, military, and law enforcement adopt MAC for access control.

Mandatory Access Control can be used in businesses that place a higher priority on data security than they do on the flexibility and expenses of their operations.

A high and granular degree of security may be provided by a MAC model that is used exclusively. On the other hand, both the installation and the upkeep of it are complex. Because of this, it is standard practice to integrate MAC with several other methods of access control.

How Can Heimdal Help You?

Our Privileged Access Management solution stands out through the following characteristics:

  • When used together with our Nex-Gen Antivirus, it becomes the only software that automatically de-escalates user rights, should any threats be detected on the machine;
  • A very efficient approval/denial flow;
  • Flexibility: wherever you are now, with our PAM you can either escalate or deescalate user rights;
  • Settings in terms of AD group rights, escalation period customization, local admin rights removal, session tracking, system files elevation blocking, and many more characterize our product;
  • Stunning graphics with details like hostname, the average escalation duration will support your audit strategy, making you able to prove NIST AC-5 and NIST AC-1,6 compliance and build a trustworthy relationship with your partners.

Combine it also with our Application Control module, which lets you perform application execution approval or denial or live session customization to further ensure business safety. Need I say more?

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Managing privileges is a fundamental aspect of any cybersecurity strategy. Make sure you have the proper PAM tool and be a step ahead of hackers!

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Dora Tudor

Cyber Security Enthusiast

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Dora is a digital marketing specialist within Heimdal™ Security. She is a content creator at heart - always curious about technology and passionate about finding out everything there is to know about cybersecurity.

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