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Least privilege access

(also principle of least privilege, POLP)

Least privilege access definition

Least privilege access is a cybersecurity principle that restricts user access rights to the minimum necessary for performing tasks. By limiting the permissions and resources a user can access, this principle aims to minimize the potential damage in case of security breaches or exploitation of vulnerabilities. It applies to users, processes, and systems within an organization, from administrators to regular employees.

See also: discretionary access control

Least privilege access examples

  • Role-based access control (RBAC): Assigning access privileges to users based on their job responsibilities or roles within the organization, granting them only the permissions they need to carry out their tasks.
  • Separation of duties: Ensuring that critical tasks are divided among multiple users or systems so no single individual or system has excessive authority or control.

Implementing least privilege access

  • Perform a thorough analysis of users, their roles, and the resources they require access to.
  • Regularly review and update user permissions to ensure they still align with job responsibilities.
  • Implement multi-factor authentication for sensitive resources or tasks.
  • Monitor and log user activity to detect anomalies and identify potential security threats.

Pros and cons of least privilege access


  • Reduces the risk of accidental or intentional data breaches.
  • Minimizes the potential damage caused by compromised user accounts.
  • Enhances overall security posture.


  • Requires continuous management and monitoring of access rights.
  • May require additional resources and time to implement and maintain.