O Addressing Untrustworthiness

Most administrators will tell you that you can't trust users. Most administrators will also tell you that system uptime is a capricious thing. The simple fact is that you must define the limits of trust for any system or any people on those systems. Just as all order becomes chaos over time, almost all users will persistently test the limits of their permissions either through purposeful hacking or through unintentional operations and all systems will destabilize with use.

While many solutions for reigning in trust exist, none is as powerful as proper organization. Defining who, what, and how anything can have unauthenticated access at any time is difficult, but it is the only way to properly control access levels. So one solution is to assure motherboards contain a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) that forces integrity upon a system. Another solution is to employ virtualization to compartmentalize whole operating systems within systems that revert to a previous state when rebooted. Still another is to apply the appropriate access control model.

You will not find a single all-encompassing solution for a system required in day-today service operations. A single solution does not exist. Therefore, whatever solutions you define, involve both humans and systems in your defensive strategy. The human helps the system understand the situation and the system helps the human stick to the rules and not be fast-talked or get emotionally involved.

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