NEED TO KNOW

23. February 2009, 21:33 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

A long standing and well known concept in many security and intelligence communities is “need to know”. This is the idea that unless there is some specific compelling reason for a person to have access to a piece of information then they should not have access to it.

In these days of social networking and applications such as Twitter where the very minutae of life can be shared widely and almost instantly the concept may seem out-of-date and irrelevant but there is still a place for such restrictive information flow.

Most people don’t understand “need to know” as everyone wants to be on distribution lists. But the only person who can really establish whether someone should receive the information or not is the person holding it, not those who don’t but think they should. This is especially true of time sensitive information whose immediate security is more important than its long term secrecy.

Keeping appropriate information on a need-to-know basis can prevent, or minimize, the leakage of sensitive trade secrets, intellectual property, product prototypes, up to and including major government information resources. The next time you feel left out and are ready to demand you be put in the distribution list, stop ask ask yourself “do I really need to know?”.

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Categories: ,
Keywords: need to know,security,access

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