ISO 27001 Annex A 8.18 Use of Privileged Utility Programs

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What is ISO 27001 Use of Privileged Utility Programs?

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.18 Use of Privileged Utility Programs is an ISO 27001 control that requires us to control the use of utility programs which are capable of overriding system and application controls.

Examples of utility programs can include:

  • Antivirus Software
  • Malware Protection Tools
  • Patching Tools
  • Backup Software
  • Coding Tools
  • Network Management and Monitoring Tools

Purpose

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.18 is a preventive control to ensure the use of utility programs does not harm system and application controls for information security.

Definition

The ISO 27001 standard defines ISO 27001 Annex A 8.18 as:

The use of utility programs that can be capable of overriding system and application controls should be restricted and tightly controlled

ISO27001:2022 Annex A 8.18 Use of Privileged Utility Programs

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ISO 27001 Toolkit Business Edition

Implementation Guide

Utility programs are fairly niche and specific. They tend to be used by a subset of users that have a very specific need for them. This usually means the technical and development teams. It is unusual for a standard business user to require a program of this type. It is therefore practical to limit the use to trusted and authorised users.

To do this you will put in place a process for the request and approving of access that you are able to evidence when the time of the audit comes. Of course, you will ensure that the person making the request is not the same person that approves it. This will ensure segregation of duty. As part of this process you would document the authorisation levels but in practical terms, in a smaller organisation, this tends to be on person / role and in all likelihood the Head of IT that approves it.

As part of the implementation it is good practice to restrict the installation on systems. This will prevent these tools from being installed by any old Tom, Dick or Harry. Once approved you want to have in place a process that the instigates the installation of the utility program.

Considerations for the utility program once installed would include:

How long the program is required. This is advanced level to restrict the use of the program to a specific time period but if you do not, be able to talk to why the access if permanent. There may well be a good reason.

Licensing of the program. As part of your intellectual property requirements you want to ensure that all licence requirements are met.

Monitoring of Use. This may not be that practical or achievable but as these programs represent a risk to your organisation, you should at least explore the option of if their usage can be monitored.

Review. Periodic and / or at least annual review of the programs and if they are still required should be considered and conducted. If something is no longer needed then it should be removed. This is good and basic housekeeping.

What will an auditor check?

The audit is going to check a number of areas. Lets go through the main ones

That you have documentation

What this means is that you need to show that you have documented your Use of Privileged Utility Programs. Can you show a list of users and what utility programs they have installed. Are you able to evidence a request and approval process and tie that to the list of users and programs to show the process was followed.

That you have have implemented Use of Privileged Utility Programs appropriately

They will look at systems to seek evidence of utility programs. They will question you on the process and seek evidence that you have followed it. They want to see evidence of utility program restriction and the process in operation.

That you have conducted internal audits

The audit will want to see that you have tested the controls and evidenced that they are operating. This is usually in the form of the required internal audits. They will check the records and outputs of those internal audits.

Changes in the 2022 Standard Update

There are no changes in the requirements in the 2022 version of the standard. Only the Annex A numbering has changed.

ISO 27001 Toolkit Business Edition

Do It Yourself ISO 27001

ISO 27001:2022 requirements

Organisational Controls - A5

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.1 Policies for information security

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.2 Information Security Roles and Responsibilities

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.3 Segregation of duties

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.4 Management responsibilities

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.5 Contact with authorities

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.6 Contact with special interest groups

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.7 Threat intelligence – new

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.8 Information security in project management

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.9 Inventory of information and other associated assets – change

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.10 Acceptable use of information and other associated assets – change

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.11 Return of assets

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.11 Return of assets

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Labelling of information

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.14 Information transfer

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.15 Access control

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.16 Identity management

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 Authentication information – new

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 Access rights – change

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.19 Information security in supplier relationships

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.20 Addressing information security within supplier agreements

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.21 Managing information security in the ICT supply chain – new

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.22 Monitoring, review and change management of supplier services – change

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.23 Information security for use of cloud services – new

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.24 Information security incident management planning and preparation – change

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.25 Assessment and decision on information security events 

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.26 Response to information security incidents

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.27 Learning from information security incidents

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.28 Collection of evidence

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.29 Information security during disruption – change

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.31 Identification of legal, statutory, regulatory and contractual requirements

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.32 Intellectual property rights

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.33 Protection of records

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.34 Privacy and protection of PII

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.35 Independent review of information security

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.36 Compliance with policies and standards for information security

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.37 Documented operating procedures 

Technology Controls - A8

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.1 User Endpoint Devices

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.2 Privileged Access Rights

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.3 Information Access Restriction

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.4 Access To Source Code

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.5 Secure Authentication

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.6 Capacity Management

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.7 Protection Against Malware

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.8 Management of Technical Vulnerabilities

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.9 Configuration Management 

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.10 Information Deletion

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.11 Data Masking

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.12 Data Leakage Prevention

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.13 Information Backup

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.14 Redundancy of Information Processing Facilities

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.15 Logging

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.16 Monitoring Activities

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.17 Clock Synchronisation

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.18 Use of Privileged Utility Programs

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.19 Installation of Software on Operational Systems

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.20 Network Security

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.21 Security of Network Services

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.22 Segregation of Networks

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.23 Web Filtering

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.24 Use of CryptographyISO27001 Annex A 8.25 Secure Development Life Cycle

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.26 Application Security Requirements

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.27 Secure Systems Architecture and Engineering Principles

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.28 Secure Coding

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.29 Security Testing in Development and Acceptance

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.30 Outsourced Development

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.31 Separation of Development, Test and Production Environments

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.32 Change Management

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.33 Test Information

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.34 Protection of information systems during audit testing