Separation of duties (SoD) is a key concept of internal controls and is the most difficult and sometimes the most costly one to achieve. This objective is achieved by disseminating the tasks and associated privileges for a specific security process among multiple people.

SoD is already well-known in financial accounting systems. Companies of all sizes understand not to combine roles such as receiving checks (payment on account) and approving write-offs, depositing cash and reconciling bank statements, approving time cards and have custody of pay checks, and so on.

The concept of SoD became more relevant to the IT organization when regulatory mandates such as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) were enacted. A very high portion of SOX internal control issues, for example, come from or rely on IT. This forced IT organizations to place greater emphasis on SoD across all IT functions, especially security.

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Separation of Duties and IT Security