May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

Separation of Duties

News Recommended Links Rainbow Books Authentication Unix permissions model The umask PAM Principle of Least Privilege Unix Sudo (superuser do)
RBAC, SOX and Role Engineering SOX craziness Security Models     Admin Horror Stories Unix History Humor Etc

RBAC mechanisms can be used by a system administrator in enforcing a policy of separation of duties. Separation of duties is considered valuable in deterring fraud since fraud can occur if an opportunity exists for collaboration between various job related capabilities. Separation of duty requires that for particular sets of transactions, no single individual be allowed to execute all transactions within the set. The most commonly used examples are the separate transactions needed to initiate a payment and to authorize a payment. No single individual should be capable of executing both transactions. Separation of duty is an important consideration in real systems.  In real situations, only certain transactions need to be restricted under separation of duty requirements. For example, we would expect a transaction for "authorize payment'' to be restricted, but a transaction "submit suggestion to administrator'' would not be.

The separation of duties is a powerful internal control. Its objective is to ensure that duties (roles) are assigned to individuals in a manner so that no one individual has complete control over the system (like traditional Unix root account). The question of who should do what becomes extremely important in a web-enabled and/or distributed environment where on-line system pre-approval does not exist and central control is not apparent to the user.

Separation of duty can be either static or dynamic. Compliance with static separation requirements can be determined simply by the assignment of individuals to roles and allocation of transactions to roles. The more difficult case is dynamic separation of duty where compliance with requirements can only be determined during system operation. The objective behind dynamic separation of duty is to allow more flexibility in operations. Consider the case of initiating and authorizing payments. A static policy could require that no individual who can serve as payment initiator could also serve as payment authorizer. This could be implemented by ensuring that no one who can perform the initiator role could also perform the authorizer role. Such a policy may be too rigid for commercial use, making the cost of security greater than the loss that might be expected without the security. More flexibility could be allowed by a dynamic policy that allows the same individual to take on both initiator and authorizer roles, with the exception that no one could authorize payments that he or she had initiated. The static policy could be implemented by checking only roles of users; for the dynamic case, the system must use both role and user ID in checking access to transactions.

Top Visited
Past week
Past month


Old News ;-)

Separation of Duties and IT Security - CSO Online - Security and Risk

Separation of duty, as it relates to security, has two primary objectives. The first is the prevention of conflict of interest, the appearance of conflict of interest, wrongful acts, fraud, abuse and errors.

The second is the detection of control failures that include security breaches, information theft, and circumvention of security controls.

... ... ...

There is an easy test for Separation of Duties. First ask if any one person alter or destroy your financial data without being detected. For the second test ask is any one person can steal or exfiltrate sensitive information. The final test asks if any one person has influence over controls design, implementation and reporting of the effectiveness of the controls. If the answer to any of these questions is YES, then you need to take a hard look at the separation of duties.

Recommended Links

Google matched content

Softpanorama Recommended

Top articles


Separation of duties - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Financial Integrity and State Manager's Accountability Act of 1983 (Government Code Sections 13400-13407) requires that the head of each State agency establish and maintain an adequate system of internal control within their agencies. A key element in a system of internal control is separation of duties. This section provides the appropriate level of separation of duties for agencies with manual accounting processes. Employees of units other than the accounting unit should be used, when necessary, to provide separation of duties.

Separation of Duties



Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D

Copyright © 1996-2021 by Softpanorama Society. was initially created as a service to the (now defunct) UN Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) without any remuneration. This document is an industrial compilation designed and created exclusively for educational use and is distributed under the Softpanorama Content License. Original materials copyright belong to respective owners. Quotes are made for educational purposes only in compliance with the fair use doctrine.

FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to advance understanding of computer science, IT technology, economic, scientific, and social issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided by section 107 of the US Copyright Law according to which such material can be distributed without profit exclusively for research and educational purposes.

This is a Spartan WHYFF (We Help You For Free) site written by people for whom English is not a native language. Grammar and spelling errors should be expected. The site contain some broken links as it develops like a living tree...

You can use PayPal to to buy a cup of coffee for authors of this site


The statements, views and opinions presented on this web page are those of the author (or referenced source) and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of the Softpanorama society. We do not warrant the correctness of the information provided or its fitness for any purpose. The site uses AdSense so you need to be aware of Google privacy policy. You you do not want to be tracked by Google please disable Javascript for this site. This site is perfectly usable without Javascript.

Last modified: March 12, 2019