The Network: A law firm headquartered in the U.S. East Coast with a dozen offices worldwide.
The Expectation: Email is the “killer” app for attorneys. Confidentiality of electronic communications is essential. Law firm uses on-premise Microsoft Exchange as the hub of email communications. This is considered to be safe and controlled.
The Catch: EventTracker detected a privileged user (admin on the Exchange box) abusing his privileges to view a Managing Partner’s email communications. Big no no!
The Find: MS Exchange users can share items like calendars and delegate access. Senior staff do this regularly so that their calendar can be maintained and coordinated. However, while an admin has complete power and can view everything, it doesn’t mean that s/he should.
The Fix: Institute monitoring since such behavior cannot be prevented. High priority alerts are defined to capture this type of situation. Make sure to filter out legitimate access (such as calendar delegation) to minimize false positives.
The Lesson: Perfect protection is not practical, so monitoring is also necessary.