Published On: March 3, 2022

5 ways the four-eyes principle protects your sensitive data

The power of double-checking with four-eyes principle

Ensures high level of security and transparent accountability

Every organization needs to protect its data, particularly the sensitive information that greatly affects its performance, image and profit. It is not only inbound email threats such as spam and malware that compromise data security, but also breaches of unauthorized outgoing data that occur due to poor practices and insufficient data control. Therefore, both the incoming and the data leaving the company must be equally monitored, assessed and protected by adequate procedures. The four-eyes principle is an appropriate control measure to mitigate the risk of data leakage by reviewing of outgoing data and related activities.

Definition of Four-Eyes principle

The four-eyes principle (also known as dual control and two-man rule) is simply an internal control mechanism stipulating that a certain critical activity, process or decision must be approved by two predetermined competent persons to ensure that the best possible result is achieved. This principle is applicable in a broad variety of areas – for instance, many legal documents require two signatures to be authenticated or to authorize document revisions in certain data management systems before the changes to the data are accepted. Regardless of the occasion, the goal is always to ensure the highest level of security for sensitive transactions and to determine who is accountable. Establishing in advance who is responsible for approving particular operations eliminates uncertainties and delays in decision-making.

5 ways how the four-eyes principle ensures maximum data security

Below you will 5 examples of how the four-eyes principle plays an important role in protecting your sensitive data:

  • 1. Monitoring and maintaining standardsFour-eyes principle
    Every company strives to provide a certain standard of its services or products. Maintaining this standard depends on every action taken during the work. The four-eyes principle helps you to keep up the pace and level of quality. For example, if critical emails are sent out by a company, it is recommended to have a system or person for double-checking. This will provide information about the volume, nature and frequency of these emails and generate insights about the security breaches in the organization. In this way, vulnerabilities to data security can be uncovered.
  • 2. Detection of threats
    Both incoming and outgoing data must be reviewed equally to ensure a high level of data security. This evaluation technique is highly helpful in analyzing the data and data-related actions that may seem casual but can cause serious harm. For instance, if a person in the company is in contact with suspicious person or party, double-checking will identify the threat and prevent greater damage. Also, sensitive incoming and outgoing data can be marked and assigned measures to block transactions involving it.
  • 3. Indication of unusual actions
    Keeping data secure in this high-tech world is indeed a great challenge, and often employees become a major security threat. Unintentional violation of security regulations causes serious damage, but sometimes people go willingly against security by leaking important data.
    For instance, if a person exceeds the usual limit for mails for no reason, or attempts to share confidential data, this can indicate a problem and a proper monitoring and maintaining system can identify them.
  • 4. Increasing reliability
    Through analysis and evaluation, data becomes more meaningful, concrete and reliable in different ways. Data is one of the fundamentals of organizations. When there is transparency what exactly is exchanged (the quality and nature of data, the actions related to it) and having a proper monitoring system in place facilitates decision-making and improves the control, confidence and reliability for optimal performance.
  • 5. Reducing risk
    In the age of technology, data is more vulnerable and at the same time it is linked to all aspects of life in some way. Companies have sensitive data about their customers or confidential business information. The four-eyes principle helps mitigate the risk of breaching it by allowing to review and take action when a transaction seems suspicious. Strong control over the actions and data reduces the risk of data leakage. For example, company information could be compromised through departing employees accessing confidential data.

Practical benefits of the four-eyes principle in iQ.Suite DLP

Four-eyes principleThe four-eyes principle is an integral part of iQ.Suite DLP, the innovative email security product of GBS for advanced Data Leakage Prevention. Through a set of powerful mechanisms, the solution analyses, evaluates all outgoing emails and blocks those with critical or questionable content. The email can even be placed in quarantine until further examination. Then, according to the internally configured rules, these emails are forwarded to the responsible person appointed to decide whether the mails should be released or remain blocked. The automated process of double-checking is quite uncomplicated and can be flexibly adapted to meet company guidelines.

For most of the fundamental archive functions, it’s often impossible for a single individual to configure them all. Security-critical operations cannot be performed by administrators or other users with high level rights in the archive without permission of another person. Your organization’s specific privacy and compliance requirements can be met by setting up four-eyes authentication for accessing and restoring email communications.

iQ.Suite DLP’s role-based permission management allows users to be divided into two groups and different levels of access to be granted to each group. Security-critical features can only be accessed by representatives of each group (e.g. a department manager and an employee representative) after they have been set up and activated. This way, the four-eyes principle authentication ensures that that archived material is protected from unwanted access.

Use case examples for the four-eyes principle in e-mail communication:

In practice, the four-eyes principle can be applied in the following common situations:

  • Signing of legal and financial documents that require the signatures of two or more persons.
  • Situations where a payroll certification is required. Before the actual payment can be made to the employee, a time sheet must be created by another authorized user.
  • Approvals in hospital organizations – A nurse needs to order a medication for a patient, however certain medical orders require approval from a licensed physician before they can be processed and fulfilled. In a modern system the approval can be issued electronically and with digital identity, so the application and processing are simplified because the two organizations don‘t even need to be in the same geographical location.

If you are looking to strengthen your email security in terms of data, simply request further information at sales@gbs.com and we will be happy to discuss the options that best suit your organization’s needs.

Author: Gabriel Strecker