Two-man Rule

What is it?

The simplest way to explain the two-man rule is to say that it’s a “Buddy System” for grownups. What does this mean? It’s a procedure in which two people operate together as a single unit so that they are able to monitor and help each other to ensure the work is finished safely or the skill is transferred effectively from one person to another.

The purpose of the two-man rule is to have control and a high level of security for especially critical material or operations (such as nuclear weapons, submarines, laboratories, aircrafts etc.).

Under this rule, two authorized people should be present at all times so that they have full access and can perform the required actions.The two-man rule adds accountability and security by preventing individuals from doing any harm and lessens the dangers that can come from a lost access card or key.

Basically, the same way the Buddy System keeps children safe, the two-man rule can help keep data, processes or materials safe.

How does it work?

To explain how this system works, let’s take the example of a data center that needs to be secured with the two-man rule. Without the two-man rule, an upset employee could steal a co-workers employee access card or use their own to have unlimited access to servers and abuse company’s data. With the two-man rule, that same employee would have to use two different cards to gain access, which makes the operation more difficult.

The two-man rule in this instance can stop data from being stolen or it can stop the theft in progress.With a single-scan system, any thief or hacker would need only to steal or clone a single card to gain access to the server. With the two-man rule, two different cards would be required, doubling the effort and risk necessary to illicitly acquire the cards.

Having two people present ensures that there's always someone to verify the identity of the other party involved.

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