Discover and bring under management privileged identities, their dependencies (e.g., systems, applications, services, IoT devices), credentials, and session activity. This enables you to simplify and implement policies.
Implementing a PAM solution enables you to track, monitor and control privileged access for on-premises, cloud, or hybrid environments. It also helps you enforce the principle of least privilege.
Privileged access management, or PAM, protects superuser accounts, or those with elevated privilege, from threats. These accounts, which allow employees to control critical systems and sensitive information, are the highest risk for hackers because they can steal money, disrupt workflows, and shut down an IT environment. PAM solutions can help reduce this threat by monitoring privileged passwords, automating the account creation, provisioning, and de-provisioning process, encrypting credentials, and controlling third-party access to applications and servers.
Every unmanaged privileged account increases your organization’s vulnerability to cyber-attacks. In addition to outside threats, which can cause breaches and data loss, disgruntled or negligent former employees may continue to use their access privileges after leaving the company and wreak havoc.
PAM tools should be secure but also easy to use for IT admins. By discovering which identities have elevated access and their dependencies, IT teams can prioritize privileged accounts to govern and control. It’s important to know which funds are used by humans, which are used by applications and services, and which are for infrastructure (network, servers, devices, IoT). This helps you create and apply the right policies.
Many security breaches are caused by insider threats, with former employees retaining access rights even after leaving the company. A privileged access management solution reduces the risk of these types of threats by de-provisioning access rights and providing alerts when anomalies are detected.
A privileged access management solution helps to reduce the attack surface by finding and eliminating unused accounts, credentials, and privileges across your entire enterprise. This includes human user accounts, local and remote system accounts; application database accounts; hardware devices (e.g., servers); cloud and social media accounts; SSH keys; and more. Zero standing privileges should be the goal for human accounts, but a PAM solution can also implement just-in-time privilege management to elevate funds as needed.
An excellent privileged access management solution should have features to help you prevent insider attacks, such as audit trails and email alerts. It should also provide session management to monitor privileged account activity and a robust feature set that enables you to sever access to user accounts once they leave your organization.
The right privileged access management solution helps organizations meet regulatory compliance goals. By applying the principle of least privilege, the solution reduces the number of ways in which employees can break regulations – either maliciously or out of negligence. This is done by ensuring that users have only the bare minimum privileges required for their job function and limiting access to sensitive files on the network.
In addition, the right privileged access management solution can help safeguard against internal threats. This is accomplished by reducing self-service capabilities, implementing multi-factor authentication, recording sessions, and providing audit trails to ensure privileged accounts are used correctly.
PAM solutions also eliminate identity sprawl by enforcing policies that define best practices for elevating users who need extra access. This includes instituting password rotation policies, implementing temporary passwords (OTPs) to prevent password re-use attacks in DevOps workflows, and enforcing other strategies to limit privileged access. Additionally, many PAM solutions can support dynamic, context-based access based on real-time vulnerability and threat data to ensure that only the correct privileges are granted for a given session.
Whether they intend to or not, employees who have privileged access can take down the entire network and compromise company data. This can cost the organization millions in lost productivity and compliance fines. A secret access management solution can prevent these attacks by automating password rotation, multi-factor authentication, recording sessions, and alerting administrators to potential threats.
A PAM solution also helps companies improve regulatory compliance by ensuring that only the most necessary privileges are given to employees. Many compliance regulations, such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, FISMA, FDDC, and Government Connect, require that organizations implement most minor privilege access policies. A privileged access management solution can ensure that employees are following these policies and that they can be easily audited.
When looking for a PAM solution, ensure it provides comprehensive capabilities for all use cases. For example, it should include privileged password and session management and be available as a cloud or on-premises solution. It should also have top-notch support and frequent updates to keep up with new attack vectors.
Privileged access management helps organizations meet many compliance standards, including data stewardship. For example, HIPAA, PCI DSS, FDDC, Fed Connect, and multiple NIST frameworks require organizations to use minor privilege policies to prevent data breaches and systems downtime.
Organizations should deploy a PAM solution that automates password rotation and enforces two-factor authentication to minimize downtime. This reduces the manual effort for security teams and also mitigates human error. In addition, privileged account and session monitoring, logging, and recording capabilities allow security teams to identify suspicious activity quickly.
A PAM solution can also help organizations find and remove orphaned accounts. These accounts linger in the network for some time after a user has left the company. Orphaned reports can be accessed by hackers and used to launch attacks against the enterprise.
A privileged access management solution can help companies eliminate orphaned accounts by establishing a solid select account discovery process that identifies all existing privileged credentials and access to critical assets. This discovery should include traditional and non-traditional accounts (personal and shared accounts and administrative accounts like local administrator and root), directories, hardware devices, applications, services/daemons, and SSH keys.