You have a house and every member of the house, including some of your close friends, has the key to the door. However, there is one room that has a safe and it consists of extremely valuable assets. Would you be comfortable providing every member of the house and your close friends with a key to that safe? Certainly not. The same rule holds good for your data. In cyberspace, this is known as Privileged Access Management.
What is Privileged Access?
Every organization has key employees accessing critical business applications. The credentials to these applications have to be stringently protected. Often, there is vital, sensitive information stored within these applications and unauthorized access could cost a fortune to the business.
The purview of privileged access can change from one business to another. For instance, a business that is in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry, applications and software used by the Research and Development team containing sensitive data can require privileged access.
Similarly, an IT admin who creates, monitors and deletes employee accounts requires privileged access.
Therefore, anyone whose access to an application, software or tool carrying information that is extremely important to the company should come under the umbrella of ‘Privileged Access’.
Privileged Access Management (PAM) – how does it work?
Once privileged accesses are identified, they should be managed effectively.
Ideally, the credentials of privileged accesses are centralized inside a safe repository such that the risk of credentials being stolen is significantly brought down.
The user logs into his/her access via Privileged Access Management system where the credentials are authenticated and the user then successfully logins into the application. This process must be followed each time the user or the admin logs in.
Most PAM solutions offer the following–
- Identifying all the privileged accounts based on the kind of information it has and the accesses associated with it.
- Creating a typical workflow to request for privileged access which generally offers Multi-Factor Authentication too.
- Streamlining the credentials of the privileged accounts in one repository and allowing the user to access the account after proper validation.
- Creating passwords on-demand and provisioning of resetting, changing or updating them automatically.
- Monitoring and immediately responding to unauthorized access.
Importance of Privileged Access Management
Privileged accounts are always under the scanner for cyber-attacks as they hold valuable information and important credentials. The following are the top 4 reasons to deploy a PAM solution.
#1 Ultimate security to passwords
When the credentials of privileged accounts are secured via Multi-Factor Authentication, it verifies a user’s identity by authenticating two or more independent credentials. Validation techniques such as E-mail OTP, SMS OTP, biometrics, soft taken, challenge-response questions, etc. add an extra layer of security to the passwords making it almost impossible for hackers to decode it.
#2 Quick detection of cyber risks
The security provided to privileged accounts is quite stringent. Any suspicious activity is detected and responded to immediately—which is why the incidences of data breaches and cyber attacks on privileged accounts are relatively less.
#3 Easy monitoring of accesses
Since only specific people can access the privileged account, it becomes incredibly easy to detect any sort of unauthorized access. It is clear as to who is supposed to access the account and who is not—making governing and monitoring accesses simpler.
#4 Insights on usage
A well-designed Privileged Access Management solution keeps a track of who is accessing the accounts, the number of times passwords change or updates are requested, how many times the accounts are being accessed, etc. A detailed report is generated and gives the organization a clear insight into the usage and security of the privileged account.
Privileged Access Management Implementation Best Practices
Opting for Privileged Access Management means you have taken the right step in inculcating top-notch security within your organization. However, deploying and managing privileged accounts efficiently is important too.
Here are some best practices with regards to implementing a Privileged Access Management Solution:
Plan and enforce a holistic PAM policy
The policy should help you reach your objectives. You may include pragmatic processes of provisioning/de-provisioning, identifying privileged accesses, procedure on approval/dismissal of privileged access requests, amongst other processes. It is recommended that you choose a modular Privileged Access Management system so that it can be designed to suit your organization.
Identify and bring all the privileged accounts under one repository
It is always viable to keep privileged accounts under a single repository; this helps in governing the accesses easily. Also, as you start identifying the privileged accounts, you may also come across dormant and orphan accounts in the process. Take necessary measures to revoke them as they can be a gateway to potential hacks.
Regularly monitor the privileged accounts
Although privileged accounts are secured in the best way possible, they should be subject to constant monitoring and audits. This gives you a clear picture of who is accessing the account and immediately prompts you if there is a suspicious activity.
In this day and age of high cyber-crime and risks, there is an immense need for staying vigilant and doing what it takes to secure your organization. Take the right step with a comprehensive modular, PAM solution.
PAM with Compact Identity
Compact Identity is the only, cloud IAM that offers Access Management, Identity Governance and Administration, Customer Identity and Access Management, and Privileged Access Management. The solution also includes business to consumer functions, unified endpoint management, dashboards, high powered analytics, and business intelligence with a risk engine in a single product.
Our PAM solution offers:
- Live session recording and monitoring
- Access Request and Approval workflow
- Comprehensive reporting
Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and talk to us about deploying Compact Identity