Privileged access management (PAM) tools are an essential part of any comprehensive cyber security strategy. They are also important element of secure remote user and remote server environments. Protecting privileged accounts ensures your credentials and data are not exposed to potential threats and helps prevent breaches. As a domain within Identity and Access Management, PAM solutions can provide a lot of benefits to your business rather than simply guarding passwords. They allow organizations to effectively protect, monitor, and manage privileged account access to include their life cycle management, authentication, authorization, auditing, and access controls.
To ensure secure working environment, your organization should implement a strong Privileged Account Management (PAM) solution, which allows you to control and restrict access to privileged accounts within an existing Active Directory environment. The fact that there are a lot of PAM products available could make you feel confused in your choice. To help you chose the right one and move forward, here we present 8 critical and mandatory features to look for in a PAM solution.
1. Privileged Session Management
Privileged Session Management
offers the technology to establish a privileged session to target systems including
basic auditing and monitoring of privileged activities. PSM tools also offer
authentication, authorization and Single Sign-On (SSO) to the target systems. The
capability to monitor and record privileged sessions provides security experts
with all the needed information for auditing privileged activity and investigating
The challenge here is to
associate each recorded session with a particular user. In many companies,
employees use shared accounts for accessing various systems and applications.
If they use the same credentials, sessions initiated by different users will be
associated with the same shared account.
2. Privileged User
Behavior Analytics (PUBA):
PUBA uses data analytic techniques or machine learning
techniques to detect threats based on anomalous behaviour against established behavioural
profiles of administrative users as well as user groups and administrator.
The anomalous behaviour might not
be malicious, but at least you are aware of it, you are able to investigate
further. PUBA helps IT and Security administrators to rapidly discover breaches
before they occur, analyse how your privileged accounts are distributed and research
how they are accessed throughout your organization. This adds an additional
level of security to your defence strategy.
3. Privilege Account Discovery
and Lifecycle Management (PADLM): This
deals with discovery mechanism to identify shared accounts, software accounts,
service accounts and other unencrypted/ clear-text credentials across the IT
infrastructure. PADLM tools offer workflow capabilities to identify and track
the account’s business and technical ownership throughout its lifecycle and can
detect changes in its state to invoke notification and necessary remedial
4. Endpoint Privilege Management (EPM): EPM offers capabilities to manage threats associated with local administrative rights on windows, mac or other endpoints. EPM tools essentially offer controlled and monitored escalation of user’s privileges on endpoints and include capabilities such as application whitelisting for endpoint protection.
5. Privileged password management
When having a privileged password
management feature, your PAM solution allows you to automate and control the
whole process of giving access and passwords to privileged accounts. These critical
and sensitive credentials are given only in case the previously established
policy is observed and when all required approvals are met. Privileged access
management tool keeps track of all activity on privileged accounts and ensures
that passwords are changed immediately after return.
6. Role-Based Security
Another necessary feature you need is the ability to establish role-based security for groups of users who demand the same access level. Role-based security helps you overview who has access to what, and it also lets you effectively track and monitor all changes. For more information about RBAC, read here.
7. Auditing and reporting
PAM tools collect big amounts of
data: activity logs, event logs, session records, and so on. But it really doesn’t
matter how many useful data your PAM solution gathers if you cannot create a
comprehensive report out of it. So what you need is to be able to form
different types of reports according to your specific needs and requirements. You
also should pay special attention to the type of data and information that can be
included in the reports.
The best option is to get a full
report about all activities performed under privileged accounts or privileged
sessions that were initiated out of the usual working hours.
8. Real-time notifications
Real-time notifications can help you
stop the attack earlier when you respond the security incident in time. So,
when choosing a privileged access management solution, make sure to check if it
has a fine alerting system.
The misuse of privileged access
can lead to destructive consequences for your company and to a great
opportunity for the attackers to steal valuable and important information. Compliance
regulations require secure and properly managed privileged access, which is
possible by deploying a quality PAM solution. Here, in this article, we the
described the criteria that you should pay attention to when choosing the right
PAM solution for your enterprise.