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6 Benefits of Implementing Privileged Access Management

A great number of companies are facing challenges in maintaining data security, which is an essential part of their business. All they meet difficulties in handling those challenges. That is why it is important for them to know that attackers will always find a new way of doing their actions and getting everything they need. As a result, attackers who gain control of privileged accounts have the key to break the whole IT system.

To avoid the data breaches and to handle such situation, Privileged Access Management (PAM) comes to help the enterprises.

Privileged Access Management could be explained as the creation and enforcement of controls over users, systems and accounts that have elevated or “privileged” entitlements. According to Microsoft, Privileged Access Management (PAM) is a solution that helps organizations restrict privileged access within an existing Active Directory environment. Privileged Access Management accomplishes two goals:

The first goal is to re-establish control over a compromised Active Directory environment by maintaining a separate bastion environment that is known to be unaffected by malicious attacks. The second goals is to Isolate the use of privileged accounts to reduce the risk of those credentials being stolen.
The problems that PAM help could solve are related to vulnerabilities, unauthorized privilege escalations, spear phishing, Kerberos compromises and other attacks.

Nowadays it is easy for the attackers to obtain Domain Admins account credentials, but it is too difficult to discover these attacks after the fact. The goal of PAM is to limit the opportunities for malicious users to get access and at the same time to increase your control, visibility, and awareness of the environment.

What PAM does, is to make it hard for attackers to enter the network and obtain privileged account access. PAM adds protection to privileged groups that control access across a range of domain-joined computers and applications on those computers. In addition, it provides more monitoring, more visibility, and more fine-grained controls. This enables organizations to see who their privileged administrators are and what are they doing. PAM gives organizations more insight into how administrative accounts are used in the environment and that is a good prerequisite to prevent the data breaches.

Key PAM Benefits

Managing Access for Non-Employees

Misuse of privileged access, whether it’s through an external attacker or accidental misconfiguration, can cause a lot of troubles. For many enterprises, there are times when subcontracted personnel needs continued access to the system. In this case PAM offers a solution by including role-based access only. The benefit is that you will not need to provide domain credentials to outsiders and access will be limited based on administrator map user roles.

Automation

One of the top benefits of PAM system deployment is Automation. It also decreases the likelihood of human error, which is an inevitable part of the increasing workload placed on IT personnel. Switching from a manual privileged access management system to an automated solution, boosts the overall productivity, optimizes security protocols and at the same time reduces costs.

Threat Detection

PAM has the capability to track the behavior of users. On one hand, it allows you to look at the resources and information that are being accessed in order to detect suspicious behavior. On the other hand, the system itself makes reports and analysis on user activity. This makes it easier to stay in compliance with regulations and is used to review the actions of users if you suspect that there may be a leak.

Session Management

If a user has access to the system, PAM assists in workflow management through automation of each approval step throughout the session duration. You could also receive notification for specific access requests that require manual approval by an administrator. Session management gives you actually the ability to control, monitor and record access.

Protect Sensitive Data

There could be a situation, when people with high-privilege authority work in IT have access to your system. With this level of access, it is always possible to leave the system open to a threat. Besides, they could use their privilege to hide malicious behaviour.

To prevent that, PAM adds a level of accountability and oversight. It creates an audit trail that monitors the activity of all users. This makes it easier to find behaviours or actions that caused an attack.

Auditing

Auditability of authentication and access is core to the IAM lifecycle many organizations. Privileged activity auditing is already required in regulations for SOX, HIPAA, FISMA, and others. Auditing privileged access is essential due to the GDPR, which mandates management of access to personal data, putting all privileged access in scope.

As Kuppingercole’s analyst – Matthias Reinwarth says – Privileged Access Management has been and will be an essential set of controls for protecting the proverbial “keys to your kingdom”. Proper planning and continuous enhancement, strong enterprise strong enterprise policies, adequate processes, well-chosen technologies, extensive integration are key success factors. The same holds true for a well-executed requirements analysis, well-planned implementation, well-defined roll-out processes and an overall well-executed PAM project. The more attacks and data breaches are found and caused by misuse of privileged access, the more organizations have realized that protecting their credential data need to be a top priority.

Click to read PATECCO PAM White Paper here:

3 Steps for Building Your Identity Management Strategy

Today a lot of enterprises rely on higher security and governance to run and keep their business successfully. We are witnessing a trend where the more connections are increasing, the more security breaches affect companies from all around the world.

The enterprises suffering such data breach problems experience significant losses in terms of recovery costs and brand damage. That hard situation comes when there is some type of “unauthorized access” (whether from internal or external threats) to corporate applications and sensitive data.  As a result, companies make a detailed review of their current Identity and Access Management (IAM) processes and after detecting some gaps, start looking for new IAM approaches. In this way they want to ensure that their organizations are safe from access-related security breaches, optimize the operational costs associated with access control and meet their internal and external compliance requirements.

Regardless what IAM system you will choose, in this article we will give you an idea of what steps to take for building an effective Identity and Access Management (IAM) strategy, focused on mitigating key risks for the organization.

1. Use federated identity management approach

Companies could implement a federated identity management approach whereby the organisation providing the data or service trusts the authentication measures in place at a collaborating organisation. If you use such an approach, it’s not necessary to share the personal details of the user requesting the access, only an assertion from the trusted party that the user is authorised to make the request. 

2. Keep a good governance

Good governance ensures that there is a consistent approach to risks and compliance across different lines of business. It is able to reduce costs by avoiding multiple, ad hoc, approaches to compliance and risk management. Identity and access governance ensures that only authorized persons have access to the confidential and regulated data.

Remember that the power of identity and access governance is in managing privacy across the enterprise. Governance is your procedure and framework that makes everything consistent across the board. That means risk management and compliance for all your lines of business.

3. Avoid multiple authentication

Authentication process is used for confirming the user identity. The typical authentication process allows the system to identify the user via a username and a password.

The less authentication your users have to go through, the better. You could have a negative feedback if users have to go through a multiple authentication levels to gain access to an email or account. Some may even find their own shortcuts, which is where problems can arise.

Single sign-on can help, but cannot resolve the problem. Users operating in an SSO environment could have negative feedback from their home and mobile workers due to the extra levels of authentication required to access the new system.

There are stronger methods of authenticating the user, including certificates, one-time passwords, and device fingerprinting. Thanks to them, could be provided a stronger combination of authentication factors.

Phases of IM Strategy

Building the Identity Management Strategy requires three distinct phases: assessment, analysis and planning, as well.

1) Assessment Phase: Assess your current infrastructure and architecture and identity-related processes;

2) Analysis Phase: Determine key technology and process gaps and identify needed identity capabilities and integration points;

3) Planning Phase: Define high-level, future-state identity architecture; Develop a phased implementation roadmap; Document and present final recommendations

In order to secure identities and data, as well as tо ensure readiness, organizations need to respond proactively to the coming changes by adapting the right strategy, operations and architecture of their IAM and its supporting tools and services.