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PATECCO and One Identity Reinforce Together the PAM processes in WM Gruppe

Over the past few years Privileged Access Management, has become one of the most relevant areas of Cyber Security associated with Identity and Access Management, that deals with identifying, securing and managing privileged credentials across the Organization’s IT environment.

In its practice, PATECCO acts as a vendor neutral provider of value-added services and implements PAM solutions deploying products of market-leading PAM vendors such as One Identity. PATECCO develops, implements and manages PAM as an information security and governance tool to support finance companies in complying with legal and regulatory compliance regulations.

While WM Gruppe isn’t a bank, it provides banks and other financial services companies with data on financial markets and instruments. And with its systems hooking up to those of customers via application programming interfaces (API), it must ensure its cybersecurity is as robust as that of its clients.

  • Challenges of WM Gruppe

With regulatory requirements increasing, WM Gruppe wanted to reinforce privileged account management (PAM) to counter cybercriminals while improving operational efficiency. Privileged accounts are known to be vulnerable to attack, resulting in catastrophic consequences when hacked. PAM processes in WM Gruppe were home-grown, meaning they’d evolved over time as the company expanded.

Unfortunately, PAM processes at WM Gruppe were manual and time-consuming to operate, posing security risk across its 800 applications and multiple privileged accounts. It was easy for procedures like password changes to be delayed if a member of the IT infrastructure team responsible for making the changes was out-of-office or otherwise engaged. Plus, reporting on who had access to what servers and applications, and when, was a constant concern due to data inaccessibility.

  • The solution

WM Gruppe looked for a PAM solution as part of a wider cybersecurity review across the entire organization. It chose One Identity Safeguard for Privileged Passwords for a couple of key reasons. It fully automated PAM processes, removing password management, and it made PAM fully auditable. The company worked closely with PATECCO and its partner – One Identity, which supported WM Gruppe with the initial deployment of Safeguard. The result was closure of any potential holes in PAM processes while saving hours of work through automation and improving auditing capabilities.

Why WM Gruppe chose PATECCO and One Identity?

  • PATECCO was able to implement both a PAM and an IAM solution which enables the customer to get the full Identity Management package from one supplier.
  • PATECCO developed the integration of the IAM IT Shop to the USU ITSM (IT Service management) and was adapted to the customer’s requirements.
  • WM Gruppe saw a 100 percent improvement in PAM using Safeguard. The solution raised PAM to a new level without increasing its workloads.
  • One Identity Safeguard strengthened privileged account controls and saved hours of work and increased protection.
  • Using the workflow engine in Safeguard drastically reduced the window of opportunity if a password gets hacked.

Info source: One Identity

The Essential Role of Identity and Access Management in Remote Work

Since fast two years, the pandemic has pressured organizations of all sizes to embrace IT transformation at a rapid pace and to adapt to new models of business related to a transition to remote workforces.

Nowadays, streamlined accessibility of critical applications is top of mind for executive leadership than ever before. However, a company’s IT security posture and administrative governance remain vital, as cybercriminals see unsecured home offices as attack vectors to exploit for personal gain. The rapid evolution of work-from-home technologies highlights a need to validate full coverage and completeness of an organization’s IT ecosystem, operational impacts and cybersecurity foundation. Furthermore, a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity helps enhance end-user productivity and remove the barriers for further IT transformation.

Identity and access management are crucial starting points

For these reasons, Identity and Access Management (IAM) has distinguished more critical to IT departments and organizations overall. Identity and Access Management (IAM) both secures the work-from-home networks and enables employees to easily access the data and applications they need for their role.

A good Identity and Access Management solution helps to securely connect the right employees to the right business resources at the right time. From an end-user perspective, IAM enables an employee to log into a critical application as they normally would, but their sign-on would also apply to a whole suite of commonly used and IT-approved applications. Meanwhile, IT staff can monitor who accesses what application when, add or remove approved applications for sign-on, and adjust security controls across the IT ecosystem in one platform.

  • Least Privilege Principle

To better secure your data with employees working from home, your IAM solution should include least privilege access capabilities. This provides you the opportunity to customize each employee’s level of access, so they only have what they need and nothing more. In this way the companies have a greater level of control over who is accessing their sensitive data each time.

  • Secure Sharing

For remote teams, the easy and secure virtual collaboration is a necessity. When it comes to sharing access to accounts and data, teams need a way to share credentials without increasing the risk of cyberattacks and data breach. Enterprise password management provides central and safe storage of shared corporate credentials, so remote team members can access shared accounts, from anywhere, any time.

  • Secure Authentication

To alleviate cyber threats when working remotely, businesses should think about adding layers of security that slow down attackers – but not employees. Additional login requirements and behind-the-scenes analysis of many factors helps reduce the risk of a cyberattack. Multifactor authentication (MFA), especially a solution that incorporates biometric and contextual authentication, can significantly increase security in a way that is quick and easy for employees.

Building an Identity and Access Management Strategy for Remote Work

A lot of studies show how critical IAM is, especially as remote work becomes the new normal. Businesses need to prioritize their IAM strategy and ensure they are crafting one that supports the new normal of work-from-anywhere.

The enterprises should realize how critical IAM is, especially as remote work becomes the new normal. As employees work remotely, organizations will need to craft an IAM strategy that makes it easy for employees to connect to work resources, while maintaining a high standard of security.

  • Managing every access point

If secure access is a top priority, your IAM solution needs to combine SSO and password management. SSO simplifies login to many apps, and password management ensures any password-protected accounts are properly stored.

  • Sharing the secure way.

For remote teams, virtual collaboration is inescapable. Any credentials or sensitive information like credit card numbers that need to be shared among team members should be done in a way that is encrypted and private, while making it easy for team members to get the information when they need it.

  • Enabling MFA for additional protection.

Choose a solution that is simple for employees to use, and then turn on MFA everywhere you can (apps, workstations, VPNs, and more) for an additional layer of security across every employee login.

In the future remote work will continue to change as the companies develop new normal work routines for the employees. Identity and authentication methods must develop alongside those changes to ensure secure access and simplicity for both employees and companies.

The Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP) – what it is, why it matters, and how to implement it in the Cloud

Cyber security is an all-encompassing subject that gets thrown around with many generalizations within the IT marketing landscape. There is no specific blueprint to follow to when securing a company’s IT infrastructure, but there is a philosophy that should be acknowledged as a foundation. The philosophy is called “principles of least privilege,” and it is known as a paramount to keeping your environment secure. This article will explain what this means and how this security model can up your security stature.

What is the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP)?

The principle of least privilege (PoLP) is an information security concept in which a user’s access rights are limited to only those required to perform their jobs. This principle, sometimes called the access control principle, grants users permissions and access to only those resources that are strictly necessary to perform their job functions. By doing so the damage that can result from an accident or error is limited. For example, an employee who works in sales should not have access to financial records. An account created for someone in marking should not have administrator privileges.

Any system or asset can be protected in two basic ways- first, by patching any weakness or vulnerability, and second, by limiting access and functionality. The first method aims at preventing security breaches while the second method goes one step further and additionally aims at limiting the damage in the case of breaches. This second method is referred to as the principle of least privilege. PoLP is a cybersecurity best practice and is instrumental in the security of critical data and assets. This principle is not restricted to human access alone and can be applied to any application, system, or device that requires access or permissions to perform tasks. The access rights for applications, systems, and processes can also be restricted to only those who are authorized.

Why is the Principle of Least Privilege so important?

  • Least privilege prevents data misuse

Users can only steal data they have access to. But one major risk that is often overlooked comes in the form of special rights, for instance remote access for users working from home. As an employer, you are usually not going to assume the worst and expect that your employees will abuse their privileges. However, if you permit them to work from home using a VPN connection, you’ll still want to make sure that you have that DLP function (data loss prevention) in the VPN software activated.  Another lurking danger that can be countered using the least privilege principle is your ex-employee with still upright privileges. If POLP is implemented correctly and consistently, the user’s privileges will be revoked completely once he or she leaves.

  • Stay compliant, optimize audits

Every company must ensure that both internal and external compliance policies are met. Such policies include the GDPR and HIPAA, for instance. These regulations stipulate that measures be taken that are all, in some way or another, based around the principle of least privilege.

  • POLP saves time, POLP saves money

In organizations that have not yet implemented an access management software, admins sometimes grant admin privileges to non-admin users. The idea behind this is to give certain people, e.g. department heads, admin rights so they can assign privileges to their subordinates without having to go through the IT department every time. It is a total time-saver because it frees up time for IT admins, allowing them to tend to more important matters.

Tips for implementing Least Privilege in the cloud

The principle of least privilege is conceptually simple but implementing it can be very complex depending on your IT infrastructure. As we mentioned earlier, the principle applies not only to individual users but also to networks, devices, programs, and services. When implementing PoLP, the most important thing to remember is that the principle must apply to all entities because the compromise of any one endpoint, system, or process can potentially put the entire organization at risk.

  • Discover & classify your sensitive data

 As a beginning, the first step should be to ensure that we know exactly what sensitive data we have, and where it is located. Most popular cloud platforms provide data classification capabilities out-of-the-box, including AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Some solutions can also classify sensitive data at the point of creation. Our practical advice is to make sure that any redundant data is removed before attempting to implement PoLP. Establishing a profound understanding of what data you have makes the process of assigning access rights considerably easier.

  • Implement Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

A helpful technique that is used to simplify the process of setting up PoLP is Role-Based Access Control (RBAC). As opposed to trying to assign access rights to specific individuals, you can define a comprehensive set of roles, each with their respective privileges, and assign users to these roles on an ad-hoc basis. While RBAC is arguably less granular than assigning access rights on a per-user basis, it is generally more secure as it is less prone to error. Most popular cloud platforms provide role-based access control, including Azure and Google Cloud.

  • Identify and remove inactive user accounts

It is necessary to ensure that any inactive user accounts are identified and removed before implementing PoLP. Since inactive user accounts are rarely monitored, hackers often target them as it enables them to gain persistent access to the network with less risk of getting caught.

  • Monitor privileged accounts in real-time

You should also ensure that you have as much visibility as possible into who is already accessing what data, and when. Most real-time auditing solutions use machine learning techniques to monitor user behavior and establish usage patterns which can be tested against in order to identify anomalies. Once you have an understanding of each user’s behavioral patterns, you can use this information as a guide to determine what data each user should have access to.

  • Review all IAM permissions

Constantly review all IAM permissions and privileges in the cloud environments and strategically remove unnecessary elevated permissions to cloud workloads.

  • Enforce the Principle of Least Privilege to your third-parties too

Even if you implement the principle of least privilege, your third-party associates maybe do not do it. This only poses a threat to your organization. Make sure that you apply the principle of least privilege to contractors, vendors, and remote sessions and establish if they really are a threat or not.

The principle of least privilege is the concept of restricting access rights of users to only those resources that are required for performing their legitimate functions. Least privilege applies not just to users but also to applications, systems, processes, and devices such as IoT. PoLP is a security best practice and a foundational element of a zero-trust security framework. Implementing least privilege is instrumental in reducing security and business risks that may result from external attacks as well as internal threats and errors.

Identity and Access Management – Concept, Functions and Challenges

Identity and Access Management is an important part of today’s evolving world. It is the process of managing who has access to what information over time. Activity of IAM involves creation of identities for user and system. Secure user access plays a key role in the exchange of data and information. In addition, electronic data is becoming ever more valuable for most companies. Access protection must therefore meet increasingly strict requirements – an issue that is often solved by introducing strong authentication. Identity and the Access are two very important concept of the IAM which are needed to be managed by the company. Companies are now relying more on the automated tool which can manage all these things. But then it creates the risk. Because tools are not intelligent enough to take the decisions, so we can add the intelligence by using the various data mining algorithm. This can keep the data over time and then build the models. This article covers the key challenges associated with  Identity and Access Management

1. IAM as a critical foundation for realizing the business benefits

Currently, companies are more and more concerned in complex value chains also they necessary to both integrate and offer a range of information systems. As a result of this, the lines among service providers and users and among competitors are blurring. Companies therefore need to implement efficient and flexible business processes focused on the electronic exchange of data and information. Such processes require reliable identity and access management solutions. IAM is the process which manages who has access to what information over time. Activity of IAM involves creation of identities for user and system. Identity and Access Management IAM has recently emerged as a critical foundation for realizing the business benefits in terms of cost savings, management control, operational efficiency, and, most importantly, business growth for ecommerce. Enterprises need to manage access to information and applications scattered across internal and external application systems. Moreover, they must provide this access for a growing number of identities, both inside and outside the organization, without compromising security or exposing sensitive information.

IAM comprises of people, processes and products to manage identities and access to resources of an enterprise. An identity access management (IAM) system is a framework for business processes that facilitates the management of electronic identities. Poorly controlled IAM processes may lead to regulatory non-compliance, because if the organization is audited, management will not be able to prove that company data is not at risk for being misused.

Additionally, the enterprise shall have to ensure the correctness of data in order for the IAM Framework to function properly. IAM components can be classified into four major categories: authentication, authorization, user management and central user repository (Enterprise Directory). The ultimate goal of IAM Framework is to provide the right people with the right access at the right time.

2. Key Concept of IAM

Secure user access plays a key role in the exchange of data and information. In addition, electronic data is becoming ever more valuable for most companies. Access protection must therefore meet increasingly strict requirements – an issue that is often solved by introducing strong authentication. Modern IAM solutions allow administering users and their access rights flexibly and effectively, enabling multiple ways of cooperation. Also, IAM is a prerequisite for the use of cloud services, as such services may involve outsourcing of data, which in turn means that data handling and access has to be clearly defined and monitored.

  • Identity The element or combination of element that uniquely describes a person or machines is called Identity. It can be what you know such as password or other personal information what you have or any combination of these.
  • Access The information representing the rights that identity was granted. This information the access rights can be granted to allow users to perform transactional functions at various levels. Some examples of transactional functions are copy, transfer, add, change, delete, review, approve and cancel.
  • Entitlements The collection of access rights to perform transactional functions is called entitlements. The term entitlements are used occasionally with access rights. Identity and access management is the, who, what, where, when, and why of information technology. It encompasses many technologies and security practices, including secure single sign-on (SSO), user provisioning/de provisioning, authentication, and authorization.

Over the past several years, the Fortune 2000 and governments worldwide have come to rely on a sound IAM platform as the foundation for their GRC strategies. As more organizations decentralize with branch and home offices, remote employees, and the consumerization of IT, the need for strong security and GRC practices is greater than ever

3. Function of Identity Management

The identity management system stores information on all aspects of the identity management infrastructure. Using this information, it provides authorization, authentication, user registration and enrolment, password management, auditing, user self-service, central administration, and delegated administration.

Stores information The identity management system stores information about the following resources: applications (e.g. business applications, Web applications, desktop applications), databases (e.g. Oracle, DB2, MS SQL Server), devices (e.g. mobile phones, pagers, card keys), facilities (e.g. warehouses, office buildings, conference rooms), groups (e.g. departments, workgroups), operating systems (e.g. Windows, Unix, MVS), people (e.g. employees, contractors, customers), policy (e.g. security policy, access control policy), and roles (e.g. titles, responsibilities, job functions).

• Authentication and authorization

The identity management system authenticates and authorizes both internal and external users. When a user initiates a request for access to a resource, the identity management first authenticates the user by asking for credentials, which may be in the form of a username and password, digital certificate, smart card, or biometric data. After the user successfully authenticates, the identity management system authorizes the appropriate amount of access based on the user’s identity and attributes. The access control component will manage subsequent authentication and authorization requests for the user, which will reduce the number of passwords the user will have to remember and reduce the number of times a user will have to perform a logon function. This is referred to as “single sign-on”.

• External user registration and enrolment The identity management system allows external users to register accounts with the identity management system and also to enrol for access privileges to a particular resource. If the user cannot authenticate with the identity management system the user will be provided the opportunity to register an account. Once an account is created and the user successfully authenticates, the user must enrol for access privileges to requested resources. The enrolment process may be automated based on set policies or the owner of the resource may manually approve the enrolment. Only after the user has successfully registered with the identity management system and enrolled for access will access to that resource be granted.

• Internal user enrolment The identity management system allows internal users to enroll for access privileges. Unlike external users, internal users will not be given the option to register because internal users already have an identity within the identity management system. The enrolment process for internal users is identical to that of external users.

 • Auditing The identity management system facilitates auditing of user and privilege information. The identity management system can be queried to verify the level of user privilege. The identity management system provides data from authoritative sources, providing auditors with accurate information about users and their privileges.

 • Central administration The identity management system allows administrators to centrally manage multiple identities. Administrators can centrally manage both the content within the identity management system and the structural architecture of the identity management system.

4. Challenges in IAM

Today’s enterprise IT departments face the increasingly complex challenge of providing granular access to information resources, using contextual information about users and requests, while successfully restricting unauthorized access to sensitive corporate data.

Distributed applications

With the growth of cloud-based and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, users now have the power to log in to critical business apps like Salesforce, Office365, Concur, and more anytime, from any place, using any device. However, with the increase of distributed applications comes an increase in the complexity of managing user identities for those applications. Without a seamless way to access these applications, users struggle with password management while IT is faced with rising support costs from frustrated users. Solution is a holistic IAM solution can help administrators consolidate, control, and simplify access privileges, whether the critical applications are hosted in traditional data centers, private clouds, public clouds, or a hybrid combination of all these spaces.

  • Productive provisioning

Without a centralized IAM system, IT staff must provision access manually. The longer it takes for a user to gain access to crucial business applications, the less productive that user will be. On the flip side, failing to revoke the access rights of employees who have left the organization or transferred to different departments can have serious security consequences. To close this window of exposure and risk, IT staff must de-provision access to corporate data as quickly as possible. Manual provisioning and de provisioning of access is often supposed to cause human error or oversights. Especially for large organizations, it is not an efficient or sustainable way to manage user identities and access. Solution is a robust IAM solution that can fully automate the provisioning and de-provisioning process, giving IT full power over the access rights of employees, partners, contractors, vendors, and guests. Automated provisioning and de provisioning speed the enforcement of strong security policies while helping to eliminate human error.

  • Bring your own device (BYOD)

The challenge with BYOD is not whether outside devices are brought into the enterprise network, but whether IT can react quickly enough to protect the organization’s business assets—without disrupting employee productivity and while offering freedom of choice. Nearly every company has some sort of BYOD policy that allows users to access secure resources from their own devices. However, accessing internal and SaaS applications on a mobile device can be more cumbersome than doing so from a networked laptop or desktop workstation. In addition, IT staff may struggle to manage who has access privileges to corporate data and which devices they’re using to access it. Solution is enterprises must develop a strategy that makes it quick, easy, and secure to grant—and revoke—access to corporate applications on employee- and corporate-owned mobile devices based on corporate guidelines or regulatory compliance.

  • Regulatory compliance

Compliance and corporate governance concerns continue to be major drivers of IAM spending. Ensuring support for processes such as determining access privileges for specific employees, tracking management approvals for expanded access, and documenting who has accessed what data and when they did it can go a long way to easing the burden of regulatory compliance and ensuring a smooth audit process. Solution is a strong IAM solution can support compliance with regulatory standards such as HIPAA. In particular, a solution that automates audit reporting can simplify the processes for regulatory conformance and can also help generate the comprehensive reports needed to prove that compliance.

Efficiency, Security and Compliance are important keys of Identity and Access Management. Benefits of deploy a vigorous IAM solution are clear, the complexity and cost of implementation can disrupt even the most well-intentioned organization. A robust IAM solution can ease organization pains, streamline provisioning and de-provisioning, and improve user productivity, while lowering costs, dropping demands on IT, and providing the enterprise with comprehensive data to assist in complying with regulatory standards.

For more information about PATECCO Identity and Access Management Solutions inThe Era of Digital Transformation Whitepaper, click on the image below:

Why Zero Trust Is Important For Your Business?

Organisations today need to estimate the risk associated with each request for access to their critical resources, provided that a great part of these requests come from third party platforms, contractors, and, most important of all, remote workers. In such situation, relying on network centric models carry with them several challenges and expose several vulnerabilities that may be exploited to the detriment of companies.

Deploying a Zero Trust model directly addresses and solves security challenges of this nature, and in the process, also helps in streamlining businesses that are moving towards greater and secure adoption of digital transformation processes. A Zero Trust model moves away from the conventional, network-centric approach that traditional security models have come to rely on, and are instead moving towards a more nuanced approach that focuses on the identity of the users and the applications that only they are allowed to access. By focusing on user and device identity, and not assigning trust to any user by default, a zero trust model ensures a more rational approach to security.

Here, in this article, we have outlined the security and business benefits associated with the adoption of a Zero trust Model.

Why Zero Trust?

Adopting the Zero Trust Networking approach to security can serve well the needs of both corporations and consumers. To truly protect their own and their customer’s data, organizations must not trust any activity that might take place either inside or outside of their networks. Instead, they should verify every request to access their networks to ensure it’s safe.

To make the enterprise IT environment safe, organizations can utilize a number of technologies and protocols. Leveraging these security technologies — including IAM, multi-factor authentication, encryption, analytics, orchestration, scoring and file system permissions – Zero Trust makes it easier for businesses to be more alert about access to information, ensuring data security.

Benefits of Zero Trust for Business and Security

  • Lowers breach potential

Apart from the obvious financial losses, data breaches can also result in an immeasurable impact on customer trust in companies. Both customers and governments are growing increasingly strident in their demands for data privacy and security and it falls upon businesses to meet that obligation in the best possible way. To minimise breach potential, the network using Zero Trust architecture continuously analyses workloads vis-à-vis their intended states. The moment there is a mismatch, its communication privileges are cut off from the rest of the system. It’s a form of practicing automatic distrust by the system until there is adequate course correction as dictated by system policies.

  • Reduces business and organizational risk

Zero trust assumes all applications and services are malicious and are disallowed from communicating until they can be positively verified by their identity attributes—immutable properties of the software or services themselves that meet predefined authentication and authorization requirements. Zero trust, therefore, reduces risk because it uncovers what’s on the network and how those assets are communicating. Further, as baselines are created, a zero trust model reduces risk by eliminating overprovisioned software and services and continuously checking the “credentials” of every communicating asset.

  • Reduce management costs

In addition to centralizing the location of security tools, Zero Trust also reduces expenditures by centralizing security management. In a traditional network, each security control has its own management interface or consoles, so operational, maintenance, and training costs soar. By reducing the number and types of controls, Zero Trust reduces the number of management consoles needed for the network. Security employees spend less time on management and more on substantive security activities.

  • Becomes a partner in digital transformation

In a perimeter-based approach to security, the security team earned a reputation as paranoid custodians because once they allowed access into the corporate perimeter in support of a new cloud service, partner, or customer engagement model, they were opening a door or connection to the entire corporate network. In a Zero Trust network where the security team has segmented apps and data into secure enclaves or microperimeters, security pros can quickly support new services with the appropriate granular privileges and data protection without inhibiting existing business and employee productivity.

  • Ensures greater agility in Business and Operations

A Zero Trust Model offers businesses the flexibility to implement their priorities rapidly throughout the organisations. Once a Zero Trust Model has been implemented, it can allow for easy transition of workforces from on premise to remote locations without the accompanying security challenges that traditional security models often carry with them. Zero Trust Models also allow for easier accessibility of required resources for third party contractors, and allow for secure deployment of company assets on customer sites as well, which allows for easier integration with customer assets, and hence, better security for them.

  • Better control over cloud environment

One of the greatest concerns of security practitioners about moving to and using the cloud, is loss of visibility and access control. Despite an evolution in cloud service provider security, workload security remains a shared responsibility between the CSP and the organization using the cloud. That said, there is only so much an organization can affect inside someone else’s cloud.

With zero trust, security policies are based on the identity of communicating workloads and are tied directly to the workload itself. In this way, security stays as close as possible to the assets that require protection and is not affected by network constructs such as IP addresses, ports, and protocols. As a result, protection remains unchanged even as the environment changes.

The implementation of a Zero Trust Model ensures significant business benefits for businesses. Not only do they ensure better visibility across the network, their focus on a continuous assessment of risk and trust associated with each user, each device, and each access request ensures all round, streamlined security. At the same time, with their scalable on demand, multi cloud flexibility, a Zero Trust Model ensures an enhanced user experience and a smooth transition and operation in the cloud.

PATECCO Launches a New Whitepaper about Managed Services

As experts in the field of Identity and Access Management PATECCO shares its best practices about Managed Services in a new whitepaper. The whitepaper is a content version of the webinar which PATECCO hosted on 07.05.2021 – „The mapping of growing responsibilities to predictable budgets”, in partnership with EU-Hub.net.

The new whitepaper contains useful information about the latest security solutions that PATECCO team implements and describes four interesting customer success stories. Get to know in details about the essence of PATECCO IAM Consulting services, Privileged Access Management, Security Information Event Management Services, Azure AD Domain Services, Identity Governance and Intelligence, Role-Based Access Control and Recertification process.

The customer success stories about Bayer, Uniper, Innogy and Victoria University Wellington present practical examples of Active Directory migration, Managed-Service for care of the core IAM systems, and implementation of PAM solutions. They also reveal challenging situations where PATECCO successfully dealt with the problem ensuring the necessary security and peace of mind.

More about PATECCO Managed Services, check out in the document below:

Which Are the Major Identity Management Services That Your Business Needs?

Identity and access management is a critical part of any enterprise security plan and it is tightly linked to the security and productivity of organizations in today’s digitally enabled economy. Fundamentally Identity and access management defines and manages the roles and access privileges of individual network users and the circumstances in which users are granted (or denied) those privileges. Those users are categorized into customers or employees. The main objective of IAM systems is one digital identity per individual. Once that digital identity has been established, it must be maintained, modified and monitored throughout each user’s “access lifecycle.”

Why does your business need IAM?

Identity management systems allow a company to extend access to its information systems across a variety of on-premises applications, mobile apps, and SaaS tools without compromising security. By providing greater access to outsiders, your business can drive collaboration throughout your organization, enhancing productivity, employee satisfaction, research and development, and, ultimately, revenue.

Identity and access management systems can also enhance business productivity. The systems’ central management capabilities reduce the complexity and cost of safeguarding user credentials and access. Along with that, identity management systems enable employees to be more productive in a wide range of environments – no matter they’re working from home, the office, or on the road.

IAM Implementation

  • Identity Management Services

PATECCO has extensive experience implementing complex Identity and Access solutions for medium and large enterprises from different industries. Organizations that partner with PATECCO benefit from our experienced consultants and proven delivery methodology, reducing risk and optimizing results.

IAM implementation is not a project that should be underestimated. Based on our own experience, customer cases and analyst advice, we have drawn up a list of best practices to get the most out of your IAM implementation.

  • Defining IAM roles and responsibilities
  • Developing IAM Requirements and Solution Design
  • Implementing the right IAM solution
  • Integration with Active Directory and Applications
  • Federation
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Privileged Access Management
  • Role Based Access Control
  • Testing and Production deployment
  • IAM Strategy

It is important to include in the main plan an IAM strategy. The main aim of IAM strategy is to identify your users. It helps you in monitoring your information and in protecting your data from attackers. It will also ensure that you are meeting your audit and compliance requirements. First, you should try to understand your business needs. You should monitor your processes and systems. This will help you in creating an effective IAM strategy. Besides, you need to make sure that your users are following your strategy. Cloud-based IAM solution is perfect for most of the businesses.

The key activities of an effective IAM strategy are the following: Conduction of business and technical stakeholder interviews, creation of phased approach to implement opportunities, development of IAM solution Roadmap, building IAM business case and presentation of IAM strategy and High-level Roadmap to the leadership.

  • IAM Roadmap

Your identity and access management (IAM) road map should be based on a well-defined strategy that establishes and articulates to technology and business leaders the business need and value of IAM. A good IAM road map should be flexible and specific, and it should describe short-, medium-, and long-term IAM activities for the next 18 to 24 months. It should be updated it at least one time per year.

Another factor for an effective Identity and Access Roadmap is to be developed in collaboration with the client based on current state and the desired end state. This engagement is a lightweight version of a Strategy engagement and will provide high-level recommendations around IAM systems/architecture and existing provisioning processes.

The specific activities concerning the IAM Roadmap refer to identification and prioritization of key IAM opportunities, creation of phased approach to implement key IAM opportunities, development and presentation of Road Map to leadership, and product evaluation.

  • Access Governance

In today’s digital world, no matter the method or location, people expect to access data seamlessly. The challenge is to ensure that access in a secure, reliable manner, so what we need in this case is IAM governance. The main goal of access governance is to develop a framework that incorporates standardized principles, responsible best practices, and a multidisciplinary management model that respects the diverse nature of the organization. Establishing centralized, comprehensive policies and standards is critical to ensure consistency among many decentralized environments and the integrity of data. A strong IAM system depends on a sustained commitment to administrative and technical privacy and security controls.

The key activities concerning Access Governance include use of recommended Access Governance structure, defining process to develop IAM policies, defining process to establish Technical Standards and defining process to prioritize future IAM opportunities

  • IAM Architecture and Design

Architecting an effective Identity and Access Management capability for the enterprise requires to carefully keep the balance between the organization’s risk management requirements and the need to not overcomplicate the end-user experience. With the requirements imposed by diverse technologies like remote network access, public cloud infrastructure, software-as-a-service, Internet of Things and mobile devices, today’s IAM often involves integration of multiple identity sources and tools leading to additional complication. Under these conditions, architecture requires a holistic approach that carefully selects processes and technologies that work well together. When building an IAM architecture, security teams should consider the different tools and features offered by those tools. IAM tools include password management, reporting and monitoring, access control, identity management, provisioning software and identity repositories

Identity and access management solutions and services offer unique and useful technologies for the cyber security professionals to help them control the user access within the limits of their organization. These solutions allow cyber security professionals to manage which user can access which information for how long. As a result, identity and access management solutions play an important role in keeping the sensitive information of your organization safe.

PATECCO Customer Success Story

Integrating One Identity, Service Now and Microsoft Azure.

Situation: А German energy supply and solutions company, has a started a project for the implementation of a PAM solution. They have chosen One Identity Safeguard as PAM tool. This innovative privileged access management solution provides a secure way to store, manage, record and analyze privileged access. It combines a secured and hardened password safe, and a session-management and -monitoring solution with threat detection and analytics.

The Challenge: The energy company has also an Azure Environment as part of their IT Infrastructure. During the implementation some challenges appeared – they wanted to get the Configuration Items (Server objects) to be integrated into the Safeguard solution. The sources of these CI`s were two – ServiceNow and Azure Environment. The customer’s requirement was to have our Event Based Interface to these two source systems. In this way the energy company has achieved its main goal: automation of the Data import to the Safeguard solution which leads to less human administrative interaction with the System. Before the Interface, Objects were manually imported which resulted in less efficiency and productivity.

Response:  PATECCO responded, drawing on 20 years of professional experience in IAM and PAM field. Its team of proficient IT experts provided comprehensive solution based on the latest technologies. The first step was to create a strategic plan and then to build an Event Based Interface, using the Safeguard API to get the Configuration Items into the system. Both Interfaces are using state of the art technology for the Microsoft Azure Technology Stack. The Interface works roughly like:

  • When a new Server Object is created in the Azure Environment or in the ServiceNow Configuration Management Database (CMDB) this Server Object will also be created in the Safeguard PAM Solution.
  • The same mechanism applies to any modification of Server Objects.

Results: In just a few months, the energy supply and solutions corporation has achieved major results related to less manual interaction and elimination of human errors. The Event Based Approach makes sure that only Server Objects are processed which are recently created or modified, instead of always process all Server Objects. In its work with PATECCO, the energy company will continue to emphasize on the technical, organizational, and financial benefits related to saving time and money, better scalability, minimized incidents of human error and the most important one – secure and controlled access.

Which Are the Best Practices in Privileged Access Management?

The digital world often faces problems of abused privileges or stolen credentials which are seen as the main cause of data breaches. The reason is that many companies do not track how their employees use shared privileged credentials and do not engage in privileged user monitoring. These risks can be reduced through effective privileged access management (PAM). PAM is a set of policies and processes for assigning, controlling, and monitoring administrator-level privileges and should be a major focus for Security and IT management who are looking to mitigate the risks of data breaches and insider risks.

Why companies need strict access control?

As mentioned above compromised credentials are a main cause the vast majority of security breaches. Attackers cannot easily get around modern security mechanisms, so they find a way out and steal credentials by getting into the network. Usually, an attacker aims to get privileged credentials through the network by gaining low-level access to steal data, disable systems, and cover their tracks.

When it comes to controlling access to a company’s cloud workloads, big data projects and network devices, the practice shows that most enterprises are not doing enough to address modern security concerns. Today’s environment is much different than when all privileged access was constrained to systems and resources inside the network. Privileged access management not only covers infrastructure, databases and network devices, but is extended to cloud environments, big data, DevOps, containers and more.

Basically, PAM includes a collection of practices, policies and technologies that protect administrative or “privileged” access to the back ends of critical systems. Privileged users operate privileged accounts, where they are authorized to set up, configure, reconfigure or delete systems, servers, databases and storage volumes.  Privileged users are necessary for the proper functioning of the IT departments, but their features makes them very attractive targets for hackers. Some of the worst data breaches in recent times were a result from the abuse of privileged accounts and the impersonation of privileged user identities. Protecting privileged credentials is a major goal of cyber security policy and security operations.

PAM Best Practices

There are companies still using spreadsheets and common sense to manage privileged accounts, but this is no longer a viable and efficient approach.  Such companies should take PAM seriously and to integrate that solution within their Identity and Access Management system. Below is presented a set of PATECCO privileged access best practices which all organizations should follow:

1. Identity Consolidation

The management of privileged identities and their access to critical systems only makes sense if all identities that are to be managed are unambiguously recorded in the context of an initial survey. For this reason, PATECCO recommends starting a PAM project with an analysis, cleansing and consolidation of existing identities, roles, permissions, and local accounts across all, especially heterogeneous, resources.

Only if a uniform and unambiguous collection of all these identities is guaranteed, the next step can be taken meaningfully regarding the consideration of privileged access. Specifically, this means that all identities can also log into the system in a personalized manner, so that authorizations can then be granted to this unique identity even in administrative systems.

As best practices from the PATECCO project experience, an Active Directory is used to consolidate UNIX, Linux, and LDAP identities with a single, unique ID for centralized identity, role, and permission management and for Kerberos-based authentication

2. Privileged Access Request

The central challenge for any privileged access management system is the use of a (minimum) four-eyes principle that uniquely identifies the requestor and the approver and enables   traceability. A workflow-based request and approval mechanism for privileged access is usually used for this purpose.

Access to and use of privileged accounts is a key focus for regulators in many industries, but access to critical corporate resources should also be controlled, documented, and monitored in every other organization to improve security, governance, and compliance.

3. Super User Privilege Management (SUPM)

PATECCO calls the ability to enable a “least privilege” access model for authorized users via authorization extension tools SUPM, Super User Privilege Management. The aim of this procedure is to assign only the minimum set of authorizations at session runtime. An interactive session starts with as few authorizations as possible and is only elevated when required. In particular, the aim is to avoid the necessity of accessing shared accounts through a modified authorization model.

For this PATECCO uses the combination with Identity Consolidation in Active Directory. This provides further administrative advantages so that roles and authorizations for administrative users can be managed centrally. In addition, global changes can be made quickly and consistently under Windows, Linux and UNIX.

4. Shared Account Password Management (SAPM)

When implementing PAM projects, PATECCO puts great emphasis on the protection of the assets of the respective organization. Shared accounts ought to be prevented conceptually, because the containment of data protection violations is most effective if the attack surface can be reduced.

The aim is therefore to reduce the number of privileged accounts as far as possible towards zero and to use SAPM only for emergency login scenarios such as “Break Glass”. This applies to legacy and emergency scenarios in which privilege elevation cannot be reached sensibly and in which direct logon as administrator (for example, root) must be allowed in exceptional cases.

5. Application to Application Password Management (AAPM)

A key design deficiency in programs that require automated access to critical systems (such as provisioning systems or other programs that use service accounts) is the use of hard-coded credentials in application code, scripts, and other configuration files. AAPM tools provide a workaround by providing a mechanism (typically APIs) to make credentials securely available on demand by accessing a secure password vault. PATECCO supports during the execution of a PAM project in implementing AAPM as an extension of the SAPM tools. This helps in managing accounts used by applications or systems to communicate with other applications or systems (such as databases, web services etc.).

By implementing PAM capabilities and following PAM best practices, privileged users have efficient and secure access to the systems they manage, while organizations can monitor all privileged users for all relevant systems. PATECCO supports in ensuring that audit and compliance requirements are met and can support in implementing privacy policies adherent to regulatory and legal requirements, e.g. EU-GDPR.

The Role of Identity and Access Management in Cybersecurity

In today’s digitally transformed world, Identity and Access Management (IAM) plays an essential  role in every enterprise security plan. As the business stores more and more sensitive data electronically, the need to protect sensitive information and data becomes critical. In this sense, IAM solution gives or limits the access permissions of different employees according to their roles.

Why IAM becomes more important than ever for enterprises?

IAM solutions must be an integral part of any enterprise security system. Their central management capabilities can help in improving security while decreasing the cost and complexity of protecting user access and credentials. In addition to providing access to employees, organizations also need to work, collaborate, and connect with contractors, vendors and partners, each with their own set of access requirements and restrictions. Furthermore, data and applications spread across cloud, on-premises and hybrid infrastructures are being accessed by a variety of devices including tablets, smartphones, and laptops.

Identity and Access Management is a Cyber and Information security discipline that ensures the right people have appropriate access to the organization’s critical systems and resources at the right time. For that reason IAM is based on three major pillars (Identification, Authentication and Authorization) which prevent the company to be exposed to cybersecurity threats like phishing, criminal hacking, ransomware or other malware attacks.

Benefits of IAM solutions having a significant influence in the cybersecurity

As mentioned above, effective IAM infrastructure and solutions help enterprises establish secure, productive, and efficient access to technology resources across these diverse systems while delivering several important key benefits:

  • IAM enhances security: This is perhaps the most important benefit organizations can get from IAM. Consolidating authentication and authorization capabilities on a single centralized platform provides business and IT teams with a streamlined and consistent method of managing user access during identity lifecycle within an organization. For example, when users leave a company, centralized IAM solution gives IT administrators the ability to revoke their access with the confidence that the revocation will take place immediately across all the business-critical systems and resources which are integrated with centralized IAM solution within the company. Thus, by controlling user access, companies can eliminate instances of data breaches, identity theft, and illegal access to confidential information.
  • Reduced Security Costs: Having a centralized IAM platform to manage all users and their access allows IT to perform their work more efficiently. In the digitally hyperconnected world, employees have access to hundreds of systems and resources as part of their job. Efficient centralized IAM solution can successfully address this challenge which results in huge savings of time and money for the company. A comprehensive IAM solution can reduce overall IT costs by automating identity processes that consume IT resources, such as onboarding, password resets and access requests, eliminating the need for help desk tickets or calls. Whenever a security policy gets updated, all access privileges across the organization can be changed in one sweep. IAM can also reduce the number of tickets sent to the IT helpdesk regarding password resets. Some systems even have automation set for tedious IT tasks.
  • IAM Provides direct connectivity: Connectivity is a hallmark of IAM because it provides direct linking to more than one hundred systems and applications. Supporting a wide range of systems, IAM makes it possible not only to apply Workflow Management and Self-Service to user account management, but also to a variety of other service provisioning processes including: requesting physical access to a work area, applying for a smartphone, or submitting a helpdesk ticket.
  • Least Privilege Principle: Least privilege is an important practice of computer and information security for limiting access privileges for users. With the increasing number of data breaches involving an insider, it is necessary to ensure access to all your corporate resources are secured and granted using least privilege principle. In a company it is a common practice for employees to move across different roles in the organization. If the granted privileges are not revoked when the employee changes the role, those privileges can accumulate, and this situation poses a great risk for many reasons. That makes this user an easy target for cyber hackers as his excessive rights can be an easier gateway for criminals to access the broader part of the company’s critical systems and resources. Or this can eventually turn into the insider threat where a person gets the ability to commit data theft. Sometimes companies forget to remove these excessive privileges from a user’s profile when he or she leaves the company. That leads to a security risk where the user can still access the company’s systems even after the termination. In this case, a well-designed centralized IAM solution can help organizations eliminate insider threat challenge by utilizing the Least Privilege Principle to a great extent.

There are many factors which have proved that Identity and Access Management evolution will influence on the cybersecurity industry. These factors refer to weaknesses in password security, increasing number of distributed and interconnected systems, technological advancements, and, the basic business needs to manage access and regulatory compliance risks efficiently. An end-to-end IAM implementation provides assurance that only authorized, authenticated users are able to interact with the systems and data they need to effectively perform their job. All that results in reducing the likelihood and impact of data breaches.