Skip to main content

How the Modern Identity Governance Solutions Enhance Security of the Digital Enterprises?

In times of progressive digital transformation, Identity governance is one of the most neglected branches of cybersecurity. That is why it is crucial for the enterprises to adopt or to update their current identity governance in 2022. And before implementing or updating such identity management tools, the companies should ask several important questions such as: How they ensure the permissions their users have are appropriate to their roles? Can enterprises prevent users from accumulating unnecessary privileges? How can enterprises improve their visibility into their users’ identities?

In case your corporation enterprise doesn’t take these questions into account, you may face challenges with external and internal threats. It is critical for the companies to be able to see, understand and govern their users’ access to all business applications and data. This turns identity into a business enabler for organizations, helping them to properly secure and govern all of their digital identities at the speed of business today.

Identity is not only a number of employees

When talking about identity governance, enterprises often think only about the individual users operating under their scope: their employees. That’s ok, but the corporations must bear in mind their contractors, partners, and other third parties when considering access management and identity governance in 2022. If all these groups of people have access to the network, their permissions should be as strictly controlled and monitored as any of your employees.

Furthermore, your identity governance in 2022 must extend beyond the identities of people including also the identities held by applications and software. These can move through your network and access data in much the same way a human user can. Allowing them free govern in your databases can only lead to serious issues. So, application identity governance tools are only going to become more important as cloud applications and cloud architecture continue to transform enterprises.

Identity Governance could be effectively combined with PAM

In fact, maintaining proper role management through identity governance in 2022 makes a key assumption. Specifically, the users logging in are the users to whom the account belongs.

Bad circumstances such as password sharing, stolen credentials, and phishing attacks can place your employees’ identities at severe risk; this applies doubly if the employees in question have significant administrative powers within the network. By incorporating robust privileged access management with your IGA solution, you can prevent hackers and insider threats from turning your role management against you. This can include implementing granular authentication, implementing multifactor authentication, and deploying behavioural analysis to observe discrepancies.

The benefits of modern Identity Governance solutions

Nowadays the benefits of modern Identity Governance solutions go beyond security. Modern Identity Governance solutions empower organizations with automated workflows that can streamline access requests, detect permission discrepancies, and handle temporary assignments to help your IT team prioritize other projects, thus, eliminating human errors. Organizations can also manage their non-employee identities e.g. – third-party vendors or partners without disruptions and ensure strict monitoring of their access in the network. Without proper identity access governance, it is challenging for organizations to assign and keep track of the applications and resources that identities have access to. Some organizations have hundreds, even thousands of applications.

Here are several important ways that identity access governance benefits your business:

  • Visibility

Let’s say it right: you can’t protect what remains unseen. That is why visibility represents the heart and soul of cybersecurity. Identity governance provides visibility and monitoring over employee and user permissions. Also, it helps IT admins get a high-level view of what’s happening across the IT environment, allowing them to quickly make changes and troubleshoot problems that could have easily become worse if left untreated.

  • Streamlined User Identity Lifecycle Management

When onboarding and offboarding, managers and IT personnel typically had direct physical access to the resources that they needed to manage and change, but now that’s not necessarily the case. This means that new solutions need to be leveraged to maintain the proper level of control over users, devices, networks, and other IT resources, and this is where an IGA solution becomes integral.

  • Enhanced Compliance and Security

Identity governance also helps businesses meet their compliance needs. Almost all IGA solutions provide out-of-the-box compliance reports for easy fulfilment; additionally, it can often fill those reports automatically, alleviating a burden on your IT security team. The modern Identity Governance solution reduces risk and improves compliance and security by managing access control in a comprehensive and streamlined manner. By using tools that streamline user identity lifecycle management, your organization is at less risk for the wrong users having access to confidential information, and you have higher visibility into what different users do and do not have access to.

  • Risk Management

IGA solutions enable a robust approach to managing and governing access by focusing on three aspects of access. First, they practice least privilege access, eliminating excess privileges and granting access to only those who absolutely need it in order to do their jobs. Secondly, they terminate “orphaned” accounts as quickly as possible. These accounts that are no longer being used, either because an employee is no longer with the company, or any other reason, are perfect targets for those looking to breach the environment. Finally, IGA solutions monitor for segregation of duty (SoD) violations. This critical risk management concept dictates that no single individual should be able to complete a task, creating a built-in system of checks and balances.

With these clear, measurable benefits, it’s easy to see why Identity governance solutions are quickly becoming an essential component in many organizations’ security strategy. Identity governance in 2022 will not be a panacea. It must be a part of a comprehensive cybersecurity platform, made of well integrated and well-thought-out solutions.

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.

Questions and Answers Between IBM and PATECCO

More than an year PATECCO and IBM work on successful PAM and IGI projects together as partners. During the meetings and moments of interesting discussions both teams get to know better and find the ways to collaborate as professionals. Now PATECCO is close enough with IBM to sit together, even online, and to share some secrets and business practices.
Which are they, learn from the video interview between Lisa Unkelhäußer – IBM Security Channel Leader DACH and PATECCO’s General Manager – Volker Paetschke.
Enjoy it!

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.

PATECCO PAM Whitepaper is Already Available in German!

After the English version, PATECCO created the German version of its PAM white paper.

PATECCO whitepaper describes how Privilege Access Management is integrated into a comprehensive IAM architecture. It provides an overview of essential components and current enhancements and trends in this area. The finalsection shows the importance of an adequate implementation of Privileged AccessManagement in a user company,exemplified by the consulting activities of PATECCOand its range of services.

To read the whitepaper, please click on the image below:

Why Privileged Access Management is Essential for all Businesses

Privileged Access Management is principal to controlling access and delivers the required balance between system administrators and users. In contrast to Identity Management solutions, often confused with PAM, a Privileged Access Management solution offers a secure way to authorise, track, and protect all privileged accounts across all relevant systems, which ensures absolute control and visibility. That process allows the organisation to control users’ access and it is considered to be its most valuable asset. This process also proves the fact that PAM is one of the most important areas of risk management and data security in any enterprise.

In a time of digital transformation, business models are constantly changing which leads to more numerous and widespread privileged accounts. When they are not managed securely, businesses are exposed to the risks of abandoned accounts, unmanaged shared accounts. That is a favourable situation for criminals and hackers to steal and to use credentials for privileged accounts to gain access. To reduce this risk, implementing a cost effective PAM solution is essential.

The modern PAM implementations focus on implementing and maintaining a least privilege model and monitoring activity with advanced data security analytics. Least privilege gives users the access they need to do properly their job. Monitoring and data security analytics detect changes in behaviour that could indicate external or insider threats at work. Those two paradigms keep your business well protected.

Why is Privileged Access Management Important?

According to Gartner’s 2019 Best Practices for Privileged Account Management, a quality PAM solution should be based on four pillars: Provide full visibility of all privileged accounts, Govern and control privileged access, Monitor and audit privileged activity and Automate and integrate PAM tools. In this article, we list the most essential features that can help you secure privileged access to your company’s sensitive data according to these four pillars.

#1 Enhanced security with Multi-factor authentication

MFA feature is a necessary measure for making sure that only the right people have he right access to the critical data. It also prevents insider threats by mitigating the risk of malicious insiders “borrowing” passwords from their colleagues. Most MFA tools offer a combination of two factors: Knowledge (user credentials) and Possession. 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 Session management

A lot of security providers offer Privileged Access and Session Management (PASM) as a standalone solution or as a part of their privileged account management software. The capability to monitor and record privileged sessions provides security specialists with all needed information for auditing privileged activity and investigating cybersecurity incidents.

The main 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. To deal with this case, you need a PAM solution that offers a secondary authentication functionality for shared and default accounts. So if a user logs in into the system under a shared account, they will be asked to provide their personal credentials as well, thus allowing to confirm that this particular session was started by this particular user.

#3 Quick detection of cyber risks

The security provided to privileged accounts is quite strict. As soon as any suspicious activity is detected the response comes immediately. That’s the reason why the incidences of data breaches and cyber attacks on privileged accounts are relatively less.

#4 Real-time privileged session monitoring and recording for detecting suspicious activity

The earlier the attack is stopped, the lesser the consequences will be.  In order to be able to respond to a possible security incident in a timely manner, you need to be notified about near to real-time.. Organizations with real-time privileged session monitoring and recording can detect suspicious activity the moment it occurs and automatically terminate such sessions hence reducing potential damages. Besides, session monitoring and recording enable for hackerproof storage of searchable audit logs which prevent privileged users from deleting their history or even editing them.

Most PAM solutions offer a set of standard rules and alerts. For instance, responsible security personnel will be notified every time the system registers a failed login attempt for a privileged account.

# 5 Comprehensive reporting and audit

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.

You should also be able to form different types of reports according to your specific needs and requirements. The best option is to get a full report about all activities performed underprivileged accounts or privileged sessions that were initiated out of the usual work hours.

# 6 PAM Enables Fast Track to Compliance

To comply with the standards of the organizations that handle regulations, you should have strong policies which cover privileged accounts, revoking of privileged accounts, audit usage, the security of logins for privileged accounts, and changing of the vendor default passwords amidst many other security control essentials. A PAM solution allows the organization to take control of the management and monitors the security of privileged accounts to meet the standards of the access control demands for a good number of the industry regulations.

Privileged access management remains a crucial element in the security infrastructure for all organizations as it offers solutions and benefits useful for defence against data threats. With privileged access management, companies can solve all potential dangers that might target their data. Here’s why PAM should come first for any business.

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:

PATECCO Will be an Education Seminar Sponsor at E-Crime and Cyber Security Conference in Frankfurt

For a second time, next year, PATECCO will take part in the 14th edition of the conference E-Crime and Cyber Security. It will take place in Frankfurt, Germany, on 28th of January 2020. The company will be an Education Seminar Sponsor and will present its best practices in the field of Identity and Access Management.

The event is the leading market place for visitors of the banking industry and for IT service providers which activity is focused on the latest technological developments and IT trends.  The conference provides a good overview about the actual IT security sector and gives the opportunity to find out how the IT professionals in the organisations are meeting their goals, how they are addressing business priorities and operational objectives in order to reduce risk, protect data, ensure compliance and strengthen security posture.

During the one-day event, PATECCO will have a counter where its team members will welcome each visitor who is interested in Identity Access Governance IAG, Privileged Account Management (PAM), Security Incident and Event Management SIEM, Management and IT-Consulting, and Cloud Access Control. Each one, who is interested in these specific areas, will be invited in a personal meeting where all details will be considered.

Photo credit: akjassociates.com

Besides, the company’s CTO – Mr. Helmut Brachhaus, who is an expert Privileged Account Management,  will speak in a 35 minute session, related to the topic about BAIT (in German – Die Bankaufsichtlichen Anforderungen an die IT) or said in English – “The banking supervisory requirements for IT”.

Mr. Brachhaus will describe case studies that detail how security frameworks and methodologies are being applied in the real world to help lines of business and the board take advantage of new opportunities, increase productivity, enable agility and decrease cost. He will also share critical and unique insights that can inform the direction of business, technology and security strategy and practical steps that can help assess exposure to, articulate and proactively mitigate the impacts of emerging risks.

PATECCO is an international company, dedicated to development, implementation and support of Identity & Access Management solutions. Based on 20 years’ experience within IAM, high qualification and professional attitude, the company provides value-added services to customers from different industries such as banking, insurance, chemistry, pharma and utility.

PATECCO Has a New White Paper About Privileged Access Management Services

The new PATECCO White Paper in Privileged Access Management has already been issued by the German Analyst company – Kuppingercole, with the valuable support of Matthias Reinwarth. The report consists of 16 pages describing main points about PATECCO PAM solutions – Functionalities, Capabilities, Deployments, Landscapes, Implementation.

PATECCO Privileged Account Management (PAM) focuses on the specific requirements of privileged user accounts in a company’s IT infrastructure. PAM is used as an information security and governance tool to support companies in complying with legal and regulatory compliance regulations. It also helps to prevent internal data misuse through the use of privileged accounts.

For the past several years, PATECCO developed high skills in implementing PAM
solutions, describing and designing necessary processes, and connecting systems
to these solutions. The white paper presents in details PATECCO best practices in implementing PAM solutions in the following function subsets:

  • Identity Consolidation
  • Privileged Access Request
  • Super User Privilege Management (SUPM)
  • Shared Account Password Management (SAPM)
  • Application to Application Password Management (AAPM)

The report presents PATECCO’s projects as a good example of demonstrating PAM capabilities allowing privileged users to have efficient andsecure access to the systems they manage. They also ensure that audit and compliance requirements are met, provide secure and streamlined way to authorize and monitor all privileged users forall relevant systems.

More about Patecco Services for PAM implementation, check out in the report below:

PATECCO PAM Services