Why Privileged Access Management is Important & Crucial for all Businesses

12.07.2019 14:44

The number of reported instances of data breaches in different organizations increases with each passing day.

Businesses are feeling the frustrations that follow such occurrences. In 2019 during the World Economic Forum, cyber attacks and data breaches ranked fourth and fifth respectively for two consecutive years as the globe’s most dangerous risks.

A practical case is of Cebuana, the leading non-banking financial services firm in the Philippines where over 900,000 clients were affected by the data breach on 19 January. According to the financial institution, this figure represented only 3% of its total clientele at the time of the incident. There are several other cases like Marriott International’s 500 million guests’ data breach and Toyota data breaches in Thailand and Vietnam.

Cyber attacks are proving to be a major challenge to most organizations today.

With proper cybersecurity solution in place, an organization stands a chance against attacks by malicious individuals.

Privileged access management (PAM) remains a crucial element in the security infrastructure for all organizations as it offers solutions and benefits useful for defense against data threats from an internal environment like disgruntled employees and external threats from data spies and untrustworthy consultants.

Privileged Access’ entails access to networks and network devices, computers, digital files, different software applications, and other digital resources that system administrators, and service account users have. This access gives more administrative rights at the top compared to those of standard business users. Privileged access is usually the most targeted aspect of a business by cyber threats since they have the most valuable and confidential information, like customer identities, financial information, and personally identifiable information.

According to Gartner, an international research and consultative company that provides information and advice for businesses in Information Technology, data security, and legal compliance-PAM is, for the second year in a row, the most important security project.

With privileged access management, companies can solve all potential threats that might target their data. Here’s why PAM should come first for any business.

PAM Enhances Faster Recovery from Cyber Attacks

In the event of a cyber-attack, Privileged Access Management solution allows you to quickly review privileged access sessions and precisely trace back user’s actions.

Well-designed PAM software has provisions for access restriction to more sensitive systems, as they request for additional approval processes, prompts multi-factor authentication for confidential accounts and quickly recreate all passwords in a bid to prevent further access by hackers. PAM further help to compare a baseline to prior and after the incident, which allows you to quickly find out the privileged accounts that might have been compromised. This is a sure way of recovering and maintaining the integrity of your privileged accounts.

With PAM, you get to be back to business almost immediately after a major cyber incident!

PAM Solutions Enables Fast Track to Compliance

Almost every organization has to abide by the industry and government laws, which can often be a big challenge for the chief information security officer (CISO) to know where to begin the implementation of the process. Especially, regulations such as PCI, ISO 27002, Cyber Essentials and or the NIST Framework all come with strong standards of security control directives for access controls. With Privileged Access Management, CISO can move forward quickly and develop a stable baseline.

So that you comply with the standards of these organizations that handle regulations, you must 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 an organization to take control of the management and monitor the security of privileged accounts to meet the standards of the access control demands for a good number of the industry regulations.

It explains why Privileged Access Management is vital for the organizations’ need to fast track their way towards becoming compliant.

Other than Data Security, PAM Safeguards your wallet and increases productivity

The majority of cybersecurity solutions only minimizes risk; it turns out that most organizations spend a considerable amount of money on security solutions that generally add no extra value to the business.

A right PAM solution can greatly reduce privileged accounts administration efforts and the sheer fact that users’ are monitored increases their productivity. Implementing PAM safeguards access to sensitive systems and files which reduces the risk of compromise through disclosed passwords. Besides, PAM minimizes cyber fatigue and make simple the process of regeneration of new complex passwords.

All these save the employee’s valuable time, which directly results in cost savings for the company.

Monitoring and Recording of Privileged User Sessions and Why It’s Important

Administrative users need privileged account access in their daily roles for the maintenance of systems, perform upgrades, and fix different issues. Sometimes, these users abuse their privileges for unauthorized access to sensitive data, which might result in damages to the Information Technology environment. To prevent misapplication of privileges by the users, and further detect malicious activities in the system, organizations should record and monitor all privileged sessions.

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. Furthermore, session monitoring and recording enable for hackerproof storage of searchable audit logs which prevent privileged users from deleting their history or even editing them.

From the stored audit logs, security and audit teams review the recordings and audit logs to identify the precise moment an event occurred and determine the scope and severity of the matter.

Importance of privileged session monitoring and recording

  • Prevents authorized users from abusing privileges
  • Real-time tracking of sessions allows security teams to avoid malicious activities as they occur
  • Fully indexed content enables audit teams to fast-track and locates specific incidents to understand the exact reason and time an event happened plus the perpetrator
  • Timestamping recorded sessions ensures that the material has not been tampered with making it a solid evidence