Privileged Access Management (PAM) allows businesses to streamline the authorization of privileged users by offering protection against inadvertent or intentional misuse of privileged access.
PAM can dismantle numerous checkpoints of the cyberattack chain by offering solid protection against attacks within the network or externally. Here are a few ways how PAM can subsidize cyber-threats in an organization.
Limits Attack Surface and Minimizes Malware Propagation
While organizations lack complete visibility into the privileged accounts, whether on-premises or in the cloud, the privileged user represents a prominent attack surface in the IT infrastructure.
Cyber-attackers eye these accounts to steal finances, disrupt workflows and shut down the IT environment abruptly. PAM secures the most solid and robust users limiting the attack surface rapidly by tracking privileged access from a single location. Simultaneously, it can diminish the indirect attack surface by implementing the Principle of Least Privilege while monitoring and recording sessions to increase the visibility into privileged account activity. This ensures that the accounts don’t go beyond the permissions independently while allowing access to the data relevant to the user’s position.
Raun Nohavitza, CIO at Delinea says, “Threats have also expanded to the cloud, where privileged identities are plentiful and powerful. When an organization uses a modern PAM solution to implement the least privilege and appropriate escalation, an external attacker can do far less with a compromised identity, and lateral movement is restricted.”
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Restricts Credential Sharing
For convenience, numerous administrator accounts are shared across multiple users that utilize the same password across multiple systems. These inadequate practices make it impossible to determine the actions taken by specific individuals that not only maximize an organization’s security risk, but also demonstrate compliance issues with regulatory mandates.
Nohavitza adds, ‘When PAM provides credential management tools such as vaulting and rotation, an internal actor is always monitored. The best solution integrates remote access directly with PAM, providing systems access to only authorized users without ever letting them know the credentials.”
PAM ensures that every user uses unique login credentials to help businesses guard against these risks. It also empowers the utilization of strong passwords that mandates routine-based amendments based on the degree of sensitivity of the user account. Additionally, PAM lets administrators set a single sign-on (SSO) authentication to hide passwords and ensure adequate password strength each time valuable assets are accessed.
Controls Access in One Location
Organizations optimize privileged accounts and credentials by utilizing inconsistent enforcement practices. These inconsistencies complicate the management, with increased subjective risks to the accounts. PAM helps businesses to manage privileged accounts from a suitable central location irrespective of the platform, hardware device, application, or services being utilized.
A robust centralized access management solution assists organizations in monitoring which users and groups have access to the confidential system with sensitive data maintaining controlled access over the permissions for each user account. This allows businesses to streamline the management process. A crucial part of an organization’s overall identity governance strategy is the robust management of privileged access. PAM assures protection against harmful system attacks that can compromise the company’s sensitive information.
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“A flexible PAM solution can be applied to both infrastructure / directory-level identities as well as workload identities. And because it inherently restricts an attacker’s ability to hop from one identity to another, PAM can help prevent automated threats as well, which use such methods to find and infect systems with malware,” opines Nohavitza.
Integration of PAM with a broader identity and access management system can help create a unified governance approach for all employees, irrespective of the user’s role and level of access. It also enables users to request, provision, and stay true to privileged and standard user access utilizing similar processes saving time, and minimizing complexities.
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