In today’s world, where the theft of privileged credentials causes roughly 80% of security breaches, it is critical that employees understand how those accounts can be stolen. Implementing a Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution is one of the most important steps organizations may take to secure their systems.
A privileged account is a type of account that has more extensive privileges than standard user accounts. Certain users may have special account privileges within the company to execute critical business activities like resetting user passwords, making changes to IT systems, and accessing confidential information. Therefore, if these accounts are stolen, the firm may be placed at a lot of risks.
Organizations may use a robust PAM solution to ensure that those who require privileged access are provided with it while also protecting critical business systems from harmful cyber assaults.
This blog shares the top five reasons to implement privileged user monitoring system into your business-
Who are privileged users?
The essential workers/members of an organization are privileged users. Privileged users are employees that have access to all of the organization’s critical information. These users are often seen as more at risk of an attack than other types of employees due to the higher access level they have, which means they would be more likely to cause damage if attacked.
Privileged users are often IT staff members like system administrators or equivalent, but not always. For example, a tech support analyst with access to client data may be considered a privileged user.
A study carried out by Cyber-Ark in 2015 showed that privileged users are a significant vulnerability for companies as over 60% of employees interviewed admitted to sharing their login credentials with colleagues.
An organization is at risk of losing sensitive data by not implementing proper measures such as background checks, privileged user monitoring, and ongoing vulnerability assessments on privileged users.
Thus, the most important thing for organizations is to have a proper authentication system in place to maximize the security of their most important information. What are such systems called? Privileged Access Management (PAM). It is also crucial that all privileged users are aware of what they can and cannot do.
Let’s check about privileged access management in the next section-
Know about Privileged access management (PAM)
Privileged access management uses a set of security controls to limit and monitor access to privileged accounts.
Privileged accounts are those that have administrative rights on a specific resource and therefore require strict protection. Some examples of systems requiring privilege management include Unix/Linux, Windows NT/XP, MacOSX, Linux File Systems (NFS).
In general, privileged access entails working with the organization’s data autonomously and taking specific actions on behalf of the company. An example would be reading from a customer’s account without needing approval from a manager.
PAM systems typically deal with six facets:
- Authentication requests or identification credentials.
- Authorizing events through requests for consent.
- Object attribute verification by way of administrative privileges.
- Authorization events through requests for consent.
- Managing risk in performing processes and delegating privileges when needed.
The technologies used in PAM vary depending on the size and type of organization. The larger the company, the more complicated and diverse the technology systems will be. For example, if a company has multiple sites, it may use a cloud-based system across its entire network.
PAM is then used to manage and govern access privileges related to privileged accounts that cybercriminals can exploit in data breaches.
Why do businesses need privileged access management? Read the following section to know why privileged access management is a must for any business.
Top 5 reasons to understand the importance of privileged access management (PAM)
1. Prevent data breaches
Privileged users are targeted by cybercriminals who use them to access an organization’s most valuable information. Without adequate controls in place, privileged users can act as an entry point for hackers. Making sure that privileged users are monitored is necessary to ensure that privileged credentials are not misused.
Privileged access management can prevent attackers from using their access tokens against the organization to gain unauthorized access by monitoring how those privileges are used and restricting activities accordingly to maintain confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical systems.
2. Comply with regulations
Regulations such as PCI-DSS and HIPAA require organizations to monitor privileged user accounts. Failure to do so can place the organization at risk of non-compliance fines and penalties and loss of critical data or systems. These regulations specify the need to monitor privileged user accounts for unusual activity, which can be done using privileged access management solutions.
Monitoring privileges allows an organization to continuously collect data about what level of access and how those users access systems and information. This information can be used to meet the policies and procedures outlined in regulatory compliance initiatives.
3. Enable collaboration between business units
Privileged access management enables organizations to define specific rights for users, groups of users, or departments in an effective manner.
For example, your development team may need higher privileges than other teams within your department. Using a privileged access management solution will allow you to give only your development team members the required amount of access.
Without adequate software development tracking controls, someone without a need-to-know may have increased access levels which could be used against the organization. Do you need any developer tracking software?
4. Security against privileged account attacks
Know who’s doing what to protect critical data and systems. Cybercriminals are constantly targeting privileged users with malware because they know that if they gain access to a privileged user account, they can get full system administrator access which gives them complete control.
In fact, recent research found that 63 percent of phishing emails used credentials from other breached accounts and that 50 percent of malware samples were being delivered via command-and-control servers controlled by attackers.
A majority of breaches are preceded by privilege escalation. By implementing privilege monitoring, organizations can detect suspicious activity associated with obtaining elevated privileges. Security solutions often detect unauthorized access attempts due to anomalous behavior.
Once identified, these irregularities are used to track down the source of the potential attack and mitigate it before significant damage is done.
5. Reduce IT overhead
Most privileged access management solutions provide a central console to make management and monitoring of privilege activity easy. This provides visibility across large organizations and distributed environments with many databases and applications.
By implementing privileged access management that is highly automated, organizations can free up system administrators from time-consuming tasks such as auditing, group membership changes, etc., allowing them to focus on more important activities such as system troubleshooting and the installation of new systems.
In addition, privileged access management offers a single control point to identify potentially risky user behavior, which reduces the need for other tools such as SIEMs.
Which can be the ideal tool for privileged access management (PAM)?
There are several potential tools for managing privileged access, but one excellent option is WorkStatus. Why WorkStatus? WorkStatus is the perfect tool for privileged access management. It is quick and easy with a high degree of reliability to restrict what you need for every user and monitor and track access rights in real-time.
It provides a cloud-based solution that can be customized to fit your organization’s exact requirements. Its employee activity monitoring solutions include automation and workflow capabilities that enable better monitoring and tracking of the evolution of administrative privileges within an organization.
Furthermore, this suite also features a range of security features designed to protect data by acting like a complete set of built-in Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools across your entire infrastructure, including at the device level with Data Ingress Prevention (DIPP). The platform also features multi factor authentication as well as password strength requirements so your data stays safe at all times.
Managing privileged access is an essential component of a company’s overall identity governance plan. With a strong PAM solution, organizations can be confident that privileged access is being provided to those who need it while preventing their systems from vulnerable assaults that might jeopardize their business.
When PAM is integrated with your access management system, you can implement a cohesive management approach for all personnel, regardless of role or level of access. With such integration, users can request privileged and standard access using the same procedure, saving time while lowering the complexity of safeguarding all user identities.
WorkStatus is a leader in providing top-notch PAM services with intelligent privileged account monitoring and real-time tracking solutions, enabling users to manage privileged and regular accounts effectively.
Well!! That’s it for today! If we forgot to mention anything important, please tell us in the comment section.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ques. Why is privileged access management important?
Ans. Privileged access management allows organizations to track and audit everything done on privileged accounts quickly. It provides excellent visibility and real-time tracking, so you know when unauthorized actions are being attempted before they have caused significant damages.
Ques. What is the importance of a privileged account?
Ans. A privileged account has more access than standard user accounts. Privileged accounts, for example, might be able to install or remove software, upgrade the operating system, or modify system and application settings.
Ques. What is privileged access monitoring?
Ans. User accounts with elevated privileges, such as domain administrators or root accounts, are examples of privileged user accounts. Organizations can use privileged user monitoring (PUM) to secure critical assets, satisfy regulations, and minimize external and insider risks.