Privileged Access Management (PAM) Capability Guide

By   ISBuzz Staff
Editorial Team , Information Security Buzz | Dec 26, 2022 05:27 am PST

Privileged access management (PAM) is a critical security solution that helps organizations control and monitors the use of privileged access to critical systems, data, and resources. PAM solutions provide strong authentication, authorization, and auditing controls to ensure that only authorized users are able to access critical systems, data, and resources and that their actions are properly monitored and logged.

A recent study by Centrify discovered that 74% of data breaches involved access to privileged accounts. According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, over 80% of hacker breaches use brute force or the use of lost or stolen credentials. In this guide, we will discuss the main features and benefits of PAM, the common threats and risks faced by organizations that do not implement PAM and the leading vendors and products in the PAM market.

What Is Privileged Access Management (PAM)?

Privileged access management (PAM) refers to the set of processes, technologies, and best practices that organizations use to control and monitor the use of privileged access to critical systems, data, and resources. Privileged access refers to any access that is granted to users based on their role, position, or authority within the organization and that allows them to perform tasks or access resources that are not available to the general user population.

Examples Of Privileged Access Include:

  • Administrator accounts:

    These are special accounts used to manage and maintain systems and networks and have the highest level of access and privileges.
  • Root accounts:

    These are special accounts that are used to access and control a device’s underlying operating system and have the highest level of access and privileges.
  • Service accounts:

    These are accounts that are used to run specific services or applications and that have the privileges and permissions required to access the resources needed by those services or applications.       

  • Application accounts:

    These are accounts that are used to access specific applications or databases and that have the privileges and permissions required to perform specific tasks within those applications or databases.

PAM Solutions Typically Include The Following Features And Capabilities:

PAM solutions offer protection by lowering the risk of credential theft by keeping the login information for privileged administrative accounts in a secure repository. Users must go through an authentication process in order to access these credentials, which records their access to the account. Organizations can clearly see who is logging into which accounts and where they are coming from thanks to this method, which makes it easier for them to keep an eye out for any questionable or possibly harmful activities, both internal and external.

  • Authentication:

    PAM solutions provide strong authentication methods, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), to ensure that only authorized users are able to access privileged accounts and resources.
  • Authorization:

    PAM solutions enforce role-based access controls (RBAC) to ensure that users are only able to access the systems, data, and resources that they are authorized to access based on their roles and responsibilities within the organization.
  • Auditing:

    PAM solutions provide detailed logging and auditing capabilities to track and monitor the use of privileged accounts and resources and to detect and alert potential threats or abuses.
  • Password management:

    PAM solutions provide secure password management and rotation capabilities to ensure that privileged accounts have strong and unique passwords and to prevent password reuse and sharing.
  • Session management:

    PAM solutions provide session management capabilities to ensure that all privileged access sessions are properly authenticated, authorized, and monitored and to prevent unauthorized access or privilege escalation.

Benefits of PAM:

There are many benefits to implementing a PAM solution, including:

  • Improved security:

PAM solutions help to reduce the risk of unauthorized access, misuse, or abuse of privileged accounts and resources, which can significantly improve an organization’s overall security posture.

  • Improved compliance:

Many regulatory and industry standards, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and NIST 800-53, require organizations to implement PAM to protect against unauthorized access and misuse of privileged accounts. By implementing PAM, organizations can ensure compliance with these standards and avoid financial penalties.

  • Improved operational efficiency:

PAM solutions can help to streamline and automate many of the tasks associated with managing and securing privileged access, including password management, session management, and auditing. This can help to reduce the workload of IT and security teams and improves the efficiency of operations.

  • Enhanced user experience:

PAM solutions can help to improve the user experience by providing users with secure and convenient access to the systems and resources they need to do their jobs while also protecting against unauthorized access and privilege escalation.

Common Threats and Risks of not implementing the solution:

Without PAM, organizations may be exposed to the following threats and risks:

  • Insider threats:

    Employees with privileged access to critical systems and data may accidentally or intentionally misuse their privileges, leading to data breaches, loss of intellectual property, or damage to systems and networks.
  • Cyber-attack:

    Hackers may target privileged accounts and credentials to gain unauthorized access to sensitive systems and data, leading to data breaches, ransomware attacks, and other forms of cybercrime.
  • Compliance risks:

    Many regulatory and industry standards require organizations to implement PAM to protect against unauthorized access and misuse of privileged accounts. Failure to implement PAM may result in non-compliance and financial penalties.

Leading Vendors:

There are many vendors offering PAM solutions, and the best solution for your organization will depend on your specific needs and requirements. Here are some leading PAM vendors and their products:

1. Lieberman Software: 

Lieberman Software is a cybersecurity vendor that offers a range of security solutions, including Enterprise Random Password Manager, a PAM solution that helps organizations secure and manages privileged accounts and credentials. 

Enterprise Random Password Manager provides strong authentication, password management, and auditing capabilities and can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment. 

2. BeyondTrust: 

BeyondTrust is a cybersecurity vendor that offers a range of security solutions, including PowerBroker Privileged Access Management, a PAM solution that helps organizations secure and manage privileged accounts and credentials. 

PowerBroker Privileged Access Management provides strong authentication, authorization, and auditing capabilities and can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment. 

3. Centrify: 

Centrify is a cybersecurity vendor that offers a range of security solutions, including Centrify Privileged Access Management, a PAM solution that helps organizations secure and manage privileged accounts and credentials. Centrify Privileged Access Management provides strong authentication, authorization, and auditing capabilities and is delivered as a cloud service. 

4. CyberArk

CyberArk is a cybersecurity vendor that offers a range of security solutions, including CyberArk Privileged Access Security, a PAM solution that helps organizations secure and manage privileged accounts and credentials. CyberArk Privileged Access Security provides strong authentication, authorization, and auditing capabilities and can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment. 

5. One Identity: 

One Identity is a cybersecurity vendor that offers a range of security solutions, including One Identity Safeguard, a PAM solution that helps organizations secure and manages privileged accounts and credentials. One Identity Safeguard provides strong authentication, authorization, and auditing capabilities and is delivered as a cloud service or as a hybrid solution. 

6. Dome9: 

Dome9 is a cybersecurity vendor that offers a range of security solutions, including Dome9 Arc, a PAM solution that helps organizations secure and manages privileged accounts and credentials. Dome9 Arc provides strong authentication, authorization, and auditing capabilities and is delivered as a cloud service. 

7. Thycotic: 

Thycotic is a cybersecurity vendor that offers a range of security solutions, including Thycotic Secret Server, a PAM solution that helps organizations secure and manages privileged accounts and credentials. Thycotic Secret Server provides strong authentication, password management, and auditing capabilities and can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment.

 

Vendor

Product Features

Delivery Model

Lieberman Software

Enterprise Random Password Manager

On-premises, cloud, hybrid

BeyondTrust

PowerBroker Privileged Access Management

On-premises, cloud, hybrid

Centrify

Centrify Privileged Access Management

Cloud, hybrid

CyberArk

CyberArk Privileged Access Security

On-premises, cloud, hybrid

One Identity

One Identity Safeguard

Cloud, hybrid

Dome9

Dome9 Arc

Cloud

Thycotic

Thycotic Secret Server

On-premises, cloud, hybrid

Key considerations when selecting a PAM solution:

There are several key factors that organizations should consider when selecting a PAM solution, including their specific security and compliance requirements, their IT infrastructure and environment, and their budget and resources. Some other factors to consider include the following:

  • Integration with existing systems and processes:

It is important to ensure that the PAM solution can seamlessly integrate with the organization’s existing systems and processes and that it does not disrupt existing workflows or require significant changes to existing infrastructure.

  • Scalability:

The PAM solution should be able to scale to meet the organization’s current and future needs and should be able to support a large number of users and systems.

  • Ease of deployment and maintenance:

The PAM solution should be easy to deploy and maintain, with minimal impact on IT resources and time.

  • Support and training:

The vendor should provide comprehensive support and training to ensure that the organization is able to implement and use the PAM solution effectively.

  • The total cost of ownership (TCO):

The TCO of the PAM solution should be considered, including upfront costs, ongoing maintenance, and support costs, and any other related costs.

  • Reducing the risk of data breaches and Cyber-attacks:

 PAM solutions can help to reduce the risk of data breaches and Cyber-attack s by controlling and monitoring the use of privileged accounts and credentials and by enforcing strong authentication, authorization, and auditing controls.

  • Ensuring compliance with regulatory and industry standards:

PAM solutions can help organizations ensure compliance with regulatory and industry standards, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and NIST 800-53, that require the protection of privileged accounts and credentials.

  • Improving operational efficiency:

PAM solutions can help organizations streamline and automate many of the tasks associated with managing and securing privileged access, which can improve operational efficiency and reduce the workload of IT and security teams.

  • Enhancing user experience:

PAM solutions can help to improve the user experience by providing users with secure and convenient access to the systems and resources they need to do their jobs while also protecting against unauthorized access and privilege escalation.

  • Use cases and best practices for PAM:

There are many different use cases and best practices for implementing PAM, depending on the specific needs and requirements of the organization. 

Final Words

    Privileged access management (PAM) is a critical security solution that helps organizations control and monitors the use of privileged access to critical systems, data, and resources. By implementing PAM, organizations can reduce the risk of unauthorized access, misuse, or abuse of privileged accounts and credentials and improve their overall security posture, compliance, and operational efficiency. Many vendors are offering PAM solutions, and the best solution for your organization will depend on your specific needs and requirements.

     

     

     

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