How can your business ensure consistent and widespread privileged account security in your IT infrastructure? Why does it matter to your overall cybersecurity policies and platforms?
Privilege account security might prove the most essential component of business cybersecurity, regardless of the business’ size. After all, each privileged account possesses unique power within your enterprise’s network.
For example, they can access the back ends of critical systems and authorizes the development or configuration of new systems. Moreover, some privileged accounts can create or destroy other users’ accounts or even elevate credentials to privileged status.
Therefore, hackers prioritize subverting or stealing privileged users’ credentials above any other targets. If any threat actor gets their hands on one of your privileged credentials, they could not only steal your sensitive data—they could disrupt your workflows severely.
Yet while enterprise IT infrastructures grow in complexity, plenty of businesses still try to manage their privileged account security. In fact, some of them still use spreadsheets to try to keep track of their superusers.
Thankfully, privileged access management (PAM) can help your organization maintain your privileged access security. Here’s how:
How Can You Ensure Privileged Account Security (Through PAM)?
Discover Your Privileged Accounts
Let’s examine a few critical questions for your business’ IT security, regardless of its size:
- Who in your enterprise possesses a privileged account?
- What kinds of access do these privileged accounts actually have?
- Where do you store your privileged accounts?
- Can you see how your privileged users act and interact on your network?
Of course, these are far from idle questions. With the advent of both cloud and mobile devices, visibility over superusers becomes both more critical and more difficult; each new location creates a potential hiding spot for new credentials. Additionally, you need to consider whether third-parties may hold privileged access in your network. Don’t forget: applications and databases can also possess privileged accounts.
Enforce the Principle of Least Privilege
PAM solutions help your business enforce common rules and policies regarding the creation, maintenance, and destruction of new accounts. For all of these processes, privileged access management can enforce the Principle of Least Privilege.
The Principle of Least Privilege states that users can only have the permissions necessary for their immediate job positions. If they need permissions beyond their job roles, then they should only receive temporary permissions which the solution revokes automatically.
This prevents privileged accounts from becoming bloated and thus prime targets for theft or internal abuse.
Maintaining Strong, Consistent Authentication Policies
First, PAM solutions help to rotate passwords on a regular basis automatically; this helps your organization stay in compliance. Additionally, this helps to change service account passwords and default passwords, avoiding potential pitfalls. The more diverse the passwords you use, the less likely hackers can find a weak one to exploit.
Second, almost all PAM solutions deploy multifactor authentication. Privileged account security depends on a diversity of authentication steps to secure each user; the more obstacles between the access request and the granting of access, the less likely hackers can get through. In fact, multifactor authentication can deter hackers from bothering to target your business in the first place.
Finally, PAM solutions centralize privileged accounts in a vault and monitor and record their activities through session monitoring. These solutions help maintain visibility over your most sensitive users even as the infrastructure expands and becomes complex.
In short, you need PAM to help your privileged account security efforts. To learn more, be sure to check our Privileged Access Management Buyer’s Guide.
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