Privileged Access Management and Data Loss Prevention

Privileged Access Management and Data Loss Prevention

How do privileged access management and data loss prevention overlap? What can privileged access management provide in terms of capabilities to prevent bad actors from obtaining sensitive data?

Often, IT decision-makers consider PAM solutions in terms of authentication, whether during the login stage or through continuous authentication. Granted, this still matters to modern cybersecurity; single-factor authentication from legacy identity management solutions (usually in the form of passwords) prove notoriously easy to crack. Hackers could use social media feed to guess passwords or security questions or buy cheap cracking software from the Dark Web. Moreover, single-factor authentication rarely provides continuous authentication, which can help ensure that hackers that do bypass the login portal can’t operate without triggering alerts.  

Privileged access management solutions, on the other hand, provide multifactor authentication; this creates multiple barriers between access request and database, which helps keep external actors out. Additionally, PAM solutions offer continuous authentication through tools like behavioral biometrics. 

However, privileged access management does more than provide authentication. In fact, it often overlaps with Data Loss Prevention (DLP), a critical endpoint security capability. Here’s how. 

Privileged Access Management and Data Loss Prevention

The Principle of Least Privilege

The Principle of Least Privilege occupies a unique place in privileged access management solutions. On the one hand, it isn’t technically a capability in and of itself. Instead, the Principle of Least Privilege represents a guiding philosophy for managing the most powerful credentials in your network. On the other hand, the Principle proves essential to enacting optimal privileged access management and data loss prevention. 

Here’s how: the Principle of Least Privilege states that users should only possess limited permissions. In fact, they should only have the permissions they absolutely need to perform their day-to-day workflows. If they possess any other privileges, their credentials constitute an immediate security vulnerability to your business.

After all, the less each account can access in your network, the more limited hackers become in their attacks if they obtain the credentials. Of course, the opposite also holds true; if a hacker obtains credentials with more power, the damage they can wreak expands exponentially, as does the data they could steal. 

Therefore, you need the Principle of Least Privilege for full data loss prevention; it keeps sensitive data in databases only accessible to a select few, performing greater security.

Session Monitoring

PAM solutions also enforce data loss prevention through session monitoring, a critical capability in identity security. This helps track the activities of the superusers in your network, recording their data interactions and communications. Additionally, it helps to normalize the monitoring data and visualize it for easy tracking and investigation. Therefore, your IT security team can monitor critical databases and watch for unusual activities; moreover, it helps ensure that data doesn’t leave your network without authorization and if it does leave where it goes and who sends it. 

In other words, Session Monitoring keeps an extra pair of eyes on your digital assets. In cybersecurity, you can never have too many eyes out. 

Privileged Credentials Discovery

Privileged access management solutions generally help enterprises with their onboarding and offboarding processes. While both represent critical processes, offboarding is actually more important. Many enterprises struggle with removing privileged credentials promptly, and even delaying the offboarding a day can leave your business vulnerable. Hackers or disgruntled employees can take advantage of orphaned accounts and use them to steal or maliciously relocate data. 

Thankfully, most modern PAM solutions prevent this kind of data loss prevention through privileged credential discovery. This can help your enterprise find any orphaned accounts and then remove them, closing the vulnerabilities. 

How to Learn More About PAM Data Loss Prevention

Check out the free Privileged Access Management Buyer’s Guide. We cover the top providers and their key capabilities in detail. 

Ben Canner

Ben Canner is an enterprise technology writer and analyst covering Identity Management, SIEM, Endpoint Protection, and Cybersecurity writ large. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He previously worked as a corporate blogger and ghost writer. You can reach him via Twitter and LinkedIn.
Ben Canner