What are the top five benefits of privileged access management? How do enterprises benefit from PAM solutions?
On the surface, it’s easy to understand the benefits of privileged access management (PAM). All you need to understand, so the logic goes, are the key capabilities of this essential cybersecurity solution.
Privileged access management provides identity management for the most powerful users within your IT environment. Usually, this includes storing privileged credentials in a secure vault, enacting specific authentication processes for privileged users, and monitoring for suspicious behaviors.
However, knowing these key capabilities doesn’t translate to a full understanding of the benefits of privileged access management. The jargon can create challenges when it comes to finding and selecting a solution. Without this understanding, it can become easy to neglect your cybersecurity and your identity management.
Let’s cut through the technical language and the abstract capabilities and look at the 5 top benefits of privileged access management.
The Top 5 Benefits of Privileged Access Management
Visibility is the true heart of cybersecurity. The old maxim in identity management and InfoSec circles goes “you can’t protect what you can’t see.” This maxim is steeped in truth; without accurate and comprehensive monitoring capabilities, you can’t enforce best practices on your privileged users. How can you be sure that they are operating in a secure manner? Have they become insider threats without realizing it? Alternatively, have their accounts been compromised or their credentials stolen?
Visibility can speed investigation times and remediation efforts. Every second you save can help mitigate the damage of an attack.
2. Discovering Orphaned Accounts
One of the major issues with legacy cybersecurity and identity management stems from onboarding and offboarding. Improper onboarding can delay workflows and stymie efficiency. Meanwhile, improper offboarding can lead to future cyber-attacks and credential attacks. If your IT security team cannot fully remove a privileged account after the user leaves the business, it leaves a hole in your digital perimeter.
Orphaned accounts occur when a privileged account lingers in the network for any amount of time without a user. If hackers get their hands on these accounts, your enterprise could suffer an attack without even realizing it.
One of the benefits of privileged access management is finding and removing orphaned accounts.
One of the most mundane but necessary components of cybersecurity considerations for the modern enterprise involves compliance. Nearly every business in every industry and of every size has compliance mandates, both governmental and industrial. Failing to meet these compliance standards puts your enterprise in serious trouble, with heavy fines and legal woes to follow.
In the current digital era, compliance has shifted to include cybersecurity and identity management provisions. Consumer and data privacy mandates are strict and carry substantial fines for failure. PAM solutions offer another layer of protection that can help you meet those standards.
4. Limiting the Attack Surface
Privileged users represent one of the most prominent attack surfaces in your IT environment. Hackers prize and target privileged accounts above almost any other digital targets; after all, privileged accounts open doors not available through other targets and victims. These accounts can steal finances, disrupt workflows, and shut down the IT environment, sometimes all at the same time.
Privileged access management protects the most powerful users, limiting the attack surface directly. Moreover, it can limit the indirect attack surface by implementing the Principle of Least Privilege, ensuring that accounts can’t escalate their permissions independently and that privileged accounts can only access data relevant to their jobs.
5. Reducing Malware Propagation
At the end of the day, cybersecurity focuses on reducing malware propagation. Privileged access management helps stop hackers from using privileged accounts to spread their malware to the most remote parts of the IT environment; they’re the most ideal nodes to propagate attacks.
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