Today, we examine what privileged access management offers businesses. According to a critical study by Centrify, 74 percent of respondents whose enterprise suffered a breach said it involved a privileged account. Therefore, you need to guard your privileged users and your key credentials with extreme prejudice. Traditional identity and access management won’t provide the capabilities you need to protect your superusers (and often enough your regular users as well).
So here’s what you need instead. These offerings represent the key capabilities of privileged access management solutions for businesses.
What Privileged Access Management Offers Businesses
A critical component of Privileged Access Management, credential vaulting secures login information in the digital equivalent of a safe. In other words, it keeps passwords in a secure, encrypted database so that only authorized users can access the passwords via a master credential. Additionally, password vaults maintain encryption even as users call upon them, automatically enabling them to log in securely.
Of course, one of the critical challenges facing businesses is a failure to rotate passwords. According to OneLogin, 63 percent fail to implement password rotation policies; every stagnated password could represent a potential entryway into your network. By keeping them unique and fresh, hackers will struggle to crack or guess them.
Privileged access management offers password rotation, which you can schedule according to your business’ workflows. Ideally, you should initiate password rotations every six months, but you could also do so every three months (even more secure) or every year (less intrusive).
Delegation of Privileges (Principle of Least Privilege)
Decentralization is the name of the game when defining success in privileged access. The more you can delegate privileges and prevent them from consolidating under a single user, the more secure your enterprise. Therefore, next-generation privileged access management solutions operate under the Principle of Least Privilege.
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. Privileged access management also offers controlled escalation of privileges so that in the event you need to give a user more privileges, you can enact limitations.
Privileged access management offers data loss prevention through session monitoring. This helps track the activities of the superusers in your network, recording their data interactions and communications in the course of their workflows.
Additionally, session monitoring 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.
Often, privileged access management also bolsters security investigations by offering visualizations and a step-by-step walkthrough of activities.
Here’s the truth about passwords: they just can’t compete. Not with external hackers nor with other authentication factors. Motivated hackers could easily just guess users’ passwords or security questions from freely available information on social media. Otherwise, they could purchase a password cracker from the Dark Web for cheap (and enjoy the malicious equivalent of tech support). If users repeat their passwords, as often occurs, then hackers could use a previous breach to launch an attack on your enterprise, creating a cascading effect.
Worse, in a single-factor authentication policy (i.e. like most enterprises use), passwords form the only line of defense. Once a threat actor gets past it, that’s it.
Privileged access management offers multifactor authentication (MFA) to help circumvent this problem. It operates by simply imposing more factors between the access request and the requested database; each factor deters and deflects more attackers. Additionally, many of the factors can operate passively, evaluating the legitimacy of the access request through geofencing and behavioral biometrics.
Moreover, Privileged Access Management offers continuous authentication, which ensures users don’t exploit their privileges after the initial login. Obviously, this bolsters multifactor authentication by ensuring that even if hackers log into your network, they cannot act without triggering security alerts.
How to Learn More About What Privileged Access Management Offers
Check out our free Privileged Access Management Buyer’s Guide. We cover the top solution providers and share more details on key capabilities.
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