Privileged Access Management is Still a Top Concern

It seems like every week news breaks of another customer data breach. It’s nearly impossible to mentally keep track of every incident — but almost every one of them has the same root cause: thievery of privileged accounts and passwords.

The preferred strategy for most hackers is the compromising of credentials. Once the account privileges are compromised, attackers can gain authorized access into internal systems and often go undetected for long periods of time. They typically acquire (steal) these privileged credentials using social engineering tactics through various email and browser-based phishing techniques. While inside, these criminals are able to conduct data exfiltration, disrupt processes or even lay the foundation for a larger-scale attack.

The importance of privileged accounts

Let’s break this down. Privileged accounts are some of the primary building blocks of the IT environment. They are used by humans, applications and services to accomplish all sorts of tasks. These capabilities require elevated credentials. Access to these accounts (gained with the elevated credentials) empowers the user with controls and permissions, including the ability to modify other accounts, remotely operate machines in the network, change the critical network infrastructure and steal sensitive data.

Control of a privileged account gives the attacker a massive foothold in an organization’s internal system. Armed with the access and resulting privileges, attackers can bypass security controls and install malware within the network. With this access, hackers can also mask their activity by erasing audit trails and removing evidence — extending the time they can stay disguised and decreasing their likelihood of being caught.

The ability to protect these privileged accounts from being compromised can make the difference between a minor network intrusion and a breach that devastates the organization. Shockingly, despite all the data-loss catastrophes over the past few years, organizations and their IT users are still often careless in their handling of privileged accounts.

This is why Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions are such a necessity. These tools make it much easier to govern access to privileged accounts and can be used to monitor and limit active sessions to prevent misuse.

Disputing the legacy narrative

Unfortunately, many IT leaders feel skeptical toward PAM tools. They assume these tools are expensive, they are frustrated by the complexity and they are repulsed by the resource-heavy reputation. These decision makers and their users are not entirely misguided. Many of them have dealt with legacy security software and there have been several PAM products to come and go that were a hassle for daily users, a burden on resources and required too much of a time and financial investment.

But this is no longer the case — or at least not always. There are affordable, low-maintenance, lightweight PAM solutions available to organizations of all sizes. You just have to find the right ones.

Alternatives are no longer effective in safeguarding privileged accounts. Reinforcing the perimeter defenses can only do so much when the infiltrator has the access credentials. It does not matter how tall, how thick or how strong a wall is if someone already knows how to get through the gate.

Embracing PAM security

As organizations increasingly employ remote workers and privacy restrictions limit organizational oversight, the attack surface continues to grow. PAM security solutions are essential. In case your IT leaders are unaware, all they have to do is Google “data breach” and they will be reminded of the countless incidents stemming from stolen credentials.

Adoption of a PAM solution is critical to securing an organization, but so is establishing a solid foundation from within. This includes an evaluation and analysis of the organization’s privileged accounts, identifying what they are and what they allow access to in order to gain full-scope perspective for the organization’s security needs. Once the amount and specifics of these accounts are known, policies and distributed responsibilities have to be established. Also important in constructing the foundation for premium security posture is the implementation of a least-privilege policy that restricts access to only the most necessary users and use cases.


Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Eric Garcetti
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Eric Garcetti
Gavin Newsom
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Gavin Newsom
boots
The Story of How Tecovas Became A Big Name In Boots
Oscar Wilde
20 Oscar Wilde Quotes That Apply to Business
Chase
How to Prequalify For Chase Credit Cards
Tax
What OASDI Tax is and Why It Matters
healthcare stocks
Is Guardant Health Stock a Solid Long Term Investment?
Cannabis Stock
Is Acreage Holdings Stock A Solid Long Term Investment?
Civil Rights Tours and Landmarks
The 20 Best Things to do in Birmingham for First Timers
Mount Rushmore
The 20 Best Things to do in South Dakota for First Timers
Szimpla Kert
The 20 Best Things To Do in Budapest for First-Timers
The Dali Museum
20 Things to do in Clearwater, FL For First Timers
2021 Genesis GV80
10 Things You Didn’t Know About the 2021 Genesis GV80
2021 Hyundai Elantra 2
10 Things You Didn’t Know About the 2021 Hyundai Elantra
2020 Audi Q5 Hybrid
The 10 Most Efficient Small Hybrid SUVs
2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris Work Van
10 Things You Didn’t Know About The 2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris Work Van
Phoibos Ocean Master PY005B 1000M Automatic Diver Watch
The 10 Best Phoibos Watches Money Can Buy
Raven Solitude LE
The 10 Best Raven Watches of All-Time
Morphic M3
The 10 Best Morphic Watches Money Can Buy
Heritor Marcus
The 10 Best Heritor Watches of All-Time
Tati Westbrook
How Tati Westbrook Achieved A Net Worth Of $6 Million
Gwyneth Paltrow
How Gwyneth Paltrow Achieved a Net Worth of $100 Million
How Deion Sanders Achieved a Net Worth of $40 Million
Jeremy Clarkson
How Jeremy Clarkson Achieved a Net Worth of $60 Million