Gartner, in its document Gartner Top 10 Security Projects, named Privileged Access Management (PAM) as the number one priority in security projects. So, what does Privileged Access Management mean and why is it considered so important?
Before explaining what Privileged Access Management is, we need to understand what privileged access or credential is. Privileged access is one of the most sensitive aspects of IT. Through privileged credentials, significant changes can be made to devices and applications installed on an infrastructure, which in many cases can affect business continuity. The impact of using them in a malicious way can cause serious damage, from violations of compliance items, which can lead to heavy penalties, to security incidents – which result in reduced trust by the interested parties and lost revenue.
Privileged Access Management, also called Privileged Identity Management, enables organizations to protect their privileged credentials. In addition, PAM also ensures the effectiveness of least privilege policies by reducing attack vectors and possible data leaks.
Gartner believes that a PAM solution helps organizations securely provide privileged access to critical assets and meet compliance requirements by managing and monitoring privileged access and accounts. Basically, a PAM solution works as a secure credential repository for devices installed in the environment. Based on the management of user privileges, one can allow users to access only the data required for them to perform their activities. Thus, the Security team can configure user access profiles, avoiding improper access to systems and data.
For example, in an organization, they might have two users with privileges to access and modify settings on a messaging server, such as Microsoft Exchange. The configuration of this type of server is performed only by users with administrator privileges. Only these users can delete or create employee or third-party email accounts. Other examples of business-critical applications include ERP or CRM software. From the principles of Privileged Access Management, one can reduce the security risks related to using these applications and associated devices.
Thus, a PAM solution should be able to:
- Allow a company to set a number of flexible parameters for privileged access control, such as window access, access restrictions for specific users or target systems, or access limitation to resources required to perform a task;
- Be a single repository of administrative credentials across all systems and environments within an organization, resulting in reduced audit time and incident investigations;
- Link role-based user control to critical systems, applications, and services, thus allowing the connection between a privileged user and an individual, which improves the granularity of control and visibility;
- Provide a scalable, searchable and comprehensive audit and reporting solution for user activities on critical systems, with the ability to view commands and sessions on those systems;
- Centralize privilege visibility and control across a single management, policy and reporting platform for all devices and users, resulting in increased efficiency and unification of the management approach across the environment;
- Integrate user activity auditing such as Syslog with other monitoring and reporting technologies such as SIEM;
- Strengthen the policies of least privilege for granular control of administrative rights, while facilitating elevation of privileges without the need to assign administrator or root access;
- Escalate management of all credentials across a range of operating systems and platforms.
Through an architecture that requires no agent installation, senhasegura offers a centralized access point for critical systems. Its features allow strengthening the access control, limiting the user access only to what was previously authorized, respecting the principle of least privilege. Thus, senhasegura offers full visibility of who has access to these systems and what actions have been taken with the privileged credentials.
Some features of senhasegura include:
Allows secure password storage and centralized access management. From the definition of Access Groups for segregation of roles, one can configure pre-approved or emergency access, or start from workflows with single or multiple approvals, without the user having access to the credential password.
Allows tracking of any action taken during a privileged session to meet any audit or data privacy authority’s demand. In addition, the livestream feature allows real-time monitoring of ongoing sessions and the possibility of remotely ending a session.
senhasegura uses its own template for changing the password of application credentials, and stores the new encrypted password in its database. The credential can be viewed directly by the solution’s connection API or inserted directly into the application server connection pool.
When used to manage privileged access on organizational systems and platforms that store or protect the integrity of sensitive data, senhasegura provides a centralized access point for critical systems. Its features allow strengthening the access control, limiting the user access only to what was previously authorized, respecting the principle of least privilege.
Thus, senhasegura offers full visibility of who has access to these systems and what actions have been taken with the privileged credentials. To conclude, control and visibility on privileged actions are key factors for an organization to comply with a range of regulatory requirements for system protection. This ensures compliance and business continuity.