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Privileged Access Management

by | Dec 28, 2021 | BLOG

Implementing privileged access management in a company is critical to ensuring that there are no information theft and other security issues.

The so-called cyberattacks are responsible, for example, for the theft and hijacking of information in exchange for money, causing several damages to the continuity of an organization’s business. They have become very common and their actions can cause not only financial losses but also image and reputation losses.

Unfortunately, the trend is that over the years, these cyberattacks will become more and more severe and that their number of occurrences will grow.

With this scenario, the importance of privileged access management also grows. Cyberattacks happen through classic malware and phishing methods or the exploitation of zero-day software vulnerabilities, in addition to advanced social engineering techniques.

With all that, privileged access management comes to help ensure that organizations function. Thus, it covers the need to protect data, networks, and devices from malicious actions.

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? That is what we are going to talk about today.

What is Privileged Access?

Before explaining what Privileged Access Management is, we need to understand what privileged access or credential is. 

All the time, malicious people appear looking for flaws within the companies’ systems to gain access to confidential data. This threat can be both external and internal. Therefore, organizations are increasingly looking for solutions that are truly capable of protecting this information.

Privileged accounts are created to control access to this data. This access is usually restricted only to people who hold leadership positions (high-level management) and administrators in the IT area. Other employees can obtain this information with the authorization of the company.

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 maliciously 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.

Although it is extremely important, proper control often ends up being flawed. Hence the need to have a tool really capable of directing, tracking, and filtering these accesses. Among the most efficient, we have PAM solutions.

What is a Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution?

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 information security team can configure user access profiles, avoiding improper access to systems and data.

What is the Principle of Least Privilege?

The principle of least privilege is one of the bases for information security. Its main goal is to grant users access to environments that are required for them to perform their tasks. In other words, with the principle of least privilege, users do not access environments they do not require, avoiding internal threats, data leaks, and hacker infiltration in critical environments of a company.

Through the senhasegura solution, you have several security locks that ensure users access only the environments required by them. Besides monitoring the way the user is performing privileged access, the senhasegura solution registers, records, and notifies those responsible for information security about any malicious activity within the privileged session.

Through this simple practice, they significantly minimize the chances of a cybercriminal accessing sensitive company data and extracting information.

How is Privileged Access Done?

Privileged access to devices can be performed in two ways: manually (least recommended); and through specific Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions. In this second case, PAM controls administrative access to a company’s critical systems to help it achieve its cybersecurity goals.

Controlling privileged actions allows one to protect a company’s IT systems against any attempt to carry out malicious actions, such as improper changes in the environment and theft of information. These blocked actions can take place both inside and outside the company.

In this context, using privileged access management technology is essential to optimize the deployment of a cybersecurity infrastructure in companies.

Moreover, the need for effective use of privileged access management techniques has never been greater, as traditional defense mechanisms such as antivirus, VPNs, and firewalls are subject to many failures today.

Thus, a PAM solution should be able to:

  • Allow a company to set several flexible parameters for privileged access control, such as window access, access restrictions for specific users or 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 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 auditing activities for user tasks such as Syslog with other monitoring and reporting technologies such as SIEM (Security Information and Event Management).
  • 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:

Credential Management

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.

Session Recording

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;

Application Identity

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. Finally, 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.

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Why Should I Invest in a PAM Solution?

Lack of control over access to certain data within an enterprise can result in major disruptions, including loss of business continuity. Many adopted systems end up vulnerable due to a lack of effective supervision.

This lack of control leaves room for the leak of information, much of it sensitive, inside or outside the company. But after all, how to guarantee the privacy of these contents?

The PAM solutions turn out to be quite efficient in this case, as they use security strategies and technologies that, together, are capable of controlling privileged access.

Moreover, they restrict which users will be allowed to enter certain accounts, applications, devices, processes, and internal systems, and control them. This prevents external attacks, which can occur as a result of an employee’s lack of attention, or sharing of sensitive information within the company.

Are PAM Solutions Really Secure?

We often associate external attacks as our only risk. However, insider threats can also put an entire organization at risk.

They are not always associated only with the people who work in a company. In this list, we can also include service providers, such as consultants, third parties and suppliers, and even former employees, who may have access to its data even after leaving the company.

Improper access can result in damage caused intentionally or accidentally. No matter the reason, in all cases the consequences can be quite bad and even irreversible.

Therefore, it is common for people to have doubts whether a PAM solution is really capable of filtering these people’s access. And the answer to that question is yes! It is so secure that they are recommended by cybersecurity experts. Gartner, for example, has chosen PAM as the number-1 security project for 2 years in a row.

When it comes to reducing risk within an organization, a PAM solution is considered one of the most efficient and indispensable. It is worth mentioning that it is always important to hire credible solutions from the market.

senhasegura, for example, offers really efficient solutions, which protect the customer from possible data theft, in addition to tracking the actions of administrators on networks, servers, databases, and devices. All of this is done in compliance with demanding global standards such as ISO 27001, PCI DSS, HIPAA, and Sarbanes-Oxley.

How Does It Reduce Insider Threats?

The PAM solution uses some features to mitigate insider and external threats. One is by protecting the credentials of your most confidential data in a central, secure vault to which few people have access.

Privileged access can be limited so that only authorized people can consult personal customer data, trade secrets, ongoing negotiations, intellectual property, financial data, among others.

Privileged Access Management is able to direct which access each employee will have authorization. Thus, they will only be able to consult information relevant to their tasks. All of this will be controlled by the system, no matter if they are working in person or remotely.

In addition to internal data, in order to have greater control over protection against attacks, it is also possible to restrict access to external content on websites and applications that pose a certain type of threat to a company’s security.

Is It Possible to Protect My Passwords in The Cloud?

Yes. senhasegura is the only company in Brazil that offers a cloud-native password vault. The SaaS service protects your credentials, offers password rotation, auditing, and monitoring of these privileged accounts.

In this way, you minimize the duties of the security administrative department and allow the process to take place efficiently and at a lower cost. Therefore, it is ideal for small and medium-sized companies due to its advantages.

Is PAM the Same Thing As IAM?

No. Although both have the principle of controlling a company’s data, the two usually work in a complementary way, each with its own functionality.

In comparison, we can say that PAM is a little more elaborate. Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a tool used for administrators to easily manage users and legitimize access to certain company resources.

Despite that, this type of system has some gaps when it comes to privileged accounts. It is at this point that PAM becomes essential, as it works in a broader and more detailed way. This solution is able to inform you of everything that is being done, which sessions were started, and who is accessing certain information.

In short, a PAM solution controls everything related to this data within the company, managing to filter accessibility and ensure secure storage of all information.

Who Is It Recommended For?

senhasegura is a leading global solution in privileged access management with a mission to eliminate privilege abuse in organizations around the world.

The solution is recommended for companies in the following scenarios:

  • Companies with more than 10 users.
  • Companies that received points of attention in auditing.
  • Companies that must comply with cybersecurity rules and regulations.
  • Companies that want to implement the best security practices.
  • Companies that have suffered a security incident.
  • Companies that need to reduce operating costs.

senhasegura allows companies to implement the most strict and complex controls on access to privileged credentials in an automated and centralized manner, protecting the IT infrastructure from data breaches and potential compliance breaches.

It is also ready to meet business and market compliance requirements such as LGPD, GDPR, PCI DSS, SOX, NIST, HIPAA, ISO 27001, and ISA 62443.

Gartner Chooses senhasegura as One of the Best Privileged Access Management Solutions in the World

Gartner is a company recognized for providing impartial, high-quality consulting and research on many markets, as well as providing valuable information and insights to the entire technology community. In addition to being part of the S&P 500, an index of the top 500 publicly traded companies in the United States, Gartner provides research and analysis of solutions in areas such as finances, legal, compliance, and Information Technology.

To support their strategy and help organizations of all sizes choose which solutions to deploy in their infrastructure, IT leaders should use tools developed by Gartner, such as the Magic Quadrant reports. 

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant uses a uniform set of assessment criteria with results represented in a graphical form showing the competitive positioning of different vendors of digital products and services in different markets. This representation makes it easy to see how these vendors meet different market requirements and work against Gartner’s market view.

Gartner uses a qualitative data analysis methodology to indicate trends in different markets. This analysis includes the direction and maturity of different markets, in addition to their respective players. The analytics developed by Gartner are tailored for specific technology industries, including PAM, and are updated every one to two years.

The purpose of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Privileged Access Management 2021 report is to showcase the top PAM solutions on the market. senhasegura was recognized as a Challenger and was highlighted in the 2021 report as the second-best PAM solution in the world in terms of execution capability.

Check the main points presented in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Privileged Access Management 2021:

  • The best solution for account discovery and onboarding.
  • One of the most technically advanced PAM solutions.
  • Positive feedback from clients on ease of use, user-friendly interface, and fast-to-implement features.
  • Highly competitive price, with below-average quotes for all evaluated scenarios.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in their research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner’s research publications consist of the research organization’s opinions and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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