In the increasingly IoT-dependent tech landscape, the dystopic vision of residents being locked out of their own smart homes is far overshadowed by the simple annoyance of a gummed-up identity pipeline. When everything inside an organization is wadded up into a giant ball of accounts and applications with no clear vision of who is rolling it around, life inside the ball gets difficult for all of its users. The only way to control the ball is to find a way to securely administer it. The right privileged access management solution can keep your ball secure, efficient, and user-friendly.
Most security breaches require some form of privileged access to result in any serious damage being inflicted. However, the nature of identity management means there must always be a way to provision accounts. Thus, a controlling account with elevated powers is necessary and all IAM solutions must include a privileged identity management solution.
No two organizations’ IAM needs are identical. However, identity experts have identified common trends between privileged access solutions which hold up as sticking points of success. Here are 5 keys to jumpstart your project and get you on your way to decreasing the risk of security incidents, shortening the time it takes to grant privileged access, and reducing the cost of privileged access.
1. Temporary vs. Permanent Privileged Access
Some employees make heavy use of privileged accounts every day to perform their daily responsibilities and achieve their tasks. However, others only need temporary privileged access to perform a project, incident, or change management activity. Not only should you not treat both with the same level security, but you also must consider everything between these two extremes. Some factors to consider are:
- Historical risk– What past audit issues have arisen with either group?
- Size of each user population – Are there many more temporary access users?
- User type – Are there more internal vs. external users in either user population?
However, although different security levels should be applied to each user, modern identity solutions provide a means to enforce a uniform identity security policy via escalating authentication requirements. Adaptive MFA is at the top of the list, providing moment to moment records as well as appropriate security challenges matching the circumstances of access requests.
2. Resource Classification in Privileged Access
In the vein of adaptive authentication: have you classified your privileged access endpoints into tiers? Such a step is necessary in determining the rigor required to provide privileged access. A typical organization will have hundreds or thousands of endpoints that need to be defined in the privileged access solution. Consequently, defining tiers of resources helps prioritize deployment and map the appropriate workflow around the privileged access request process. Some recommended tiers are:
- Tier 1– Resources driving financial reporting to auditors or regulatory agencies.
- Tier 2 – Resources mission critical to company operations.
- Tier 3 – Resources containing very sensitive personally identifiable information.
Once these prioritized resources are addressed, other sectors can be supplemented to render the system more reactive. Specifically, the factors that go into answering the 6 IAM security questions. By tracking these crucial data points, your system accomplishes two things. Firstly, all access requests become faster due to the automatic rather than manual enforcement of your protocols. Secondly, your identities become much more secure since each individual identity gains a perimeter around itself. This even extends to automatically locking out access when suspicious behavior is detected. This prevents breaches from becoming catastrophic and greatly enhancing remediation capabilities.
3. Authoritative Source for Check-Out / Check-In
Do you have an authoritative source used to drive check-in and check-out of privileged credentials? This is the most important component to making your workflow a smooth and natural process for the end users.
The most common authoritative source is an IT Service Desk System used for request, incident, & change control tracking. In essence, the presence of an open ticket assigned to the protected resource both automates the check-in/check-out process. Additionally, this process also restricts who can request access. Recent incidents like the MGM and Caesar’s data breaches demonstrate the importance of authenticating privileged users.
Designating an authoritative source provides additional value beyond your PAM. By ensuring that all users (be they customers, employees, or partners) are on the same system, any investments you make to your identity platform will benefit each one. This consequently enhances the benefits conferred by your CIAM solution, aids managed identity security services, and can help fulfill cybersecurity requirements.
4. Automated Provisioning in Privileged Access
Delivering privileged access efficiently requires an automated mechanism to update the account password or entitlements. Additionally, integrating the privileged access solution with an existing identity management system is a key consideration. The identity management system has connectors deployed for the protected resources which allow:
- Self Service– To request access.
- Workflow – To automate the check-in/check-out process.
- Account Updates – To grant/remove access.
- Recertification – To drive audit & verification of users.
Automation becomes more prevalent in identity management every year. For instance, identity orchestration unifies all identity pillars into a single viewport. By applying the principles of privileged access control to the greater identity fabric, enterprises gain the same visibility and responsiveness within the entirety of their organization.
5. Privileged Roles
Knowing which groups of privileged users have entitlements to request privileged access to various groups of protected resources is an important aspect in providing a PAM solution. Because of this, defining roles ahead of time and mapping them to the appropriate resources can dramatically reduce the time it takes to deliver a solution. Some common privileged access roles are:
- Server Administrators– To grant server admin access.
- Database Administrators – To grant database admin access.
- Application Administrators – To grant application admin access.
- Security Administrators – To grant security admin access.
- Desktop Administrators – To grant desktop/laptop admin access.
Getting a handle on these topics allows you to jumpstart an effective privileged access implementation. This gets you well on your way to providing a more secure environment with a seamless end user experience for your administrators.
Contact a Simeio identity advisor now and take your first steps towards the effective privileged access management solution your organization needs.