The Imperative of PAM Solutions in Today’s Digital Age 

The Imperative of PAM Solutions in Today’s Digital Age 

In a world interconnected by digital platforms, the importance of access management has never been more pronounced. As businesses grow and diversify, so does their IT infrastructure. The range of access points has multiplied from employees accessing files on a shared server to third-party vendors accessing critical systems. While essential for operational fluidity, each access point represents a potential vulnerability. Mismanaged or unregulated access can lead to breaches, data theft, and other cybersecurity concerns. Enter PAM solutions.

At its core, PAM ensures that only the right individuals have access to specific resources and only at the correct times. Whether a top-tier executive accessing strategic documents or an IT administrator managing server configurations, PAM ensures that access is granted judiciously, monitored continuously, and audited regularly. 

Delve deep into the nuances of PAM. Explore its pivotal role in cybersecurity, compliance, and operational efficiency. By understanding the intricacies of PAM solutions, businesses can better safeguard their assets and propel themselves confidently into the future. 

The Escalating Landscape of Cyber Threats 

While bringing unprecedented convenience and connectivity, the digital age has also ushered in a new era of cyber threats. Daily news headlines echo tales of data breaches, ransomware attacks, and sophisticated hacking attempts. Regardless of their size or industry, businesses are in the crosshairs of cyber adversaries looking to exploit vulnerabilities for financial, strategic, or ideological gains. 

Such threats aren’t merely abstract risks; they translate into tangible losses. For example, a single data breach can result in financial penalties, loss of customer trust, and long-term reputational damage. In this landscape, the protection of sensitive data becomes paramount. Personal customer information, proprietary business data, and strategic assets are all prime targets for unauthorized access. 

This is where Privileged Access Management takes center stage. PAM solutions act as a formidable barrier against unauthorized intrusions by meticulously managing and monitoring privileged access. They ensure that only vetted individuals can access sensitive systems, and, even then, their actions are logged, audited, and, if necessary, alerted upon. In essence, PAM solutions are the sentinels that guard the digital fortresses of modern businesses, ensuring that assets remain secure and breaches are averted. 

Consequently, as we navigate the complexities of modern cybersecurity, the role of PAM becomes increasingly indispensable. It’s not just about preventing unauthorized access. Rather, it’s about fostering a security culture where every access point is treated with the scrutiny it deserves. 

Streamlining Operations and Embracing the Future with PAM Solutions 

As organizations expand and diversify, their operational landscape becomes increasingly intricate. Once a straightforward task, managing access privileges can morph into a complex challenge. With many roles, responsibilities, and resources, ensuring proper access to the right person at the right time becomes daunting. What’s more, this complexity is only amplified as businesses transform digitally, adopting cloud infrastructures and integrating multiple platforms. 

Privileged Access Management solutions are the linchpin in this evolving scenario. They not only simplify the task of access management but also enhance operational efficiency. Whether granting a new employee the necessary privileges, revoking access from a departing team member, or managing service account permissions, PAM solutions streamline these processes, reducing the room for errors and inefficiencies. 

However, the role of PAM doesn’t stop at simplifying operations within a traditional IT setup. As businesses embrace the cloud and embark on digital transformation journeys, managing access across diverse environments comes to the fore. Hybrid infrastructures, which blend on-premises systems with cloud platforms, demand a unified approach to access management—adaptable, resilient, and future-proof. 

PAM solutions rise to this occasion by offering seamless access control and privileged session management across varied environments. Whether an organization operates entirely on the cloud, maintains a hybrid setup, or is in the transitional phase, PAM systems ensure that access privileges remain consistent, secure, and compliant. By adapting to these hybrid infrastructures, PAM solutions address immediate operational needs and pave the way for a future where businesses can fluidly move between platforms without compromising security. 

In this dual role—enhancing operational efficiency and facilitating digital transformation—PAM solutions are indispensable assets for modern businesses. 

Deciphering the PAM Landscape: A Comprehensive Vendor Evaluation Guide 

In today’s bustling market, an array of PAM solutions vie for the attention of businesses, each promising unparalleled security and operational benefits. However, with varying features, scalability options, and integration capabilities, how can a company discern which PAM solution aligns best with its unique needs? 

  1. Criteria for Evaluation:
  • Features: A robust PAM solution should offer comprehensive features, from detailed access logs to real-time alerts and automated workflows. 
  • Scalability: As businesses grow, their PAM solutions should be able to scale seamlessly, accommodating more users, systems, and environments. 
  • Integration Capabilities: The ability to integrate smoothly with other systems—be it identity management tools, HR systems, or cloud platforms—is crucial. 
  1. Key Terminologies to Grasp:
  • Secret Server: A secure platform where privileged credentials are stored, managed, and accessed. 
  • Privileged Credential: Specialized credentials that grant higher-level access to systems and data. 
  • Privileged Identities: User profiles with elevated permissions to access sensitive resources. 

Understanding these terminologies can equip businesses to make informed decisions. Cut through the marketing jargon and focus on what truly matters. 

  1. The Pillars of Privilege Management:
  • Password Management: Centralizing and securing privileged passwords’ storage, rotation, and retrieval. 
  • Endpoint Privilege Management: Ensuring that only vetted applications and processes run with elevated privileges on endpoints, thereby reducing the attack surface. 

By considering these evaluation criteria and terminologies, businesses can confidently navigate the PAM market landscape, selecting a solution that addresses their present challenges and positions them for future growth. 

The Evolution of PAM Solutions: Simeio’s Advanced Features and Expertise 

Businesses often struggle to identify a robust, secure, and adaptable solution to their unique needs in a landscape teeming with PAM solutions. Simeio, a leading entity in the realm of IAM services, stands out in this domain with its unparalleled expertise and advanced features. 

Central to Simeio’s PAM offerings is the emphasis on advanced components like multi-factor authentication, a critical layer that adds an extra dimension of security. By distinguishing between standing privileges (which are always-on rights) and elevated privileges (granted as needed) Simeio ensures that access is always contextual and justified. Our sophisticated privilege management techniques and prowess in managing unauthorized access and data breach threats make us a preferred choice for businesses seeking comprehensive privileged access management solutions

But what truly sets Simeio apart is our operational excellence. With the ability to secure sensitive data and accounts through expert optimization of PAM tools, they champion next-generation authorization processes. Furthermore, businesses no longer rely on manual methods to grant or revoke privileged access. Simeio’s expertise lies in automating the PAM process, resulting in significant time and cost savings. Our promise of a 60% faster deployment (thanks to partnerships with leading PAM vendors) reflects our commitment to efficiency and excellence. 

With over 95+ PAM certified experts on board, Simeio offers round-the-clock monitoring to protect users with the highest access. Additionally, our team is adept at navigating the complexities of any PAM solution, ensuring businesses can focus on broader security visions. We offer companies peace of mind and assurance by addressing rapidly changing security threats targeting privileged accounts. 

The Simeio Advantage: Pioneering PAM Excellence 

  • 60% Faster Deployment: Partnering with leading PAM vendors for swift and efficient solution implementation
  • 95+ PAM Certified Experts: Round-the-clock monitoring by a dedicated team of seasoned professionals. 
  • Next-Gen Authorization: Move beyond manual methods with automated PAM processes, optimizing time and cost. 
  • Holistic Approach: From managed services to advisory and identity threat detection, Simeio covers the entire spectrum of PAM needs. 
  • Enhanced Policy Enforcement: Continuous and sustainable policy monitoring across all privileged accounts. 
  • Improved ROI: Reduce risks, align compliance, and achieve PAM goals with Simeio’s expert guidance. 
  • Flexible Offerings: Tailored solutions to fit every need, from new system integrations to legacy solution migrations. 

Simeio doesn’t just offer a PAM solution; we provide a holistic approach to privileged access management. From sustainable policy enforcement to ensuring continuous compliance and improving ROI, our services span PAM needs. Whether businesses seek managed services, advisory services, or identity threat detection and remediation, Simeio offers flexibility and expertise. 

Navigating the PAM Solution Landscape with Simeio 

In an interconnected digital landscape, the significance of robust Privileged Access Management can’t be emphasized enough. As the nexus of business operations, data management, and cybersecurity, PAM is the frontline defense against escalating cyber threats. In this realm, Simeio emerges as more than just a solution provider. We are a trusted partner, a beacon of expertise, and a testament to excellence in the world of IAM services. Furthermore, our commitment to offering next-generation authorization processes and our relentless pursuit of innovation make us an indispensable ally for businesses navigating the complexities of the modern digital age. 

The choice for businesses is evident as we stand at the precipice of a new cybersecurity and access management era. It’s not just about adopting a PAM solution; it’s about partnering with a leader who understands this domain’s nuances, challenges, and opportunities. 

Discover the Simeio Difference: Dive deep into the world of advanced PAM solutions and experience firsthand the expertise and innovation that Simeio brings. Explore Simeio’s Offerings 

Get Started with Simeio: Ready to elevate your PAM strategy? Then connect with our team of experts and embark on a journey of enhanced security, compliance, and operational efficiency. Contact Us Today 

Want to read more on PAM solutions within specific sectors? Then check out these available resources. 

Candy, Cars, and Starships: PAM Security Could Have Stopped Major Manufacturing Data Breaches

Candy, Cars, and Starships: PAM Security Could Have Stopped Major Manufacturing Data Breaches

PAM Security

Manufacturing recalls ideas of big tough machines doing big tough machine things. Smelters turning molten iron into mighty girders. Robotic arms assembling sedans and minivans in a matter of minutes. Plastic injectors churning out tacky pieces of garbage that you don’t need or even want but you lack the self-control to resist a 40% off sticker. Yet despite its image of power and unstoppable industry, manufacturing is afflicted by a lack of PAM security.

Manufacturing enterprises have suffered some of the worst cyberattacks in recent years. Ransomware struck 56% of manufacturing companies surveyed by Sophos between January and March 2023. In 2023 alone, more than a third of manufacturing ransomware victims paid ransom demands to get their data back.

Too much of cybersecurity strategy is hindsight-only, looking back on what could have happened instead of anticipating before it happened. Fortunately for you, you still have time to learn from their mistakes and make adjustments to your PAM security strategy. Read on and discover how PAM protects your digital identities…before it is too late.

PAM Security for Candy Manufacturing Digital Identities

In 2017, Mondelez, the multinational food and beverage company behind Cadbury and Nabisco, suffered a catastrophic NotPetya malware attack. The incident destroyed more than 25,000 machines. Additionally, the attack crippled facility operations and may have compromised thousands of user credentials. The incident even lead to a landmark cyber-insurance court case costing $100 MN. The breach of Mondelez’s cybersecurity perimeter would have been damaging enough to their reputation. However, the direct effects of the attack turned out to be far more dire.

Consisting of wiper malware likely concealed within Ukrainian tax software, the NotPetya attack concealed an insidious secret. Though initial investigators believed the attack to be a ransom attempt, it was later discovered that the attack was simply meant to permanently damage the company. This demonstrates that, even if the victim is willing to pay a ransom, that may not always be an option. Therefore, a PAM security solution is the much better option for preventing the attack from getting off the ground.

Human error obviously led to a gap in cybersecurity strategy. When an authorized user lets in a bad actor, a skilled hacker can quickly move laterally through an undefended system. However, even if an initial attack gets through, there are solutions that could have halted and isolated its progress. A properly equipped IGA and PAM system could have prevented the exploit from moving laterally, identifying suspicious behavior and combating it. A PAM security solution would have required third-party vendors to be under the same scrutiny as internal identities. By establishing norms the system can alert and lock down access even for machine identities, which could have stopped the user-agnostic malware.

Protecting Car Manufacturers’ Digital Identities Through PAM Security

Post-breach analysis is somewhat hampered by the lack of public information on the original attack vector. Yet the effects of the 2017 Renault-Nissan attack were evident. This WannaCry ransomware attack infected the machines at multiple places. Their solution was to disconnect the infected plants from its network for four days, halting operations at five production plants across three continents.

The protracted shutdown of Renault’s Douai plant, responsible for building some of Renault’s top-priced models, was particularly harsh. WannaCry also targeted Renault-Nissan’s fellow automotive manufacturer Honda. This attack forced Honda to halt operations at one of their plants. The nature of the attack lead some experts to theorize that the hackers used outdated Windows systems to access Renault’s systems. However, this remains speculative.

In this instance, PAM would have allowed for a much faster response to the attack. Centralized controls could have safely and remotely taken the devices offline, allowing for much faster isolation. An adaptive MFA system could have halted the intrusion mere moments after it started. In such cases, the adaptive MFA detects and automatically demands additional verification. If a qualified managed identity services provider had implemented the PAM platform, the presence of vulnerable hardware might have been noticed in the initial assessment. In such a case, the vector would never have been available to the hackers, thus preventing the shutdown and subsequent lost revenue.

Privileged Access Management Security for Starships

As humanity begins gearing up for a long-awaited return to the moon, issues earth-side threaten to delay the venture. In early 2019 a DoppelPaymer ransomware attack targeted precision machine manufacturer and SpaceX supplier Visser Precision. The attackers stole several confidential documents including non-disclosure agreements with Tesla, SpaceX, and General Dynamics. Additionally, and chillingly, they also stole and published a Lockheed Martin schematic for a missile antenna.

Similar cyber-attacks have struck even more audacious targets, such as the Maze attack against Pensacola, Florida. Such attacks rely upon circumventing account provisioning and gaining unauthorized access to sensitive data. However, the cyberattack against Visser Precision did not merely aim to lock users out of their systems. Unlike encrypted files, which can at least conceivably be decoded, this attack is considered a success as soon as the confidential information is in the hands of the bad actors. At that stage the enterprise loses either way.

The theft of such critical and even dangerous data needs to have a perimeter around each identity within an organization. Merely requesting a document under unusual circumstances should raise flags in automated and adaptive MFA. However, that only works if an enterprise has instituted PAM security with adaptive MFA as an accompanying feature. When remediation of compromised data is not a viable solution, then total prevention becomes the only possible remedy.

Contact a Simeio identity advisor now and learn what the ideal PAM security solution looks like for your enterprise.

Securing Privileged Identity Management through Identity Management Solutions

Securing Privileged Identity Management through Identity Management Solutions

Securing Privileged Identity Management through Identity Management Solutions

If protected identities are the fun-size chocolates of an identity fabric, then privileged identities are the entire candy bowl. Critical for internal users and tempting prizes for bad actors, whoever gets their hands onto these privileged identities can do as they will with all the delicious morsels inside. Privileged identity management solutions seek to provide the best possible candy bowl, one that is easy for authorized users to reach into while keeping the grubby mitts of hackers out.

Cybersecurity and efficiency are your two main priorities when creating your privileged identity management solution, and each is of equal importance. Without good data protection, confidential data can fall into the hands of bad actors who expose customer secrets. Without efficient identity management, your identities will be essentially useless since they’ll be too difficult to alter. An identity management solution capable of satisfying both is a worthy platform for your privileged identities.

Secure Privileged Identity Management Solutions

Your privileged identities face many potential threats, chief among them the prospect of credential abuse. The 2013 Target HVAC attack and 2023 MOVEit breaches both resulted from privileged accounts becoming compromised. In the first case, the importance of third-party privileged identities proved to be the trouble. In the second, a lack of defining privileged users made unauthenticated accounts able to make changes to the core of victims’ systems. Each attack vector was opened up by a lack of proper privileged identity management solutions.

Of all the management solutions to look at, PAM is the best place to start. It comes with two major features pertinent to your cybersecurity needs. The first is active monitoring which records all actions taken with your systems. This provides you with a clear chain of custody and play-by-play, allowing you to always be ready with an answer to the 6 most important identity and access security questions. Equipped with the monitoring metrics, your enterprise is able to make informed decisions about the precise amount of privileges an account should have. This control keeps data secure from hackers and safeguarded even in the event of a breach.

However, it can go a step further with automated IGA. By instituting RBAC, your PAM automatically flags and alerts you about suspicious behavior. Then it automatically enforces your policy and even isolates breaches while they are still in progress. What happens when hackers compromise your credentials(the most common attack vector)? Adaptive MFA detects suspicious factors. These include unusual geolocation or time of day and result in the issue of a challenge for authentication. Whether you’re protecting electronic health recordssecure banking data, or consumer info, PAM enabled by IGA provides an effective perimeter around each identity.

Enable Efficiency Through Identity Solutions

The ability to swiftly remediate security issues using central PAM and IGA controls is crucial. They can be the deciding factor in whether a breach is contained or results in a humiliating public incident. However, with the right setup those same systems can also make your identity platforms easier to use. Additionally, this ease of use extends not only to your privileged identities, but also to all profiles in your system. Experts build your privileged identity management solution to touch all corners of your identity fabric. Therefore, you will be able to institute quality of life and speed of service as well.

One of the most important benefits of an agile privileged identity solution is the acceleration of onboarding. By having RBAC in place, you can quickly act on your J-M-L pipeline. For example, a major energy company reduced app onboarding times by 89% by leveraging PAM controls.  Furthermore, this is one area where security intersects with performance. By automating this process, you can automatically de-provision accounts which no longer need certain kinds of access. This both enforces the PoLP and cuts off orphaned accounts, all while reducing the manpower needed to administrate.

CIAM solutions likewise provide good ROI for customers’ frictionless security. Your previous investments provide excellent utility when implemented by an expert team crafting a bespoke solution around your specific needs. In this case, their solution gives a boost to your platform’s self-service capabilities. These abilities extend not only to consumer-driven fields like retail but any industry based on user-interaction. Adaptive MFA makes for on the go security while SSO and automated password resets. Consequently, these capabilities cut back on help-desk requests for password resets by up to 85%.

Effectively Implementing Your Ideal Privileged Identity Management Solution

So how do these benefits take the leap from the words of this blog to the highlights of your quarterly report? You need to start with an assessment by people who know what the best course of action is to take to improve your identity fabric. The fewer mistakes made in the plan, the better the ultimate result will be. If you employ a team with experience and knowledge, you can produce a multifaceted identity success story. They need to come in and take a look at where your identity fabric is, where it should be, and how to get there. Should your enterprise commit to such a strategy, you can expect a major boost in your identity maturity.

Subsequently, you need to capitalize on those strategies. If you’ve chosen your service provider well, you can call on the same people to carry out the improvements that did your assessment. Your previous success with their services provides you with a pre-established baseline of trust in their competence. Additionally, they can deliver a practical action plan, advise you on generating buy-in, and provide a clear roadmap leading to your ideal privileged identity management solution.

Finally, keep up momentum by having the identity services provider perform regular maintenance for your solution. By having your implementation done right from the start, you encounter fewer unforeseen issues. This is especially true of your compliance needs, with your platform automatically collecting audit data and satisfying protection standards. Thus you enjoy a lower cost of maintenance. Such experts can predict which investments need to be made and where, saving you the trouble of fumbling about. Finally you can breathe easy, confident that your privileged identities are fortified by a trusted managed identity service.

Contact a Simeio identity advisor now and start planning for the best privileged identity management solution you can get.

Privileged Access Management Solutions Fulfill Cybersecurity Requirements

Privileged Access Management Solutions Fulfill Cybersecurity Requirements

Privileged Access Management Solutions are key to effective IAM

Privileged access management solutions are the foundation of modern identity-based security. Their active and automatic monitoring and enforcement capabilities enable secure privileged identity management at the highest levels of an enterprise. Additionally, investments in privileged access management solutions provide a secondary value: cybersecurity compliance.

Regardless of your specific industry, you have likely experienced difficulties due to the requirements laid upon you by compliance mandates. A robust privileged access management solution can greatly aid, if not outright fulfill, these mandates. Read on and learn how privileged access management solutions can aid your satisfaction of GDPR, CCPA, HIPPA, PCI DSS, BSA, and NERC CIP.

Privileged Access Management Solutions for GDPR and CCPA

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of digital privacy requirements that all digital businesses must follow to operate within the European Union.

The current law gives consumers the right to:

  • Notification of breach events within 72 hours.
  • Privacy-centric design for all stages of relevant data processes.
  • Erasure and halted dissemination of personal data at request.

An approximate American equivalent of the GDPR is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Technically the law only applies protections for California residents. However, it has been adopted as a de facto guideline for privacy policies. CCPA gives consumers the right to:

  • Deletion of personal information at request.
  • Correction of inaccurate personal information
  • Limited use and disclosure of sensitive information.

Fail to meet GDPR requirements, and you may be fined up to 4% of your annual growth turnover, or €20 million. Likewise, CCPA penalties have an upper cap of $7,500 per intentional violation or $2,500 per non-intentional violation. Furthermore, these penalties can quickly add up since one consumer equals one violation.

The utility of IAM for GDPR compliance is well-documented. Privileged access management solutions are important for controlling identity governance and administration. Specifically, it provides instant access to all identities within your system. This ensures data deletion capabilities on request. Additionally, privileged access management solutions share a deep link to identity governance and administration systems. Therefore, enterprises can provision and erase account info as well as give a moment-to-moment account of what is being done with the info.

Cybersecurity Compliance for HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) relates to healthcare organizations who must adhere to its standards of privacy and health information protection.

The regulation requires that healthcare providers:

  • Perform risk analysis followed by documented remediation.
  • Institute access controls for protected electronic health data.
  • Produce audit reports/tracking logs for all hardware/software containing protected data.

The punishments for HIPAA violations are steep even by regulatory standards. Individual penalties can cost almost $2 MN a year as of 2023. Additionally, infractions can result in jail sentences of as long as 10 years.

Privileged access management solutions do an excellent job of fulfilling the requirements of HIPAA. An expert identity assessment provides your organization with the groundwork for a sweeping and effective digital transformation. Following the implementation of recommended improvements, top-down identity controls provide the means to keep confidential data secure. Finally, automated monitoring and recordkeeping provides granular data on all identity usage. This demonstrates due diligence towards protecting patient data and strengthens risk posture.

PCI DSS Cybersecurity Compliance

Payment card industry (PCI) compliance is mandated by the PCI Security Standards Council  to ensure secure credit card transactions. The requirements of PCI DSS include:

  • Development and maintenance of secure systems and applications.
  • Tracking and monitoring of all access to network resources and cardholder data.
  • Maintaining a policy addressing personnel information security.

PCI member companies may penalize your institution if a data breach results from unfulfilled PCI security standards. Penalties can range from $5,000 to $ 100,000 per month in which non-compliance persists.

Privileged access management solutions, especially if implemented by a managed identity service, go a long way towards protecting cardholder info under a comprehensive policy. They satisfy the need for scalability by provisioning for future updates, features, and even new applications. Furthermore, they also can not only perform regular system scans but can also specifically collect audit data and organize it in advance of an audit. With the right implementation strategy, privileged access management solutions can enable a better customer experience rather than create friction.

Privileged Access Management Solutions for BSA

The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) is a US-based financial cybersecurity program outlining recordkeeping and reporting requirements for national and foreign banks. The BSA’s provisions include requirements for:

  • Effective customer due diligence systems.
  • Activity monitoring and reporting process.
  • Reporting for suspicious activity.

An individual, including bank employees, who willfully violate the BSA can face a criminal fine of up to $250,000, five years in prison, or both.

Privileged access management solutions go a long way to satisfying the cybersecurity requirements of BSA. Perpetual monitoring of identities more than satisfies the need for due diligence. Likewise, automatic enforcement of RBAC with real-time flagging of suspicious activity provides your enterprise with a superb report-to-action pipeline.

NERC CIP Compliance Through Privileged Access Management Solutions

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC CIP) plan is a set of standards for the security of the Bulk Electric System (BES) in North America. NERC requirements include:

  • Establishment of a clear chain of accountability.
  • Command-level risk and access control management.
  • A remediation strategy for cybersecurity incidents.

In the United States, the maximum penalty for NERC noncompliance is $1,000,000 per day per violation.

Privileged access management solutions command your entire identity fabric from the highest level. Consequently, implementation fulfills an exceptionally high number of objectives. These include the ability to identify, classify, respond to, report on, and document all actions taken with your enterprise’s identities.

Satisfying compliance around privileged identity management requires a good understanding of your enterprise’s current identity fabric. Therefore, if you intend to implement a successful privileged access management solution, start with an identity assessment. Doing so fulfills compliance needs regarding planning and policies. Additionally, an expert assessment lays the groundwork for an efficient and cost-effective rollout.

Contact a Simeio identity advisor now and start planning for your regulation-compliant privileged identity management solution.

A Guide to Effective PAM Implementation

A Guide to Effective PAM Implementation

A Guide to Effective PAM Implementation

Privileged Access Management (PAM) serves your identity fabric as a means of control and security, but do you know what effective PAM Implementation looks like? PAM secures your sensitive data and accounts, governs who can access them, and their privileges once logged in. If someone who shouldn’t have access breaches your PAM, they can make administrative changes to applications, IT infrastructure, and systems.

A privileged account is an identity that has elevated access to a system, network, or application, allowing it to perform functions beyond those of a regular user account. These functions may include the ability to install software, change system configurations, access sensitive data, or make changes to user accounts. Non-human accounts like application and service accounts can also fall under this domain.

Privileged access is the process of designating higher levels of access control to certain files or systems. An effective PAM implementation proves critical to the protection of your organization’s privileged accounts, as they are the number one target of cyber criminals.

Determining the Privileged Accounts in your Organization.

To rollout an effective PAM implementation, you need to clearly define your enterprises privileged accounts. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Conduct an inventory of all the user accounts in your company’s systems, applications, and databases. One place to start is with your disaster recovery plan, if one is in place.
  2. Determine the level of access each account has. Review the permissions, roles, and group memberships associated with each account.
  3. Identify any accounts that have elevated privileges, such as administrator, root, or superuser accounts.
  4. Review the usage history of these privileged accounts to ensure they are only being used for authorized purposes.
  5. Implement controls such as password policies, two-factor authentication, and audit logging to help protect these accounts from unauthorized access.

Ensuring Effective PAM Implementation

If your business operates in the federal sector, compliance with government mandates should sit atop your to-do list. Not in the federal sector? Your industry likely has compliance rules and regulations as well. Simeio’s understands these compliance issues and will work with the appropriate solution to cover these needs. Effective PAM implementation follows the rule of least privilege. This means making sure that users, programs, or processes have the bare minimum level of permission they need to perform their job. Users should only be given access to read, write, or execute resources that specific to their role.

Having an Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution in place can help strengthen your PAM solution. Joint solutions greatly reduce security risks, improve user experience, and compliance. Effective PAM solutions monitor and record sessions of privileged account activity. This can help enforce the behavior you’re looking for and reduce breaches because users are aware they’re being monitored. Since you’re monitoring sessions, you also will be tracking user behavior.

It’s important to note that more than 80 percent of security breaches involve a compromised user or privileged account. So, any insights you can have into user behavior is a major step to keeping your data secure. Because privileged accounts are especially lucrative to cyber criminals, monitoring and having an action plan for an emergency breach is critical. Effective PAM implementation provides audit trails and logs of all privileged account activity, enabling organizations to comply with regulatory requirements and quickly investigate any security incidents.

Follow up your Effective PAM Implementation with Proper Policy Training

Automated PAM software enables you to identify the privileged accounts, implement continuous discovery and lessen privileged account sprawl and potential abuse. It also allows full, ongoing visibility to your privileged account landscape and is at the core of combating cyber security threats. But even the most helpful security tool is only as helpful as it’s understood.

If your organization has ongoing security and awareness training, adding a mandatory session on PAM including why it matters and how it works, is crucial to its success. In these sessions, go over your policies on password management for privileged accounts such as requiring users to use long passphrases rather than seemingly complex passwords for human accounts or requiring frequent password changes for non-human accounts.

If you do detect behavior that is less than desired, PAM is doing its job. But you need to have an incident response plan in place to take care of the breach. Simply changing a privileged account password or disabling the account is not enough if the account is breached. For example, if you’re auditing and logging user activity, you can remove authorization for the user immediately. With the continued risk of data breaches, and cyberattacks becoming more complex and intelligent, it’s important to have multiple lines of defense. Just using single sign-on, password management and your IAM solution is no longer enough to reduce your attack surface.

3 Ways Managed PAM Maximizes the Business Value of Digital Infrastructure

3 Ways Managed PAM Maximizes the Business Value of Digital Infrastructure

3 Ways Managed PAM Maximizes the Business Value of Digital Infrastructure

Enterprise digital infrastructure has become more complex and costly to secure, manage and support. Contributing factors include multiple clouds, expanding enterprise perimeters and employees working remotely.

The global pandemic has forced many enterprises from dipping their toes into modern digital infrastructure to jumping headfirst into digital transformation waters. According to a 2020 Gartner report, 91% of organizations are engaged in some type of digital transformation, making it even more critical to protect corporate systems and data, which requires security transformation.

This means virtually every part of digital infrastructure will converge with security to mitigate the risk of growing threat vectors. Cyber defenses need to be fully integrated into every aspect of the business to have maximum impact. Preventing a cyberattack could potentially save $1.4 million per attack.

Digital transformation programs become even more complex with the engagement of multiple IAM vendors and array of network and security products. These siloed solutions have discrete form factors, configurations and management interfaces that make it difficult to optimize business value. They create business inefficiencies that when combined with a growing security talent gap, put digital infrastructure at greater risk and adding unnecessary cost. Managed PAM makes absolute sense for enterprises to ensure digital transformation programs are secure and maximize business value.

Here are three ways to ensure managed PAM delivers both:

1.) Managed PAM and the Burgeoning Cloud Managed Services Market

Global changes brought on by the pandemic, and the need to leverage digital infrastructure to stay competitive, are changing the way business operates. Organizations are rethinking their workplace environments taking advantage of the benefits afforded by modern technology.

Cloud-native services are fundamental to the digital transformation economy, where anything can benefit by utilizing cloud- managed services. Gartner estimates cloud-managed services will reach $80 billion by 2024. The demand is coming from the need for greater agility and the offloading of increasingly complex digital infrastructure.

Our hyperconnected world relies upon digital technology to interconnect people, organizations, and machines. This digital economy challenges traditional notions about how businesses are structured, how organizations interact, and how users access services, information, and products.

In response, managed service providers (MSPs) are utilizing the agility and the economies of scale advantages of cloud services. Cloud-driven managed IAM (Identity and Access Management) services integrate privileged access management (PAM) and identity governance (IGA) tools. On top of these core services, they package capabilities that operationalize, monitor, and onboard enterprise applications. To provide greater clarity on the business return on these investments, they build –in KPI’s to measure IAM performance and success, based upon business goals and objectives.

The rapid nature of technology transformation has exacerbated the need to hire people with domain expertise in multiple areas, who can integrate everything, and secure valuable, yet vulnerable, enterprise assets. Unfortunately, finding, training, and keeping skilled people, particularly those with cybersecurity experience, is a continuous challenge. This is one of the reasons why managed PAM is a fast-growing area.

2.) Managed PAM Makes Digital Infrastructure Safe and Easy to Consume

Cloud-driven PAM managed services control user and machine information to securely authenticate and authorize access to corporate assets. The entire infrastructure is integrated and orchestrated within a single platform, with visibility through a single-pane-of-glass. This simplifies the way identity services are consumed and paid for, with a single contract, and one bill for all services.

Managed PAM services provide:

  • Off-loading of time-intensive and productivity draining tasks managing identity and privileged account infrastructure.
  • IT (Information Technology) and security teams with the time and resources to focus on serving their employees and customers
  • A frictionless user experience that is simplified, easy to use, and safe
  • An OpEx financial model based on a subscription, to alleviate heavy upfront costs

3.) Privileged Access Overcomes Operational Challenges and the Security Skills Gap

Nowhere is the workforce skills gap more evident than in the information security sector.  Cybersecurity Ventures estimates there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally this year. Compare that with the 63% increase of cybers attacks related to the pandemic! Enterprises cannot afford to let the skill gap affect the security of their networks and systems and must look at alternatives. Organizations also need to focus on their core business, and align their time and resources to that end, to remain competitive. To keep up with technology advances and regulatory compliance, they need experts with skills in security, identity, compliance, regional requirements, application integration, and more.

Managed PAM services help to alleviate the security worker talent shortage. They allow organizations to take advantage of their cost savings and operational efficiencies by leveraging best-in-class technologies, best practices, out-of-the-box workflows, and deep domain expertise. They no longer need to internally manage and coordinate multiple vendors, migrate legacy systems to the cloud, conduct upgrades, and ensure a quality user experience.

Benefits of a Managed Service Provider for PAM

MSPs bring the necessary people, processes, and technology together. They integrate PAM solutions into existing services, map them to business and security programs, and operationalize them. Working with a trusted PAM managed service offloads many costs of ownership tasks. They ensure reliable, and consistent testing, patching, monitoring, maintenance, and upgrades.

A strong security posture begins with effective identity and access management solutions. PAM managed services enable organizations to maximize the value they receive from cohesive technology services that reduce risk, improve the user experience, and cost-effectively support their businesses.

To learn more about how Simeio can help bring your privileges under control, click here to register to attend a webinar with Simeio and our partner and PAM-market leader Cyberark.

  • Contributed by Dr. James Quick