03.26.2018

Privileged Access Management 101

If your organization needs to offer secure privileged access to critical assets, you may benefit from privileged access management (PAM) solutions. Privileged access management solutions are usable with almost every area of system infrastructure, from operating systems and applications to middleware, databases, cloud services, hypervisors and network devices.

What Is Privileged Access?

Privileged access and privileged access management refer to access for privileged users, who are administrators or those with administrative access to critical systems. Because these systems are so vital and inappropriate interference with them in any way could crash the system or lead to irreversible data loss, it is imperative to restrict access to only verified, privileged users. It may also be referred to as PAM or privileged account management.

What Problems Does PAM Help Solve?

PAM can protect your organization and its systems from abuse by those who dubiously obtain privileged access. Having privileged access management for an active directory can also prevent unscrupulous or careless administrators from making unauthorized system changes or accessing secure data without your knowledge. The real threat of an outside actor gaining access to privileged user credentials and using them to gain access to your system is also less probable with PAM.

What Are Some Privileged Access Management Best Practices?

Privileged access management solutions will be beneficial if you use them correctly. This includes:

·     Only granting access to any user when they need it and swiftly revoking access when they no longer do.

·     Having no “universal privileged” administrators. They should only have privileged access to the systems they are authorized to work on.

·     Using no local system passwords.

·     Keeping an audit trail for any privileged operation the privileged user cannot hide or otherwise alter.

What Are the Elements of Good Privileged Access Management Solutions?

There are several essential elements to a reliable privileged access management solution, including:

·    Access Manager: The access manager is the main module that controls privileged account access. This is the element that defines and enforces access policy. When a user requests access to a system protected by PAM, it goes to the access manager, which you can program with the systems and privileges available to that user. Only a super admin can add or delete privileged users or modify their rights for added protection. Former employees taking advantage of the privileged access you have failed to revoke can cause chaos, so be sure to delete those accounts as soon as possible.

·    Session Manager: The session manager creates a “virtual paper trail” for every privileged user session. This feature allows you to access all the actions the privileged user took in the system during the session. It is unalterable by the privileged user.

·    Password Vault: A password vault allows the system to supply passwords and allow access without the privileged users themselves knowing the actual passwords to avoid added exposure and risk unauthorized personnel gaining access to these passwords. The privileged access management system you use for your business may have other useful security features, but these are an absolute requirement for you to safely provide administrator access to your critical business systems for multiple users.

Choose Optimal IdM for Identity and Access Management Solutions

Optimal IdM has a wide variety of methods for securing your critical systems and allowing secure access for both ordinary users and privileged users. Our solutions are designed to be easy to use and integrate seamlessly with your existing system. To learn more about secure identity authentication and user access methods we provide, contact us today for additional useful identity security information and a free, no-obligation trial of our services.

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