How to Apply Zero Trust Approach with PAM?

How to Apply the Zero Trust Approach with PAM?

Mar 14, 2021 / Kron

The world’s digitalization is progressing at an unprecedented pace. And this digital world is no longer only a remote concept used by a few industries, but is becoming the very center of our lives from the simplest to the most complex actions of our daily life. Because of this, we keep producing a constantly increasing amount of data with our every action. And this created data is of critical importance for businesses, who use it to create innovation, expand their target audience, provide better services, and easy payment methods, etc.

However, businesses are taking advantage of this not only because of their desire to satisfy their customers. In today's world, where data is power, people with malicious intentions are also following along and trying to manipulate and exploit the potential vulnerabilities and gaps in data and information systems. If you want to ensure the systems you store your data in are safe, consider today's advanced security approach and innovative technologies: Zero Trust and Privileged Access Management (PAM).

What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a strategical cybersecurity model designed to defend and protect digital work environments, such as cloud technologies, SaaS, DevOps, and robotic automatization. Named by the American market research company Forrester's industrial analyst John Kindervag, Zero Trust has spread worldwide with the motto “Never trust, always confirm”. Mega corporations and businesses such as Google started integrating the Zero Trust model into their systems immediately. And after the cyberattacks on the USA Office of Personnel Management in 2015, the US House of Representatives suggested using Zero Trust in government institutions to prevent such situations from happening again, making Zero trust even more relevant.

Zero Trust suggests that businesses rely on no digital personality, regardless of whether they are on or off the network, and that anyone and everything attempting to connect to the network should be verified before accessing or being granted access to data. The system is protected against not only attacks from outside but against malware and individuals inside the system as well. Even if internal threats seem impossible to occur at first glance, many institutions around the globe face such attacks. Besides, internal threats are not always caused by third parties either. Personnel with access to restricted areas can make, by accident or on purpose, 'mistakes' too. This emphasizes the importance of the Zero Trust approach even more.

What is Privileged Access Management (PAM)?

Privileged Access Management (PAM) is a cybersecurity solution designed to provide safer access to your business' sensitive data and digital assets. The process of accessing sensitive data and taking action on it is one of the most important data security aspects, and can help increase the efficiency of your business. The privilege of accessing such sensitive data, however, should not be assigned to every user.

Cybercriminals first try to capture privileged accounts to secure and control the network and the information on it. This allows them to move freely without leaving a trace or causing suspicion. And here is where PAM comes into play.

A PAM application stores and saves the credentials of privileged users in the network in a high security and isolated environment, and ensures these user accounts are always under control. It continuously records the activities of users requesting access, and grants access only when the users fulfil the required conditions.

Zero Trust and PAM

Zero Trust is a model where the user/account privileges or permissions in the network are minimized, their access is managed in a controlled manner and their activities are recorded. This creates the need for an automated system to audit and understand the activities of users on the network. In this sense, Privileged Access Management (PAM) helps to optimally form the IT teams in your business within the Zero Trust model and increase security.

But how will you implement Privileged Access Management in your business according to the Zero Trust principle?

  • Control Authorized Logins: You can monitor and record the activities of privileged accounts in authorized logins. That is the first step in accessing sensitive data. Thanks to Single Connect’s privileged session manager, you can track anomalies and intervene in suspicious activities in real-time. This way, you take the first step in establishing a layered authorization management of the Zero Trust model.
  • Verify privileged users: You can verify privileged accounts accessing your organization’s sensitive data by using a multi-factor authentication (mfa) solution. You can prevent the sharing of passwords with the use of single-use (OTP) and complex passwords. By tracking the activities of privileged accounts and forming a multi-layered defense mechanism, you can conform with the access management policies of the Zero Trust method.
  • Keep passwords safe: You can control logins to environments where sensitive data is stored by keeping the passwords privileged users use to access this data in a password vault. And you can manage access to sensitive data by granting access only when you choose to or under conditions you can personalize, instead of handing out access whenever the users want. This can help you meet the Zero Trust model requirements of logging and tracking.
  • Mask Your Data: You can mask your actual data against privileged accounts, apps, and third parties, or you can make them work with fictitious data without having to make any changes to your actual data. With data masking you can maximize data privacy and also meet the Zero Trust condition of limiting the activities of privileged accounts.
  • Apply the Least Privilege principle: As an information assurance method, apply the Least Privilege principle that ensures privileged accounts carry out their duty with the least information and skills necessary using the various authorization levels that a PAM solution offers. This allows you to fulfill other requirements of Zero Trust, like multi-level authorization, and multi-layer access management.
  • Trace and track each step: A PAM solution that includes all the requirements of the Zero Trust model, offers businesses the opportunity to prevent identity & information theft and the abuse of privileged accounts, as well as monitor suspicious activities by keeping a log of all activities in the system.

Since the Zero trust model was designed to make information technology systems and data, the lifelines of your business, more secure, you can combine suitable technologies and accounts and protect your business by integrating todays leading cybersecurity strategies. With Kron’s Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution, Single Connect, which was included in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for PAM report, you too can apply the Zero Trust approach and achieve maximum data security in your business.

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