How to Apply Zero Trust Approach with PAM?

How to Apply Zero Trust Approach with PAM?

Mar 14, 2021 / Kron

World is digitalizing at an unprecedented pace. And this digitalizing world is no longer only a remote concept used by few industries, it is becoming the very center of our lives from the simplest actions to our daily life. For this reason, we keep producing a constantly increasing amount of data in this online world with our every action and process. And this created data is of critical importance for businesses. Businesses taking advantage of technology are using these data to create innovation, expand their target audience, provide better services and easy payment, etc.

However, it is not only the businesses desire to satisfy their customers taking advantage of this. In today's world, where data is power, people with malicious intentions are following the whole world and trying to manipulate and exploit the potential vulnerabilities and gaps in data and information systems as well. If you want to ensure that the systems you store your data are safe, let us introduce you to today's 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 American market research company Forrester's industrial analyst John Kindervag, Zero Trust has spread to the world with the motto “Never trust, always confirm”. Mega corporations and businesses such as Google started integrating the Zero Trust model into their systems in no time. 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 and this made Zero trust even more famous.

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 granting access to data. Therefore, 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. Accessing sensitive data and taking action on these is one of your most important assets that can help increase the efficiency of your business. The privilege of accessing such data is, however, should not be the privilege of  every user.

Cybercriminals first try to capture the authorized accounts of a network to acquire the network and information on it. Thus, they can move freely without leaving a trace or causing any doubt. This is where PAM comes into play.

PAM stores and saves credentials of authorized users in the network in high security and isolated environment and ensures that these user accounts are always under control. It continuously records the activities of users requesting access and grants access only when the users provides 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 apply Privileged Access Management in your business according to Zero Trust principles?

  • Control Authorized Logins: You can monitor and record the activities of authorized accounts in authorized logins that is the first step of accessing sensitive data. Thanks to the privileged session manager, you can track anomalies and interfere with suspicious cases in real-time. Therefore, you take the first step of layered authorization management of the Zero Trust model.
  • Verify authorized users: You can verify the authorized accounts accessing the sensitive data of your institution via the two-factor authentication (2FA) solution and you can prevent sharing of passwords with single-use (OTP) and complex passwords. You can both track activities of authorized accounts with this and form a multi-layered defense mechanism, and you can conform to the access management policies of the Zero Trust method.
  • Keep the passwords safe: You can control logins to environments where the sensitive data is stored by keeping the passwords the privileged users use to access these data in a dynamic password controller (also known as password vault). And you can manage access to sensitive data by granting access only when you choose or under conditions you can personalize instead of handing out access whenever the users like. Thus, you can meet the requirements of logging and tracking of Zero Trust model.
  • Mask Your Data: You can mask your actual data against the authorized accounts, apps, and third parties or you can make them work on set-up data without having to make any changes in your actual data. With data masking you can maximize data privacy and also meet the condition of limiting the processes of privileged accounts according to Zero Trust.
  • Apply Least Privilege principles: As an information assurance method, apply the Least Privilege principles that ensure privileged accounts carry out their duty with the least information and skills using various authorization levels that a PAM solution offers. Therefore, you will also 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 application methods of the Zero Trust model, offers businesses the opportunity to prevent identity & information theft and abuse of privileged accounts, and to 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, 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 the Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution Single Connect which is also 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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