The Privileged Access Management Journey in Cybersecurity

The Privileged Access Management Journey in Cybersecurity

Jun 26, 2022 / Kron

Offering more than the basic operations and standard controls you require for standard users, Privileged Access Management allows you to protect target systems and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) systems. With its high level of cybersecurity capability, Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions can monitor the visibility and movements of privileged accounts of all the assets in your IT infrastructure 24/7.

Privileged access is an authorization methodology used when you want to securely interact with an entity (human or machine), IT network, or digital system. In a PAM environment, whether you are accessing the corporate IT network or the cloud using an administrator account or as a user with authorized access privileges, all activities are vetted with the goal of securing your entire infrastructure.

In an era where digital transformation changes the basic dynamics of the business world, the capabilities of PAM applications are critical in terms of data and access security and are not limited to making your IT network safe in general. They can also detect data breaches instantly, allow you to respond to them in real-time, and assist your development process by taking part in the creation of detailed status reports afterwards.

Gap Analysis in Privileged Access Management

Gap Analysis can be defined as the first stage required to determine the maturity level of the PAM model you implement in your company, comparing it with your standard needs. This analysis is essential to accurately determine the data and access security capacity of your IT network, preparing you for other important stages required to achieve your cybersecurity goals. The Gap Analysis includes four steps:

  • Current situation: Analysis of the PAM model currently implemented in your company
  • Intended situation: Analysis of the identified PAM requirements
  • Gap: The difference between the applied model and the target model
  • Improvement: Establishing an improvement plan and a roadmap to correct gaps in the direction of the organization’s requirements and obligations

The analysis of the current situation is essential in terms of preventing unauthorized access. You must ensure the right user can access the right resource, at the right time, in the right place, for the right reason, and that you are able to monitor, record, and control this privileged account management 24/7. In order to satisfy all these requirements, you must first analyze the current situation accurately and develop your initial plan accordingly.

Key Features of POC and Privileged Access Management

Because a POC is so important to understand the basic features of PAM, detailing the POC can be useful for evaluating key features of Privileged Access Management applications.

  • Discovery: Continuous discovery of privileged accounts
  • Single Connect synchronizes privileged users’ account information with AD/LDAP directories, thanks to its Active Directory Integration, ensuring the whole directory is kept up-to-date.
  • Preventing credential disclosure: Single Connect can provide controlled access to an IT network without any credentials disclosure. Credentials can be securely transferred through RDP/SSH/Network Device connections of the target devices via Single Connect.
  • Removing old passwords: Single Connect automatically changes all privileged account credentials and passwords at regular intervals. Single Connect may regularly request a change of the passwords of the following account types:
    • Windows Server Accounts
    • Active Directory Accounts
    • Linux Accounts
    • Network Device Accounts
  • Applying the principle of least privilege: User accounts must be configured with the minimal privileges necessary to perform their respective tasks.
    • Data and access security policies regarding the least privilege policy for privileged users should be defined.
    • Specific policies should be developed to limit the target access points that users can reach.
    • User permissions on target access points should be limited.
  • Ensuring reliability and accountability: You must ensure that users use privileged accounts only for legitimate business purposes. Single Connect provides the best implementation of the principle of least privilege, with the following two features.
    • MFA Authentication for privileged access
    • Multi-level administrative approval for privileged access
  • Audit and analysis: The visibility of the activities of privileged users in the IT network should be tracked. Single Connect supports this, thanks to its different logging features.
    • Session Logs
    • Authentication Logs
    • Single Connect User Interface Activity Logs
  • “Break the glass in an emergency” scenario: Certain procedures must be established to recover data and passwords.

For a mature PAM environment, the Dynamic Password Controller, Privileged Session Manager, and Multi-Factor Authentication features must be fully operational in order to ensure the minimum level of privileges within your company’s IT infrastructure. The Dynamic Password Controller ensures that the passwords in the system are managed from one central instance and that your security is enhanced with the creation of unique passwords. In addition, this feature ensures that your passwords are kept in encrypted safes. The Privileged Session Manager helps you control all sessions in the system, 24/7. In addition, Multi-Factor Authentication requires location and time information simultaneously from users who request access to the system. The fact that the managed passwords are short-term and completely independent from each other, reduces the risk of data breaches.

PAM Project Process, Planning and Assignment of Responsibilities

Two basic approaches, user/team-based and host-based, stand out in the PAM project processes and assignment of responsibilities. It should be noted that the following value tracking steps are common both approaches:

  1. Initiation and Planning
  2. PAM Platform and Integration
  3. Configuration and Development
  4. Test
  5. Deploy, Release, Handover

The user/team-based approach features a set of users from contractors, web applications, and support teams. Here you specify the hosts and servers that these users need to access for legitimate business purposes and the users to whom such access will be granted.

In the host-based approach, a web server or pre-production management is required. Control of the privileges that can be accessed on this web server is provided for each user.

After planning the process, responsibilities are assigned. At this point, a RACI matrix is ​​created based on internal requirements and the responsible users. In the RACI matrix, there are details about who, when, and how the duties, responsibilities, and authorizations will be carried out.

Solving Challenges in the Privileged Access Management Onboarding Process

With standard PAM applications, there are some challenges to overcome during the onboarding process. Because of these challenges, high care and sustained control are required while using the system. Our PAM solution, Single Connect, is unparalleled at resolving the challenges that arise during the onboarding process. So, what are these challenges?

  • Credential Discovery and Onboarding
  • Preventing Credential Exposure
  • Principle of Least Privilege
  • Ensuring Trust and Accountability
  • Auditing and Regulatory Compliance
  • Preventing Stale Passwords
  • Eliminating Embedded Credentials

By eliminating the above challenges and thus providing enhanced data and access security in your IT infrastructure, Single Connect offers a defense strategy beyond zero trust and basic compliance requirements. Minimalist checkpoints provide basic protection, but building the defense system through these points may often have negative consequences.

That's why expanding the standard scope of PAM control, and selecting our comprehensive Single Connect platform that meets high PAM standards, can provide better protection for your company against cyber risks.

Contact us to learn more about our Single Connect solution, which has been included in the global PAM reports prepared by Gartner, KuppingerCole and Omdia, thanks to its zero trust and least privileged approach, making it the preferred choice of many global companies.

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