Things to Consider about Shared Accounts

Things to Consider about Shared Accounts

Mar 13, 2022 / Kron

Digital transformation that the business world is undergoing and the remote working era have jointly given rise to a series of cyber threats for organizations. One of them is shared accounts, which may expose data and the cyber threats related to the supervision of these accounts. IT teams work with privileged accounts of authorized users and third parties in order to organize workflows, which leads to account sharing.

As a matter of fact, account sharing paves the way for data security problems since it requires operating with the same authorized account credentials to authenticate the identity of several users. At this point, the need to carry out necessary audit controls should be underlined. In today's world, where digital transformation and its various elements completely influence business life, it is highly important to be aware of compatibility and security risks related to shared accounts.

Before exploring what should be considered when using shared accounts, let's take a look at what is meant by shared accounts and their basic functions.

What are Shared Accounts?

Shared accounts can simply be defined as sources that only use a single pair of credentials to authenticate the credentials of multiple users. Shared accounts can also mean the accounts jointly used by multiple employees who have privileged access authority.

Since they can connect to e-mail sources, servers, databases, and network tools within the IT infrastructure, shared accounts pose various kinds of cyber risks for organizations. Shared accounts, which can be used for applications, services, system log-ins, timed tasks, and access to common assets, are one of the main reasons why organizations should establish an advanced access security system.

Risks and Challenges Caused by Shared Accounts

Shared accounts may expose organizations to numerous risks. These risks may turn into cases of data breach if necessary cybersecurity measures are not taken. For this exact reason, correctly evaluating the risks and challenges caused by these accounts is of vital importance.

  • Monitoring activities and visibility: One of the core premises of Privileged Access Management systems is detecting which sources are accessed by which users. Shared accounts create major gaps in the working order of the said control mechanism. Therefore, monitoring activities and visibility are highly important for detecting shared accounts that have been compromised. Knowing which users were logged in during a critical data breach makes it easier to take measures.
  • Resignation and changing departments: One of the challenges of controlling shared accounts is the cases of resignation and changing departments. When an employee resigns or changes departments, the changes in credentials pose a threat to the organization. That is because the credentials cannot be scaled, which, in turn, causes human errors.
  • Re-sharing of the shared credentials: This is one of the major challenges. The lack of monitoring of shared accounts creates an incomplete cybersecurity parameter for companies. As a result, sharing the credentials of the employees with persons who may take over these credentials becomes a problem. This way, accounts can be taken over and the credentials of privileged accounts may fall into the hands of various actors.

Shared accounts are digital elements that require a high-level control system as a natural result of being open to sharing between teams, individuals, departments, and organizations. All organizations need to utilize Privileged Access Management solutions and carefully monitor sensitive data stacks in every step of the workflow in order to effectively control user activities in their IT infrastructure and to collect audit trails.

How to Control Shared Accounts?

There are numerous ways to control shared accounts. Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions, which are prominent as they incorporate all these ways, help organizations to establish a strong cybersecurity infrastructure. Before moving on to the operation principles of PAM systems, let's take a look at the four ways of controlling shared accounts.

  • Discover and create profiles for a better control: You can use a network discovery engine to scan, identify and create profiles for all the users and systems on the network. Utilizing a network discovery engine means automatically bringing all accounts under control. Identifying all the assets of the system, creating their profiles and placing them according to certain rules help ensure that the control mechanism is working as well as increase the consistency of cybersecurity policies.
  • Monitor sessions via full playback: Logging privileged sessions in real-time is one of the most efficient ways of controlling shared accounts. Logging the sessions in real-time makes it easier to detect and terminate suspicious account activities.
  • Use a device-based, corporate password manager which offers a wide platform support: Make sure that the cybersecurity solution provider of your IT infrastructure oversees the privileged password and account management from a single server while offering operating systems, applications, databases, devices and directory support.
  • Make work easier with standard desktop tools: You should use standard desktop tools which support cybersecurity solutions such as Microsoft Terminal Services Client, RDP, SSH, and PuTTY, and make your IT infrastructure open to integration with various cybersecurity applications.

Bring Shared Accounts Under Control with Privileged Access Management

Privileged Access Management solutions make it easier to control shared accounts thanks to their modules. Privileged Session Manager, Dynamic Password Controller, Two-Factor Authentication, Database Access Manager, Dynamic Data Masking and Privileged Task Automation modules that can be found in an advanced PAM solution contribute to ensuring cybersecurity of shared accounts with their various features.

  • Privileged Session Manager: This module allows you to manage all sessions on the network from a single center. This way, all the activities of the authorized accounts are supervised throughout the network and potential data breaches can be prevented.
  • Dynamic Password Controller: This module, which makes it possible to control all the passwords on the network, also features a password vault. Password vault increases security to top-level by storing the passwords of authorized accounts isolated from the network.
  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): 2FA requires simultaneous authentication of place and time from the users who want to access the network. After the authentication of place and time, the users are granted access if their privileged credentials match.
  • Database Access Manager and Dynamic Data Masking: The database access manager feature of the module allows the real-time logging of every activity carried out on the network by database managers. Dynamic data masking feature, on the other hand, eliminates any and all question marks about the workflow on the network by logging every activity in the IT infrastructure.
  • Privileged Task Automation: This module contributes to maintaining business continuity by automating routine tasks of the network. Automating routine tasks plays a significant role in eliminating human errors.

Our Privileged Access Manager solution Single Connect protects your organization at the ultimate level against cybersecurity threats that may be caused by shared accounts. Single Connect helps you to establish an advanced cybersecurity infrastructure thanks to its high-tech solutions. Feel free to contact us and ask your questions to our team to learn more about the unique features of Single Connect.

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