What is Privileged Session Manager? How Does It Work?

What is Privileged Session Manager? How Does It Work?

Oct 10, 2021 / Kron

In today's world where digital transformation is the cornerstone of the business world, one of the crucial way of ensuring cyber security and sensitive data security is to manage and control the privileged sessions/accounts. In an environment where companies and institutions process millions of data in a short span of time, the importance of accessing critical data securely has become evident, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. Various types of sensitive data such as personal data and the financial and operational data of companies and institutions that can be classified as commercial data could be accessed by hundreds or thousands of users on a daily basis. So how can you control these accesses from privileged accounts?

You can manage the users that have access your critical data through a Privileged Access Management solution which is called Privileged Session Manager that creates another protection layer both for your critical data and privileged users.

The Privileged Session Manager prevents data breaches that may occur due to lack of monitoring and helps companies to be protected in terms of cyber security. An efficient control mechanism established on privileged accounts allows full control of privileged sessions and enables businesses to combat data breaches effectively.

If privileged session control is not established using Privileged Session Manager (PSM), access management may be complicated, central access and privileged access control may be lost, privileges that are not required may be granted to users, malicious software may spread in the system faster and remote access may be granted to third parties which are not credible.

Now let's review the working principles of the Privileged Session Manager, one of the fundamental methods to establish data security against cyber threats, and outline the tricks and tips to establish enhanced access management.

What is the Privileged Session Manager?

The Privileged Session Manager (PSM) can be defined as an enhanced cyber threat precaution that allows organizations to manage, monitor, and control the privileged accounts in the network and in turn, secure the privileged access of the devices in the system against internal and external threats.

The PSM controls all IT manager sessions and creates video recordings of the devices in the network as well as virtual servers, and has the ability to control any privileged session from start to end. The PSM can also monitor various network components such as employees, third parties, and integrated systems via session control authorization.

How Does the Privileged Session Manager Work?

Utilized to monitor, manage, and control encrypted manager sessions, the PSM acts as a gateway between the session manager, the users, and the target endpoints. Its man-in-the-middle approach, which is the fundamental reason behind Privileged Session Manager's functional operating principle, eliminates the need to establish any middleware software at target endpoints. Thanks to this man-in-the-middle approach, access portals or client applications are not required to establish a connection.

Developed to protect sensitive data stacks, The Privileged Session Manager has a very high application speed and no impact on end-user experience. It authenticates the identities of privileged accounts through the organization's current directory service, and after the authentication phase, it starts monitoring all the session operations. The logs, audit trails, videos, and statistics indexed through the monitoring process are recorded.

Furthermore, any special policy in alignment with the Principle of Least Privilege can easily be created through the PSM. Personalized assignments, including special user groups, can be carried out in order to establish a security protocol that will support the policy in question. Helping organizations avoid data breaches and implement privileged account access security with its functional features, the operating method of the PSM can be detailed in six steps:

  1. The user initiates a session with their own username and password.
  2. A connection is established between the user and the Privileged Session Manager and the PSM displays the devices which the user has permission to access.
  3. The user selects the target device they want to connect to.
  4. The PSM then determines a username and a password, and initiates a session to the target device.
  5. A session is established between the PSM and the target device.
  6. In the last step, the two separate sessions between the user and the PSM, and the device and the PSM, are connected back-to-back. The PSM acts as the man-in-the-middle here and thus has full visibility and full control. When the user enters a command in their own CLI screen, the PSM receives and processes this command and then decides whether the command will be forwarded to the target device or not.

What are the Benefits of the Privileged Session Manager?

Supporting various interfaces such as SSH/TELNET for command line interface sessions, RDP/VNC for remote desktop access, and SFTP for file transfer, the Privileged Session Manager offers a superior access security experience for organizations thanks to features such as full visibility, detailed audit logs, disabling inactive privileged accounts, and context-sensitive policy.

Here are some of the featured benefits of the Privileged Session Manager:

  1. Full visibility
  2. Detailed audit logs
  3. Full compliance to regulations
  4. Application of the "Principle of Least Privilege" for critical data stacks
  5. Context-sensitive policy
  6. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  7. Removing weak or expired passwords from the system
  8. Time-based access restrictions
  9. Object Character Recognition (OCR) for RDP session log
  10. Double control (Four eyes or the second eye)
  11. Access to multiple target devices with one username and password
  12. Automated entry
  13. Password-sharing cancellation
  14. Unequivocally ensuring that the user connecting to the target device is real
  15. Automatically removing the privileged account when an employee leaves the company
  16. Creating a new account with accurate privileges when a new employee joins the company

If you want to make use of the Privileged Session Manager, mentioned in the Gartner’s “Critical Capabilities” report as “best in class”, or you are considering establishing end-to-end data security, you can review our Single Connect solution, featured in Gaertner’s Magic Quadrant for PAM report two times in a row as one of the most advanced PAM applications.

Please feel free contact us for further information.

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