With great power comes great responsibility – most of us have heard this famous quote. When it comes to businesses and specifically larger organizations, everyone holds a certain amount of power whether it is with employee data, customer data, access to servers, access to sensitive documents, or even access to corporate social media accounts. Granted that the levels of power differ, but does the onus of responsibility lie with the individuals who handle these accesses or with the organization that hands them these responsibilities?
Employees only carry out their responsibilities based on their roles but it is up to the organization to empower them with the right tools to carry them out well. Privileged users are basically users with some elevated accesses, who hold access to sensitive applications or data. Yet, the category of people who come under this term has changed drastically over the last few years. They are no longer just people who might have access to servers – They are people from every department of the organization.
Employees with access to customer data, information collected using marketing forms, people who work in DevOps, and so on – The number of privileged users is now higher than ever. This high number of responsibilities in organizations forms a bigger scale of opportunities for bad actors. With the digital shift that has been accelerated due to the pandemic, the vast threat landscape of the many devices themselves serves as a wider area of opportunities for them. The higher number of such accesses just adds on.
Organizations grant these accesses as a way to have more crucial tasks being taken care of by a large number of people, not as a means to increase security loopholes for themselves. Hence, investing in a robust solution protects and manages privileged access accounts is absolutely essential today.
Four Reasons why Privileged Access Management must be a Priority for Businesses:
1. Adapt to the Changing Definition of Privilege with Security:
According to a Verizon report, 40% of organizations aren’t even aware of the number of privileged accounts in their network. Almost half the companies don’t know who are privileged users. It is, of course, challenging to keep a track of privileged users, stringently rotate their passwords, and ensure the right access is granted to the right person at the right time. However, the only reason it is a challenge is when it is done manually. As the company grows, and the number of privileged users multiply and not just add, it becomes a string of disorganized processes where you don’t know what is happening.
A privileged access management solution lets you breathe easy and automate it all. Be it the identities of your human users, or devices, all of these can be managed and tracked just by setting up your policies, roles, and respective accesses.
2. Ensure Human Mistakes Don’t Cost you Millions:
On average today, every person has 100 passwords according to a study commissioned by NordPass. How many passwords do you expect your employees to remember assuming all of them are unique and not diving into the real possibility that most are repeated or repeated with tweaks? According to a Forrester report, 80% of the data breaches today involve privileged credentials.
According to phishing stats in Keepnet Labs 2020 Phishing Trends Report, employees in departments that handle large-scale data have problems in recognizing phishing emails. And according to APWG Phishing Trends report, in March 2020 alone, 60,000 Phishing websites were detected. These numbers reflect the reality of the dire need for enhanced security, specially for privileged accesses. If one privileged user with a common password across apps, clicks on one phishing link, it would open a gateway into your organization for multiple threats.
The only way to ensure this doesn’t happen is with a robust PAM solution that offers password rotation after every use or once a month or in some cases, passwords might not be involved at all. Through a series of multi-factor authentication systems in place combined with a just in time PAM solution (where accesses are provided only and exactly when needed and revoked after), privileged access are safeguarded.
In the findings of the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Privileged Access Management, researchers predict that by 2024, half of all businesses will implement a just in time (JIT) privileged access model; a JIT privileged access management model suffers from 80% less privileged breaches. They also predicted that by 2024, 65% of businesses using privileged task automation features will save 40% of staff costs for IT operations.
3. Serves as the Right Audit Trail:
Regulatory compliance requirements expected today from organizations mention the security of privileged accesses as one of the key factors. Whether it is the European Union’s GDPR, India’s RBI Compliance, Saudi Arabia’s SAMA Compliance, and more – all of them require your privileged users’ security to be streamlined and protected. With a PAM solution in place, you can have an audit trail for all compliance measures. You can know who has access to what and get timely access reports.
Adhering to these compliance measures isn’t a matter of just staying compliant. It is imperative for security, as adhering to them will have a domino effect of increased security. An organization that is compliant with these regulations will also be more favored by customers, knowing their data is in safe hands.
4. PAM is an Integral part of Holistic Security with Identity Management:
Traditionally, Identity and Access Management solutions comprise of Access Management and Identity Governance and Administration. However, today PAM along with IAM provides the holistic security that you need. It provides you with a deeper understanding of role-based access control systems, ensures there are no SoD conflicts with normal accesses and PAM accesses, while providing insightful reports combining AM and IGA data.
If you implement one solution like Cross Identity, a renowned IAM player recognized as Product & Innovation leader by leading analysts, that provides a centralized point for authentication, authorization, and administration along with a seasoned PAM provider like Thycotic termed as leaders time and again by leading analysts as well – you get one powerful solution. The solution can manage your external as well as internal accesses with ease, leaving you to focus on digital transformation.
A PAM solution is indeed crucial to security, productivity, and most importantly for the smooth functioning of your business.
Thycotic CISO and Privacy Officer, Terence Jackson said in a Q&A, “PAM is part of the journey, not the destination, so have a road-map and make sure you communicate with your team and wider operation, which will allow for your overall security strategy to progress.”
As a security leader, you need to build your case to convince business stakeholders for a solution such as PAM. This can be challenging if you venture out to invest in solutions that do not show immediate ROI or do not provide you with the flexibility you need in terms of deployment and licensing options. If the above scenarios aren’t enough for you and the product details above sound too good to be true to build your case, reach out to Cross Identity and we will ensure you are served with the best in the market.