In the previous part of this blog, we discussed the risks associated with privileged accounts and how Privileged Access Management tools benefit a business. But the story doesn’t end here. We wish to get a clear picture of what the market for PAM tools looks like. The blog covers various trends driving the adoption of PAM in the market and some of the best practices businesses should follow to secure their privileged accounts. We also highlight key capabilities of PAM tools that end-users can look out for to choose the right solution for their needs.
Trends Driving Market Adoption for PAM
1. Growing risks
With the authority to access sensitive organizational data, privileged accounts become an easy target for cyber attackers. They can also access the organization’s intellectual property, classified information, and personal records. With privileged access, the risk of these accounts being hacked increases. It can harm the organization for financial gain or to sabotage the organization. In this context, PAM technology helps businesses break the kill chain, stop attackers, and curb data breaches by preventing unauthorized access to privileged accounts along with efficient monitoring, recording, and auditing of the same. Thereby, most organizations are adopting PAM solutions to secure their data from insider attacks and security breaches.
2. Cloud and Hybrid IT structure expanding the attack surface
Sachin Birajdar, Analyst at Quadrant Knowledge Solutions says, ‘Privileged Access Management solutions are evolving and getting more robust traction due to the increased adoption of cloud and hybrid infrastructure for effective management and access to information or data from any devices or locations in less time’.
Enterprises are quickly adopting cloud infrastructure and virtualization which helps them save cost and improve information security as well as operational efficiency. Especially moving towards a hybrid work environment, coping with identities and resources across these platforms is wanting. It increases the attack surface area, exposing them to cybersecurity vulnerabilities. As a result, the organization needs a unified solution to secure sensitive data shared between the private and/or public cloud which makes way for the adoption of PAM. A complete PAM solution allows enterprises to pro-actively secure and manage their cloud and multi-cloud infrastructure, including traditional data centers, software-defined data centers, and virtual infrastructures by continuously detecting and remediating over-permissioned identities.
3. Regulations and Compliances becoming complex
Global regulations and compliance requirements such as GDPR, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, NIS, ISO-27001, FISMA, and others are made to help organizations upgrade security, information theft, or misuse of data. They are becoming essential drivers for the adoption of PAM solutions across industries. Driven by the strict standards for compliance and regulations, businesses are implementing robust PAM solutions to avoid and prevent security breaches along with strengthening compliance with global regulations.
4. Proliferation of IoT devices
With the increasing popularity of Bring your own device (BYOD), Wear your own device (WYOD), and other IoT devices, the enterprises’ susceptibility to risks has also increased. It has become important for the Chief Security Officers and IT leaders to secure their enterprise by establishing a BYOD and other IoT devices security policy and implementing it strictly across the organization. They must set up a network for secured connection or adopt a multi-layered security solution to detect and block malicious activity. Comes into the picture PAM solutions. PAM helps them safeguard their privileged accounts from suspicious activities, cybersecurity threats, and unauthorized access along with offering a centralized platform to manage access to all the systems that govern BYOD/WYOD and IoT devices-related policy and record audit trail of privileged activities. Such attractive features in times of massive proliferation of IoT devices have led to greater adoption of PAM by enterprises.
Best Practices to secure your Privileged Accounts
A business must take the necessary steps to ensure security of its privileged accounts. All the PAM vendors we interviewed also agreed on the importance of adopting some principles and activities as best practices so that their privileged accounts are protected against malicious activities, risks and threats. Based on our research and inputs from the vendors we talked to, here are some of the best practices that an enterprise can adopt:
- Implement a principle of least privileges in your enterprise. Only privileged accounts should be able to access a particular resource. In this, you can consider adopting temporary and/or role-based access control.
- In temporary privileged access, you only give access to the concerned person when needed and then remove it once the task is done.
- In role-based access, the access levels differ based on a person’s role and requirement in the system.
Granting least privileged access in such a way makes it easy to manage and secure the system against risks.
- Draft a formal policy for privileged accounts. You need to map all the stakeholders, key requirements, and respective use cases of privileged accounts across the organization. With this knowledge, draft a policy that clarifies who is granted access and when, what kinds of privileged accounts are there in your enterprise, and defines roles and responsibilities of the users. Revisit this policy regularly to ensure that best practices are up to date.
- Building on it, the security leaders should go for a top-down strategy, which means that they should obtain support from the top management. The upper management must be looped in the whole process of determining user access, roles, and use cases for such accounts.
- Keep track of all the privileged accounts. You must monitor and log all the privileged accounts activities in those accounts regularly. This gives enough information to identify potential risks and take necessary measures to avoid them.
- Another recommended best practice under this is to change or remove embedded credentials and default usernames & passwords for the privileged accounts and devices. Take inventory of all these credentials. This helps you avoid the problems created by excessive privileges and easy-to-guess passwords.
- Lastly, you must also educate your staff and privileged account users to understand the best practices, guard against phishing, and avoid password sharing. Proper training empowers the users to be proactive when it comes to security.
All this could be quite overwhelming for an organization, especially when it has many other things to attend to. That is why you must implement a Privileged Access Management tool in your organization. It is a one-stop solution that will take care of all the points mentioned above and offer many other capabilities.
Here are some of the Key capabilities you can look for in PAM tools:
- Detecting and responding to threats in real-time with advanced Technologies like AI & ML
- Credentials management
- Scalability and flexibility
- Risk-based Session Monitoring
- Advanced Threat Protection
- Task automation
- Privileged access governance
- Streamlining of Identity lifecycle management
- Predictive user analytics
- Endpoint Privilege Management
While purchasing a PAM tool, the buyers should look out for all these capabilities along with other additional features in the PAM solution offered by the tech provider. The extent of domain knowledge and expertise of the vendor is also an important factor. A buyer has to consider how the shortlisted PAM providers best address their key business needs, evaluate the deployment and operation effort required and how it impacts the total cost of ownership. This is important, given the range of security features offered by PAM tools. The SPARK Matrix report on Privileged Access Management (PAM) by Quadrant Knowledge Solutions gives detailed insights into the above-mentioned capabilities and many more. Apart from that, it also covers strategic competitive analysis, adoption trends, and market dynamics. The vendors are carefully analyzed based on technology excellence and customer impact in the report to guide you in choosing the best vendor for your unique needs.
The Road ahead…
The growing prominence of digitization, cloud platforms, and hybrid/remote work settings are only going to increase the need for PAM solutions for businesses. They must take steps to keep their organizations secure from the threats of cyber-attacks and malicious unauthorized activities. Quadrant Knowledge Solutions keeps track of all that is happening in the industry so that it can guide you to take the right steps to meet your unique business needs. Connect with us to find out more about PAM and many other technologies and their market.
Vaishnavi Dave, Content Writer at Quadrant Knowledge Solutions