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A Short Guide to Privileged Access Management

Every business has sensitive data stored with limited or restricted access. This means that not every employee can get their hands on such information due to its confidentiality or importance for business continuity and daily operations. 
If your business does not have measures in place to give access to only those required, your information can be susceptible to misuse. This should make privileged access management a priority for every business.

What is Privileged Access Management?

Privileged access management (PAM) refers to systems that manage the accounts of employees and other users of your company who have access to the confidential information stored with your organisation
From applications installed on multiple devices to administrators keeping a check on different accounts, PAM is managed by both software and people.
Since privileged users have access to higher levels of your business, including but not limited to confidential information, software and operating systems that are critical for business continuity, they may be a target for cyber attacks and other cyber threats.

Privileged Accounts

A non-privileged account has a limited set of privileges, from internet browsing to accessing an array of information for role-based operations. 
A privileged account, on the other hand, provides access beyond these basic functions. Due to this, they pose a greater chance of risk or threat when compared to non-privileged accounts because of their elevated capabilities.
Specialised IT employees use a type of privilege account, known as superuser accounts, for administrative work and to make system changes if required. These accounts have unrestricted access to files, directories and resources, and possess the power to make systematic changes across the network
What’s more, these accounts can even grant or revoke privileges for other users.  However, if misused, the consequences to the business could be severe.

Types Of Privileged Accounts

Since privileged accounts are of multiple types, each has limitations to what they can do. The different types of accounts are –

  • Local Administrative Account – Provides administrative access to only local hosts, for instance.
  • Domain Administrative Account – Provides access to all servers and workstations across the domain.
  • Firecall Account –  Provides administrative access to secure data only in times of emergency.
  • Service Account – Account used by a network or service to liaise with operating systems.
  • Domain Service Account – Enables changes in the password for accounts.
  • Application Account – Provides access to databases and other applications.

Those from non-IT departments usually have standard access. However, certain employees may have multiple accounts for different operational purposes. They might also instead need to log into a superuser account to carry out the administrative tasks.
That said, since administrative access by itself is of a higher level having privileged access management software in place can reduce the risks and threats for the organisation.

Benefits Of Privileged Access Management

With the presence of privileged access management tools in your system, the security of your business’s IT infrastructure is boosted greatly. Aside from this, PAM also has other benefits that make it an important feature. These include –

1. Protection Against Cyber Threats

While most of your privileged account users will be IT professionals who are aware of best IT practices, they will also be used by people from non-IT departments. These accounts are used by other employees for administrative work and there’s a possibility that they may be used wrongly, leaving your data and resources compromised or vulnerable to cyber threats.
In such cases, while you may have DRaaS and other software in place, PAM can reduce the risks with session management and real-time alerts if any irregularities or potential threats are recognised.

2. Helps Reduce Insider Attacks

Unfortunately, cyber attacks are not just from external sources; they can come from within your organisation too. Whether it is a disgruntled employee or simply an unaware team member, insider attacks can leave your business vulnerable.
With privileged access management, administration and monitoring of accounts is possible as that will help you identify any suspicious activity beforehand to prevent insider attacks from happening.

3. Ensures Compliance With Procedures

Training and making your employees aware about the best cyber security practices is essential. However, to cement this, PAM can prove beneficial for your organisation.
Approval for access, restrictions for each user, multi-factor authentication can all be put in place with this software. 
The audit tools in PAM record all activities and let you monitor the information or networks that are being accessed to ensure compliance with the procedures in place. With this, your operational performance also increases.

Contact Redpalm For Privileged Access Management Solutions

Given the sensitive nature of privileged access, it makes sense to work with a company that understands robust cyber security practices. It’s also essential to partner with an organisation that offers the right solutions that can enhance the overall security of your business.
At Redpalm, cyber security solutions are our core focus, meaning we can create a robust plan to protect your organisation from any threats or attacks. We also offer other IT services and solutions that can help you improve the security of your IT environment.
For comprehensive IT security solutions and services, get in touch with us today!