5 Reasons Why Businesses Need Privileged Access Management

Rajesh Garg

04 Nov 2022

2 min read

Privileged access abuse is emerging as one of the most critical security challenges for enterprises, particularly amidst increased vulnerabilities in a distributed work environment. The bad actors of the cyber world are relentlessly looking to exploit identity and access-based vulnerabilities to infiltrate corporate networks. According to India’s nodal cybersecurity agency CERT-In, the country reported over 2 lakh cybersecurity incidents in the first two months of 2022, compared to over 14 lakh total cybersecurity related incidents last year.

Privileged Accounts: Advantages and Risks Galore

When it comes to manipulating IT systems with high business value, privileged users typically have the widest latitude of all. The most technically skilled users in an enterprise are often responsible for deploying and controlling functionalities on which the business depends. This includes anything from day-to-day operations to strategic capabilities that allow a business to maintain its competitive edge. They may also have considerable responsibilities such as ownership of business applications. There are risks to this power, though.

The complexity of IT infrastructure means that even minor changes can lead to unexpected consequences in terms of resource integrity, performance, or availability – even when handled by highly competent staff.

Malicious parties within the organisation and beyond can capitalise on administrative-level access to cause severe damage to the business. Given the increasing stealth and sophistication of modern attacks, it’s not uncommon for hackers to exploit such privileges unbeknownst to trustworthy and capable resources.

Privileged Access Management (PAM) is an aspect of cybersecurity that helps enterprises maintain complete control and visibility over their most critical assets. A robust PAM solution ensures that all user activities, including those of privileged users, are monitored and will be audited in case of a security breach.

Here’s how enterprises can assure themselves of a robust cybersecurity posture with a reliable PAM solution.

Effective access control

It’s easy to assume that privileged access users know what they are doing when accessing systems or that they will inherently do the right thing. However, that isn’t always the case. Monitoring and auditing access controls ensure that all users in the network adhere to the PAM policies established by the organisation. It involves understanding each account’s access, maintaining inventory of privileged accounts, and analysing and monitoring activities of each account

Preventing external and internal threats

External attackers targeting administrative privilege as a tactical objective present the most potent threat. But even highly skilled individuals can become insider threats. Considering the evolving cybersecurity landscape, organisations should deploy more granular control and visibility frameworks over administrative access, regardless of the nature of the systems and where they reside – on the cloud, third party or on-premise data centers.

Preventing external and internal threats

Privileged access management not only reduces the administrative burden on IT teams, but also mitigates potential risks via automation. An automated PAM solution manages passwords, access, and sessions for IT administrators. This includes session recording, implementation of multi-factor authentication (MFA), automated rotation of passwords, and system audit to identify flaws and issues.

Compliance requirements

Auditability of access and authentication is a critical compliance requirement for many organisations. Privileged access activity monitoring is required in varying degrees under regulations such as HIPAA, SOX, PCI DSS, ICS CERT, GLBA, FISMA, and others. Moreover, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates the management of access to critical data, bringing all privileged access into its scope.

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Rajesh Garg

Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Digital Officer - Head of Applications, Cybersecurity & CISO function

With a stellar record in ERP implementations in India, Rajesh leads the 360-degree growth of ERP solutions, cybersecurity solutions, application modernisation, product design and development, and consulting. He brings over 31 years of experience in technology, strategy, transformation, service delivery and assurance.