5 Important PAM Features You Need to Understand

Privileged access is still the main target for the cyber criminals, as it leads them to the most critical IT-infrastructure resources. Unfortunately, even though it is a known fact that about 80% of breaches involve access to such accounts, most organizations still put off PAM implementation.

There is no need for a burglar to break the door if it’s kept open, the same way attackers are no longer trying to “hack”, they simply use compromised credentials. At the moment, everyone already understands the existence of this problem and its severity, but not everyone has an idea of ​​how PAM can solve it. Let us guide you through the world of privileged access management and help you to recognize some of the important features which can save your company from an operation disruption.

Password Vaulting

It allows you to take highly-privileged accounts and passwords out of the direct control of IT staff, and to store them securely in a software vault. 

The vault controls who is allowed access, for how long and at what moment. This reduces the risk of both internal or external threats. Role-based access control mechanism controls access to protect passwords in the vault. Users can’t directly access it, but they can connect to PAM and choose an enabled target resource for connection. Then PAM extracts the password and provides privileged credentials to the proxied connection, so this operation is transparent for the users. The vault may include additional security features. This is a key element of PAM which provides efficient IT security.

Privileged Remote Access Management

Remote access is still giving a great headache to many cybersecurity professionals. Whether it is access granted to vendors or to employees who work remotely, in any case, you need to be always prepared, and effectively control it.

Using a dedicated solution to monitor the external personnel activity, can allow you to shrink the attack surface associated with their work in your company’s IT infrastructure. You can implement a single tool for managing privileged access rights which will also reduce the workload for your own employees.

In order to neutralize the threats, PAM supports following features:

  • Temporary access
  • Scheduled access
  • Access after confirmation
  • Access by request

User Activity Recording

An efficient PAM solution establishes sessions for every privileged user. In order to maintain security privileged user actions should be recorded in different formats, including video and text recording, screenshots, keylogging etc. 

In addition PAM supports features, which can identify user operations such as input text commands, executed applications, performed operations, and transmitted files. Moreover, PAM is accurate in recording screen mouse movements and keystrokes. Also it records metadata for any session, such as source address and time of connection.

Access to the list of user activities in the management console allows you to quickly identify causes of resource failures and take measures to minimize the consequences.

Real-time visibility and alerting

Using automatic analysis functions for recorded data and recognized operations you can not only evaluate the productivity of employees and third-party performers, but also identify various anomalies, such as unusual mouse movement patterns or non-standard connection source addresses. During recognized operations, PAM can generate a fairly large amount of such data. So Big Data analysis methods are well applicable to them and allow you to build a comprehensive picture of the features of the current privileged user activity.

In order to mitigate a risk when suspicious activity is detected, you should immediately take preventative actions. Efficient PAM enables you to create alerts and quickly address any threats.

Activities Control & Privilege Evaluation

One of the most impressive features of PAM is the ability to influence the session and actions of privileged users.

After identifying the current activities, PAM can block their execution or terminate the user session or request confirmation from the responsible person. It allows you to implement deeper and more flexible rights settings for privileged users when they work with critical IT-resources. 

For special cases, you can enable privilege elevation features. This allows situations where the user connects to the target resource with an unprivileged account but, if they need to execute critical operation (via sudo in Linux or via an administrative account in Windows), PAM will execute the command or run the application with elevated privileges.

Implementing an efficient PAM solution that addresses your tasks is the only way to move forward toward a sustainable future of your company. It may seem to be a hopeless assignment to find the product that suits your every need but starting with the list of must-haves can prove to be very helpful. After deciding on the essentials, you should also make a list of additional capabilities that will be useful in the future. In case if the features you are looking for are quite specific, a well designed and easy to deploy product from a customer oriented vendor can prove to be a good choice.

Learn about the Axidian Privilege capabilities by requesting a quick product demo.