Privileged Access Management (PAM) is a set of policies, processes, and tools to control and manage privileged account access, users, and credentials. Privileged accounts are the administrative accounts that have access to critical organizational assets. 


How does Privileged Access Management (PAM) work?

Privileged access management (PAM) systems manage the relationship between individual users, and the ability to privileged data or commands.

In essence, privileged access management systems:

  • Ensure that only the users who need to access a certain set of privileges will access the system.
  • Ensure that privileged access is used only when needed.
  • Ensure that privileged access is centrally managed and can be granted and revoked quickly. 
  • Ensure that an audit trail exists for every privileged access that takes place.

Why Privileged Access Management?

Privileged users hold the “keys to the kingdom”. They have access to the most critical parts of company infrastructure. Hence, their credentials are often the target of cyber attacks. Access to a privileged user's account can cause catastrophic damage to the business, giving rise to the need for a separate privileged access management solution.

Privileged access is everywhere

The need for privileged access management exists in most systems; including servers, network devices, and IT environments. Hence, a PAM solution is essential to ensure that all privileged accounts are centralized.

Privileged accounts are powerful

Privileged accounts have access to a company's confidential data and systems. Sufficiently privileged accounts can grant access to other uses, making them dangerous if not managed efficiently.

Privileged accounts are challenging to manage

Privileged account access is difficult to discover, and is hence difficult to manage and secure without the right set of tools.

Hence, because of all the reasons mentioned above, it makes sense to deploy a solution i.e. a PAM system that makes privileged access monitoring, auditing and reporting easy.

 

What are the challenges of deploying Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions?

The major challenges with privileged access management include but are not limited to the following:

Impedes Access

It's true that a PAM system adds some steps to become a privileged user, and some users may consider these steps to be an impediment. However, the extra time it takes to achieve the proper level of access using a PAM system is a worthwhile tradeoff given the alternative of having no accountability when privileged access is used.

Solution: A PAM solution that offers a simple way to grant privileged access that is not cumbersome to a company's engineers.

Access Management

One of the most important benefits and applications of privileged access management is managing access to privileged accounts. Even privileged users can cause internal data breaches, so users should only be given privileged access to systems and data if they need it, and only when they need it.

Solution: A system for access management that is automated and easy to maintain.

Auditing and monitoring

Another major challenge with PAM systems is auditing and monitoring access to privileged accounts. Auditing is a huge logistical challenge for organizations, and if not done properly, the lack of auditing and monitoring can lead to immense damage.

Monitoring access to all privileged databases and files is mandatory for a good PAM solution. 

Solution: A comprehensive logging system that generates and saves audit logs and tracks privileged access. 

Scalability

The scalability of PAM systems is another major challenge faced by many organizations. This is exponentially increased in the case of rapidly expanding companies, whose systems struggle to keep up with the increasing number of privileged users.

Manual supervision of privileged access accounts is near to impossible for a large organization. Improper scaling mechanisms can make organizations immensely vulnerable to attacks.

Solution: An automated system that monitors but also effectively scales privileged account access.

Balancing security and simplicity

Security is the utmost concern when it comes to privileged access management. However, there must be a perfect balance between security and simplicity to ensure that a PAM solution is easy to use. Creating accounts, granting access, revoking access, and managing situations when a user is locked out is something that takes up a lot of time for IT administrators. 

Solution: A system that is not just secure, but has an easy-to-use interface that allows self-service as much as possible.

Compliance

Another major reason why companies are looking to adopt PAM solutions is for compliance and governance. Compliances like PCI, SOC 2, and SOX require organizations to establish processes that control privileged access.

Solution: A solution that supports compliance, automates audit log reporting and generates comprehensive reports.

Cost

PAM solutions used to be very costly and can set back small businesses and organizations with a huge amount of money. Not all organizations can invest thousands of dollars in a PAM solution.

Solution: A PAM solution that offers the features of an enterprise grade on-prem product, but in the cloud to reduce the cost.

How can Foxpass help?

Foxpass is an Privileged Access Management solution that automates server and network access in minutes and protects your infrastructure from breaches. Foxpass puts security and reliability at the front, integrates easily with whatever identity systems you have in place, and does all this at up to an 80% lower price than the competition.

Additionally, Foxpass offers a full-fledged API that can help you automate and manage user permissions with ease, eliminating the challenge of productive provisioning. It logs authentication requests for greater visibility into your infrastructure, and you can use these logs for compliance and governance requirements too.

Foxpass also offers self-service SSH keys and password management, removing the IT team overhead. Its effortless integration with your existing infrastructure is the icing on the cake, that makes Foxpass and must-have for identity and access management.