Privileged Access Management as a part of Identity and Access Management (IAM)
Identity and access management (IAM) and identity management (IdM) are important keywords in today’s information security landscape, and privileged access management is a part of the same security paradigm. None of them is a purely technological solution but a discipline that can be practiced with know-how, management and software and service solutions.
As Gartner writes in their IT Glossary:
“Identity and access management (IAM) is the discipline that enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons.”
“Enterprises that develop mature IAM capabilities can reduce their identity management costs and, more importantly, become significantly more agile in supporting new business initiatives.”
So, managing identities and access is not just a question of cyber security but a precondition for a modern organization to develop its business to a new level.
What Is Privileged Access Management (PAM)?
Privileged access is a term to describe access or abilities in an IT environment that go above and beyond those of a standard user. In the most basic sense privileged access management means that users don’t have admin rights or any other access rights but those pertinent to their role and job functions.
Privileged access has several benefits, including but not limited to:
- secure infrastructure, user identities, and applications
- confidentiality of high-value and sensitive data
- less worries and redundant tasks for administrators and IT support
- more efficient operations and more reliable business.
In addition to those mentioned, one crucial aspect of privileged access management is the possibility to build a centrally managed IT environment. As clearly defined admin roles and functional cyber security are paramount for centralized IT management, an environment without privileged access management can’t really be centrally managed.
Watch Our Webinar on Zero Trust
Centero webinar Zero Trust and Best Practices for Securing Endpoint Applications with renowned cyber security expert Sami Laiho is available for you to view.
No More Admin Rights for Me, Then?
Privileged access management doesn’t mean that every user is forever banned from performing admin-level operations or accessing data they are not normally privy to. On the contrary, PAM is about providing the possibility to perform actions requiring elevated rights – but only when needed.
There are several legitimate reasons in different organizations that a user would need to perform an operation or access data beyond their privileges, and that’s when different kinds of access management tools come in.
Users may of course have different kinds of questions and worries, some more rational than others, such as:
Working as a software developer myself, I need privileged access constantly.
With an up-to-date access management solution and a centrally managed IT environment, you can get temporarily elevated access anytime you need, in a secure and monitored manner.
Our organization’s IT environment has not been updated in a while and we are not sure if we can even have privileged access management.
There can be various reasons why an organization’s IT infrastructure is out of date, including past mergers, problems in the organizational culture, and lack of IT resources. But it is never too late to update both the way of thinking and the way things are done. Privileged access management is relatively simple and cost-efficient to implement nowadays, with the right solution provider, and definitely one of the most cost-efficient ways to improve cyber security.
Can’t I install games and other fun stuff on my laptop anymore?
Oh my. It is quite possible you can’t – but then again, your laptop or other workstation is meant primarily for working, we presume. Have you considered purchasing a gaming computer or maybe an Xbox?
Why do we even have to limit admin rights as there haven’t been any problems?
First of all, congratulations, as you have seemingly been very lucky! But it is completely possible that your environment is full of ghost admins and vulnerabilities that just haven’t been exploited yet. Every credible IT expert thinks that admin rights should be limited, and not managing access enables ransomware and other cyber security threats to do much more damage than they otherwise could.
I’m afraid PAM will just make my work so much harder.
There is no reason to be afraid. For example, Centero Carillon actually makes users’ lives easier because they don’t have to remember separate passwords and user IDs anymore. All organizations that want to develop their operations take access management seriously, and users should get used to both 2-factor authentication (2FA) and single sign-on (SSO), because they provide better information security and a better user experience at the same time.
How to Choose Your PAM Solution?
There are several different aspects to consider when implementing a privileged access management solution to your IT infrastructure. Not all service providers are suitable for all organizations, as some solutions require for example a larger infrastructure or don’t answer to remote work requirements.
Some questions you may want to ask, are:
- What kind of infrastructure does the service require, and what does it require from individual workstations?
- Does the service work offline?
- Can you manage and monitor access rights on the basis of user identities, endpoints, networks, applications, and environments?
- Is the service available cloud-based?
- Is there an application-level interface for users?
- Can you configure a temporary admin right for a domain ID?
- Can you manage devices linked to Azure AD?
- Does the service keep a log on what the admin rights have been used for?
Does Neglected Data Security Affect Your Business?
Take Centero test to find out are data security issues taken care of in your organization! By taking the test you will also receive valuable advice in your email on security issues.
Centero Carillon – Yes to Better Security, No to Pointless Admin Rights
Our privileged access management solution is called Centero Carillon. It enables you to manage local user IDs and groups in Windows devices in an efficient and centralized manner. With Centero Carillon, you can easily grant temporary admin rights in your Windows environment and enhance security for all users.