7 Facts That Show Why PAM is the Next Hot Technology to Prevent Insider ThreatsAnirban Banerjee
When people think of issues relating to compromised information or a data leak, the image that usually comes to mind is that of the mysterious hacker that could be anywhere in the world. While this is an important concern to maintain, this focus tends to be at the cost of considering the threat that could be right under your nose.
In this article, we are going to talk about the threat of an insider attack. Security failures that come from insiders are growing, and many businesses are not prepared to handle this kind of risk. When you talk about threats that may come from privileged users, you are talking about a much more complex issue, and one that could be even more costly.
What is PAM?
Your privileged users are those that have administrative access to the system. They can do things like add and delete accounts for other users and grant extended privileges, and they often have access to more of the information on the system. With privileged access management (PAM), you have a solution that helps to monitor and manage these accounts.
How PAM Works
PAM is a system for managing and monitoring the activities of privileged users. With it, you can easily manage the level of access that different users have. If you need to change clearance for a particular person, you can do it quickly. If the person needs temporary access, then you can allow for it.
In addition to that, it also tracks the behavior of users. PAM can enable you to look at the resources and information that are being accessed in order to detect suspicious behavior. The system will also make reports on user activity. This can make it easier to stay in compliance with regulations, and it can be used to review the actions of users if you suspect that there may be a leak.
Why It’s The Next Hot Tech for Preventing Insider Threats
An organization could manage privileged accounts without a PAM system. However, it is much more difficult and its leaves you open to insider attacks.
A privileged user can be a major security threat if they act in a way that is either malicious or negligent. A PAM system reduces this threat by increasing the monitoring and accountability of these individuals. In addition to that, it makes many of the tasks that go into account management easier. Let’s look at seven reasons this tech is a must.
PAM Protects Against Increasing Insider Threats Causing Companies Huge Losses
Insider threats have always existed, but the problem has been increasing over the last few years. While there are other areas of concern, attacks perpetrated by insiders are some of the most common. According to IBM, attacks from insiders account for 55% of all incidents.
Any organization can be subject to the loss of data, and it really does not matter how large or how small. In a recent report from the Ponemon Institute, it showed that more than three out of four businesses have experienced a loss or theft of data within the last two years. This is up from 2014, when only about two out of three companies claimed to have experienced the loss or theft of data.
Of all of the potential causes, negligence from insiders was the most common cause of loss or theft. The next leading cause was external attackers, but this accounted for less than half that of the total caused by negligence.
The report also reveals part of what helps to make this problem so costly. It was also found that 88% of respondents have jobs that require them to have access to sensitive data, but of those, 60% admitted that they have access to more information than they need to perform their duties.
This increase of insider threats and vulnerability of companies combine to create the need for a agile solution.
PAM Enables User Privilege Management to Protect Sensitive Data
The people with high-privilege authority work in IT, and they have access to your system that goes beyond the average user. With this level of access, they could alter the system in ways that will leave it open to a threat. Additionally, they could use their privilege to hide behaviors that are either negligent or malicious.
PAM adds a level of accountability and oversight. It creates an audit trail that follows the activity of all users. This makes it easier to go back and find behaviors or actions that caused an attack. In addition to that, it helps to deter these behaviors because users know that they will be held accountable.
PAM Improves Compliance with Regulatory Bodies
When an organization maintains consumer records, they have a responsibility to keep those records safe. Depending on the industry that you are in, there could be any number of rules that you have to follow in order to protect the data on your system.
If you are in healthcare, then you have to consider your regulatory obligations under HIPAA. The Sarbanes Oxley Act has specific rules that discuss access control. For companies that take credit card data, you have regulations like the PCI DSS, which specifically talk about access control and oversight. This is just a small sample of the many rules that may apply to your staff and the way that your organization controls and monitors access to information.
With a PAM system, you are not only protecting the data on your system, but you are also protecting your company from the consequences that come from not meeting the high standards of various regulatory bodies. PAM addresses many of the concerns that you will have from regulators, and it makes this type of management much easier to maintain.
PAM Enables Constant Monitoring and Automatic Tracking
A big part of what makes PAM such a good tool for preventing insider threats is that it is always monitoring the actions of users. By monitoring and tracking, it can then set a baseline for normal usage, and this makes it possible for the system to detect when a user is doing something suspicious.
Another benefit is that this tracking and monitoring is not subject to the failings of a human. A person cannot possibly watch every privileged user all the time, and a human will have a hard time sifting through all of the usage data to determine what is normal and what is not.
PAM Streamlines Allocation and Removal of Privileged Access
With large organizations, you have people that may come and go, and there are employees that may have access levels that go up and down. With a PAM system, the process of adding, removing, and changing the level of access is much simpler.
A PAM system can save you money and time when it comes to managing privileges. Without it, your IT department may have to spend a considerable amount of time changing, adding, and removing privileges from different people. It could be new employees, contractors, or a person that is moving into a new position.
This is one way that a company can save time and money by using a PAM system. It allows you to manage account privilege in real time. You can make changes quickly, and without the need for hours of work from your IT department.
Instead of having to manage user privilege on several apps separately, PAM allows you to layer privileges for users. By putting all of this into one system, it makes it easy to control the level of access that a user has across multiple systems and apps.
PAM Can Cut Costs
PAM is not only great for the security of information, but is also a good cost saving measure. The system can help with provisioning and authentication. By doing so, this can reduce the number of help desk tickets relating to things like lost passwords.
It can also save time on security auditing. Many of the regulations that we mentioned earlier require these audits, but they can be time consuming if you do not have a good system in place. Instead of having to go over the raw data from logs, a PAM system has all of the necessary information organized and in one place.
When a data breach occurs, it can cost millions of dollars to resolve. PAM helps to prevent these incidents, and by doing so, it could save your organization on these costs.
As an additional point mentioned in the last point, a PAM streamlines the authorization and monitoring of privileged users. By having the system, you can save money on the costs that would normally go toward these activities.
PAM Enables You To Identify Risks and Holistically Prevent Them
Some organizations go with a piecemeal solution to managing and monitoring privileged users. They have a password vault, an access control system, and solutions for monitoring. On some levels, these solutions can work to do their individual jobs, but the weakness is that they do not work together.
When you have PAM, you have a single system that handles things like monitoring, investigation tracking and the resolution of access violations. It integrates and automates things like security monitoring and the management of privileged accounts, and this can save, you time and money, while also ensuring that your organization has the protection that it needs.
Insider threats are not going away, and if the recent trends hold, it is a problem that is only going to get worse. To protect against these threats, businesses should turn to PAM solutions. PAM provides the necessary monitoring and management to deter, prevent, and respond to these threats, and it is also one of the best resources that you can have for staying in compliance with regulations that govern information security.
Also published on Medium.