8 Reasons Why PAM Makes Regulatory Compliance a Piece of CakeAnirban Banerjee
As technology continues to advance, it changes the way how businesses operate. While these new technologies and growth in online connectivity increase efficiency and open a completely new world of opportunities, they also expose them to an increasingly broad range of risks.
Since there is no reward without risk, most businesses have learned to live with them. What´s more, they have learned to identify, manage, and respond to them. And while some businesses see risks as negative, others have established risk management initiatives. This way, they can look at risks from all possible angles and capitalize on them.
But how can one manage the unmanageable?
The Cyber Risk Landscape
Businesses are created to generate value, not manage risk. But to generate that value, businesses need to make decisions that come with a certain amount of risk. And while most risks carry a combination of positive and negative benefits, cyber security risks are bad to the bone.
There are many ways how a cyber attack can affect one’s business: from loss of intellectual property and operational disruption to high attorney fees and regulatory compliance (such as HIPAA fines). And although cyber attacks are everything but inevitable, the extent of their negative impacts is. And as we go through recent high-profile cyber attacks, we see that attackers still continue to use many of their old tactics. While new malware variants hit the news on an almost daily basis, attackers are still managing to do the most damage by exploiting privileged accounts. In a secure network, these accounts are usually reserved exclusively for network administrators as a way of managing access and monitoring sensitive information necessary for the everyday business continuity. But lately, these accounts have started to be shared among multiple users and businesses are losing control which employees can have them. This eliminates their ability to monitor the usage of these accounts, as well as to determine accountability when disaster strikes.
As a consequence, businesses are at a constant risk of data theft, fraud, ransomware attacks, and serious compliance violations. Being at a crossroads of sort, businesses have to decide on the proper course of action for compliance and how to manage the increasing risk to the security of their networks and data.
What is the optimal way to compliance and how to get there?
Cyber Security Compliance in Different Industries
In most cases, compliance often presents a huge challenge for businesses. While specific regulations and requirements vary between industries and situations, businesses can find themselves intertwined in a mixture of SOX, PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC, FISMA and other standards. This is especially true if we look back over the last 5 years and notice the significant increase in the number of cyber security regulations across industries.
The financial sector has always been a number one industry when it comes to requirements set by federal and state regulators. The most common one is the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council (FFIEC-IT). However, the most famous set of requirements is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which establishes cybersecurity standards for health organizations, insurers, and 3rd party companies that do business with health organizations. While retail businesses are not regulated on a federal level, they still must follow Payment Card Industry Security Council´s Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). PCI DSS contains a set of rules and standards that every business that processes credit card payments or holds credit card information must follow.
Whatever the industry and its compliance requirements are, there is one challenge that always remains the same: keep security high and costs low.
How PAM Helps Meet Compliance Requirements
IT infrastructure in most businesses consists of different devices, operating systems, and applications, whether on-premise or in the cloud. While the number of them is usually defined as infinite, the resources for compliance are finite.
Meeting compliance requirements is a must, especially for health and finance industries, but protecting valuable data and ensuring business continuity mustn´t be understated. With Privileged Access management, businesses can stop juggling between the two and mitigate cyber risks while ensuring all compliance requirements are met. Here are 8 ways how Privileged Access Managements helps meet compliance requirements while ensuring a top-notch security across the whole IT landscape.
1. Helps control privileged accounts
Privileged accounts have always been a challenge. These powerful accounts are quite literally the keys of your kingdom and losing them can be disastrous. To keep IT systems safe from external attackers and insider threats, these accounts need to be constantly monitored, and considering that they can be used to access sensitive information, they are highly regulated. Most PAM solutions have a dynamic privilege management which helps to control privileged account access as well as to identify misuse in real time.
2. Simplifies audits
Privileged Access Management comes with a complete record of who, when, and why have privileged accounts, as well as who approved those accounts and why. When this information is conjoined with provisioning, IT administrators can easily define for how long will the passwords be valid before they have to be changed. This way, auditors can quickly and easily see how well the business adheres to compliance. Furthermore, PAM solutions can prove that accounts with highest privileges are inactive for a long period of time and enable periodic re-certification of these accounts.
3. Adds additional layers of security
Even with all the security and compliance protocols in place, there are still ways how privileged accounts can be used by insider and outsider attackers. With PAM, these ways are put out of the way with multi factor authentications protocols (PAM) when a user requests access. Even for businesses that prefer OATH authentication or proprietary tokens, these features can be easily integrated into a PAM solution. Additionally, PAM can encrypt all data as it moves throughout the network.Implement least-privilege security
4. Implement least-privilege security
The least privilege is the concept of restricting access rights for users and accounts to only those network resources they require in their everyday routine activities. By centrally managing role-based permissions for privileged access, PAM helps create a less complex and audit-friendly network environment for HIPAA, PCI DSS, FISMA, and SOX compliance regulations.
5. Automatically documents the compliance process
By detailing who and when can perform administrative tasks, PAM provides real-time recording and reporting for a variety of different user activities such as password requests. Additionally, PAM solutions can perform session recording and provide detailed privilege, vulnerability, and compliance reports.
6. Eliminates hard-coded administrative IDs and passwords
Hard-coded passwords show in many devices and applications. While sometimes useful, they make it relatively easy for an attacker to find the embedded password and use it to gain access to other systems on the network. PAM enables businesses to protect their systems by eliminating the need for hard-coded IDs and passwords in application scripts, config files, and code.
7. Ensure accountability
By helping businesses implement security principles such as the least-privilege access mentioned above, PAM solution helps them to ensure accountability and facilitate regulatory compliance, especially those related to segregation of duties (SoD).
8. Capture audit logs and user session recordings
In order to mitigate both external and internal cybersecurity risks, businesses need to manage privileged account sessions without any negative impact on the end-user experience. With PAM, businesses, can monitor and record all privileged sessions across on-premise and cloud IT infrastructure. These recordings and audit logs can then be used to simplify compliance audits and accelerate investigations in case of a data breach.
OnionID helps you to look at cybersecurity risks from all angles and across all parts of your IT infrastructure. This way, risks that quietly threaten your business from the outside and inside are effectively kept at bay.
OnionID´s PAM is simple, efficient, and easy-to-deploy solution for automatically managing privileged accounts. With its Dynamic Privilege Management and preventive and corrective controls, OnionID helps businesses ensure regulatory compliance and eliminates the risk of anonymous logins to privileged and shared accounts over your complete IT infrastructure, regardless whether it is on-premise or SaaS.
For more information about OnionID PAM solution and its benefits, click here.