Credential stuffing (a cyber attack where stolen credentials from one database are used to gain access to other services in the hope people use the same details), is still a popular, and worryingly easy, hack for cyber criminals to take advantage of. It’s also had a bit of a resurgence thanks to digital use in the pandemic. It can be challenging to detect an attacker when they’ve entered accounts with the correct details, so businesses need a solution that will prevent them from ever getting their foot in the door.
Privileged Access Management (or PAM for short) refers to a combination of information security tools which allow you to secure, monitor and control end users access and capabilities across your infrastructure. PAM rolls people, processes and technology into one plan.
Why is Privileges Access Management important?
Users with privileged access can actually be a huge risk to your business. If an attacker managed to get a hold of a standard user account, they would only access to select information and very little administration. But if they manage to crack the code of a privileged account, who has a substantial amount of access to sensitive data, then the damage could be critical. You don’t want the wrong credentials to fall in the wrong hands and result in a breach or compromised data.
Humans are the weakest links
Let’s start with humans…whether internal privileged users are abusing their level of access, or attackers are targeting your users and stealing privileges, either scenario makes humans the weakest links when it comes to your cyber security. According to recent data, 51% of people use the same passwords for both work and personal accounts and 57% of people who have already been scammed in phishing attacks still haven't changed their passwords…
Data security is a large concern
Businesses are facing increasing and complex threats, making data security a huge concern.. Introducing PAM into your business reduces risk and vulnerabilities within your system. It also means that employees won’t be able to install programs that may be malicious or mistakably create new network vulnerabilities. Generally, admins will have better control over the system and track who gets access to what type of data.
You probably don’t want to think about dishonest employees, but it’s a possibility for one reason or another. Either an employee can be trying to damage or steal customer data before leaving, or they could have acquired admin control and is trying to make changes that they’re not fully skilled to do. Any scenario is going to cause havoc to your business, either by causing downtime or losing critical data.
Whether it’s from an enterprise policy level or an industry regulation and compliance framework, depending on your business, certain industries are required to stay highly regulated and keep a record of all activities that relate to the IT infrastructure and access to critical data.
Negligent or even malicious employees may even be responsible for breaking the regulations your business need to follow. Whether they realise it or not, removing employee access from areas which doesn’t directly impact them reduces the chance of any issues with regularly compliance.
How is it different to Identity and Access Management (IAM)?
IAM and PAM are easily mixed up due to both having the similarities of dealing with users, access and roles. The of PAM is to protect users with privileged access to critical data, therefore only giving access rights to necessary users only to carry out their daily tasks, it’s essentially an extension of IAM. On the other hand, IAM takes into account of all users, and not just those with privileged access.
The features a strong PAM solution should have
- Password management
- Multi-factor authentication
- Session management
- Real-time visibility
- Disaster recovery
- Emergency access
If you’re looking for more information, contact our cyber security experts today.