In an enterprise environment, “privileged access” is a term used to designate special access or abilities above and beyond that of a standard user. Privileged access allows organizations to secure their infrastructure and applications, run business efficiently and maintain the confidentiality of sensitive data and critical infrastructure.
Organizations implement privileged access management (PAM) to protect against the threats posed by credential theft and privilege misuse. PAM refers to a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy – comprising people, processes and technology – to control, monitor, secure and audit all human and non-human privileged identities and activities across an enterprise IT environment.
Sometimes referred to as privileged identity management (PIM) or privileged access security (PAS), PAM is grounded in the principle of least privilege, wherein users only receive the minimum levels of access required to perform their job functions. The principle of least privilege is widely considered to be a cybersecurity best practice and is a fundamental step in protecting privileged access to high-value data and assets. By enforcing the principle of least privilege, organizations can reduce the attack surface and mitigate the risk from malicious insiders or external cyber attacks that can lead to costly data breaches.
Managing account credentials
Many IT organizations rely on manually intensive, error-prone administrative processes to rotate and update privileged credentials. This can be an inefficient and costly approach.
Tracking privileged activity
Many enterprises cannot centrally monitor and control privileged sessions, exposing the business to cybersecurity threats and compliance violations.
Monitoring and analyzing threats
Many organizations lack comprehensive threat analysis tools and are unable to proactively identify suspicious activities and remediate security incidents.
Protecting Windows domain controllers
Cyber attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in the Kerberos authentication protocol to impersonate authorized users and gain access to critical IT resources and confidential data.