In 2007, a KPMG study found that just 4% of all reported cyber-attacks were caused by malicious insiders, but only three years later, that number had risen to 20%. Data breaches from both internal and external vectors continue hitting the headlines and organisations are scrabbling to bolster perimeter defences against outsider attacks, but too many are forgetting that the real threat too often comes from within. It wasn't long ago that a contractor with a privileged access account was able to liberate the records of 27 million South Korean citizens (that's 40% of the population) from inside The South Korean Credit Bureau.
What is a Privileged User?
Every business has them. Because they need greater access to the infrastructure and are limited by fewer controls, privileged users can access more of their companies’ intellectual property, such as confidential corporate data or sensitive product information. They often have the ability to easily get around controls that restrict other non-privileged users and they sometimes abuse what should be temporary access privileges to perform tasks.
As a business and its infrastructure grows, the number of privileged access users – with the organisations entire infrastructure at their fingertips - increases. That's a lot of people to say you completely trust with unrestricted access to company data. The 2015 Insider Threat Report revealed that 59% of cyber-security specialists now believe privileged users to be the biggest security risk to their organisation. Insider attacks can be more costly than external breaches, and it's not just the obvious costs of investigating then resolving the breach. Fines for non-compliance will soon reach 4% of annual turnover and come with time behind bars, and it's a lot easier to repair a damaged system than a tarnished opinion of a business.
Privileged Access Management (PAM): the key to securing your business...
Privileged Access Management (sometimes also called “Privileged Account Management” or “Privileged User Management” – or, even PUM or PxM) is pivotal to controlling access. It delivers the required balance between system administrators and users remaining one hundred percent productive and an organisation controlling access to its most valuable asset.
Unlike Identity Management solutions (which PAM is often confused with) a PAM solution does more than simply authenticating a users access to a system via security assertions or third party authorisation standards; it offers a proactive, secure way to authorise, monitor and protect all privileged accounts across all relevant systems, ensuring absolute control and visibility.
Privileged Access Management:
- Seamlessly manages context driven access over any number of systems across an infrastructure
- Ensures that privileges granted to users are for use of systems only on which they are authorised.
- Grants access only when it’s needed and automatically revokes it when the need expires.
- Provides a granular audit trail of all privileged activity.
Breaking it down: the pieces of a Privileged Access Management Solution
With their unrestricted access, it's difficult to tell if and when the actions of a privileged user has caused harm. Even if you catch a malicious user red-handed, they could easily play dumb and claim a mistake or could simply compromise logs to cover tracks, but not with a robust Privileged Access Management platform in place.
PAM - The Osirium Way:
- Privileged Access Management - Osirium creates a secure separation between the users system and credentials and the connection and credentials used for the system/device/application to be managed.
- Privileged Session Manager - Osirium Session Manager not only ensures full accountability and visibility for meeting compliance mandates, but also acts as a unique deterrent against administrator malpractice by providing irrefutable evidence of privileged activities.
- Privileged Task Automation - Automating those administrator tasks without exposing Privileged Accounts, closes down the most vulnerable of attack surfaces for best in class security, while the workflow benefits from automation zero’s the time it takes to get things done, delegating the task, not the privilege.
IT leaders must tread a fine line between keeping a business, its data and its future secure, and not negatively affecting the productivity of administrators and other privileged users, or creating the environment of a police state. With the right Privileged Access Management solution like Osirium, a business can do just this, streamlining plus continually improving the security posture, reducing costs, reducing privileged access risks and proactively eliminating insider threats before any damage is done.
To find out more about how Osirium can help control the misuse of privileged accounts, visit www.osirium.com.