Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions are critical cybersecurity controls that address the security risks associated with the use of privileged access in organizations and companies. Traditionally, there have been primarily two types of privileged users.
Privileged IT users are those who need access to the IT infrastructure supporting the business. Such permissions are usually granted to IT admins who need access to system accounts, software accounts or operational accounts. These are often referred to as superusers
There are now also privileged business users, those who need access to sensitive data and information assets such as HR records, payroll details, financial information or intellectual property, and social media accounts.
The picture has become more complicated with many more of these non-traditional users requiring and getting privileged access to IT and business data. Some will be employees working on special projects, others may be developers building applications or third-party contractual workers. With the onset of digital transformation, organizations have seen the number of privilege users multiply as new types of operations such as DevOps have needed access to privileged accounts.
In recent years, PAM solutions have become more sophisticated making them robust security management tools in themselves. While credential vaulting, password rotation, controlled elevation and delegation of privileges, session establishment and activity monitoring are now almost standard features, more advanced capabilities such as privileged user analytics, risk-based session monitoring, advanced threat protection, and the ability to embrace PAM scenarios in an enterprise governance program are becoming the new standard to protect against today’s threats Many vendors are integrating these feature into comprehensive PAM suites while a new generation of providers are targeting niche areas of privileged access management Overall it’s one of the more dynamic and interesting parts of security and access management.
This Advisory Note explores where PAM technology is today, where it is heading in the future and what buyers should consider when evaluating any PAM solution for their organization.