One way to protect your business from cybersecurity threats is by implementing privileged access management (PAM). PAM is a set of policies, processes, and technologies that are designed to oversee user accounts with elevated privileges. It helps restrict access to sensitive data and resources to prevent malicious activities such as unauthorized logins or tampering with system configurations.
But restricting access is only one part of the entire process. In order to make sure that PAM is successful, it’s important to make sure that relevant users have access that is reliable, secure, and, most commonly forgotten, convenient.
So, are you ready to get started with implementing PAM? Read on to learn about best practices and tips to make sure you have a successful PAM deployment.
Identify and prioritize privileged accounts
Start by identifying and prioritizing all of your privileged accounts. This includes user accounts with administrative privileges, service accounts, and any other accounts that have access to sensitive data or resources. It’s important to keep track of who has access to these accounts to ensure that only authorized users can make changes or access the data or resources.
This often takes some time as figuring out who among employees needs access to which files are not always straightforward. It’s important to take the time to review what data and resources each user needs access to and make sure that only those users have permission.
Implement the principle of least privilege
In an organization where data privacy and cybersecurity need to be taken seriously, one of the best practices is to always implement the principle of least privilege access (POLP). This means that users should only have access to the exact data or resources they need to do their job. Use role-based access control to grant permissions to sections of a folder that that user needs to work on.
By limiting users’ access to only what’s necessary for them to do their jobs, you can reduce your risk of a malicious attack. It also helps prevent potential data leakage, as users will only be able to access the files they are authorized to work with.
This is a crucial feature, especially if you work with freelancers and contractors who you have very little control over. By giving them access only to the files they need, you won’t be unnecessarily exposing yourself to cybersecurity vulnerabilities to an outsider.
To ensure that you’re implementing POLP properly, it is important to regularly audit and review the permissions of each user in your organization. This will help detect any potential threats or vulnerabilities before they become an issue.
Use strong authentication and encryption
Sometimes, users need access to company files while they’re away from the office network. Just a few years ago, companies had to grant access to employees on their personal computers because of the mandatory stay-at-home orders amid the global pandemic. Unfortunately, this leaves your company’s data vulnerable to malware, phishing scams, and other cyberattacks.
The best way to ensure that your data is secure no matter where the user logs in from is to use strong authentication and encryption. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) can add an extra layer of security by requiring users to enter a code sent via text message or email before granting access.
Implement password management policies
There was a time when passwords were the tip of the spear in the cybersecurity space. However, they are not as sharp as they used to be these days as they’ve become easy targets for sophisticated hackers. From simple social hacking and brute-force attacks, to simply going online to purchase passwords in the black market, it has become incredibly easy to obtain leaked passwords.
To ensure that your data is kept safe, you’ll need to implement an effective password management policy; here are some of the most common ones:
- Account locking and monitoring
Account locking is a security feature that locks out a user after a certain number of failed login attempts. This helps protect your data from brute-force and dictionary attacks. This is very common in smartphone security, where you’ll need to wait a certain period before you can reenter passwords after multiple failed unlock attempts.
It’s also important to implement continuous monitoring services that alert you when suspicious activities occur on your network. This will help you detect any potential security threats and respond accordingly.
- Ban password sharing.
Finally, it’s important to ban password sharing in your organization. While this may seem obvious, it’s still one of the most common security breaches companies face.
Be sure to remind your employees and contractors not to share their passwords with anyone. If they need access to a certain file or resource, they should contact the proper authority for permission. Establishing this rule will help you maintain good security hygiene in your organization and protect your data from malicious actors.
- Encourage users to use complex passwords.
Although passwords may not provide sufficient data security, it is still important to encourage users to create complex passwords as one of the necessary measures. In that case, it’s still important to encourage users to use complex passwords. Making strong complex passwords typically contain a combination of the following:
- upper and lowercase letters
- special characters
- subject unrelated to the user (no birthdays, words, or names)
Consider Subscribing to password managers
You should also consider using a password manager to store all your users’ passwords in one place. This will make it easier for them to keep track of their passwords and make sure they don’t forget any of them.
Most options generate strong passwords and store them for users in a safe cloud service with 24/7 breach protection protocols in place. This is especially useful for users that need access to multiple databases and networks to do their job.
Furthermore, some of these privileged access management solutions also offer password rotation that automates password changes at a set schedule. This should protect users from potential data breaches in the event of a password leak.
Monitor and audit access
Diligence is key to proper PAM implementation. This means you need to have regular audits and reviews on the access rights of users in your organization. This will help you detect any potential threats or vulnerabilities before they become an issue and keep your data secure.
You should also implement periodic checks on privileged accounts to make sure that no unauthorized user has gained access.
PAM has been around for a long time and is a vital part of any company’s security strategy. The best way to ensure that your data stays safe is to implement proper PAM protocols and best practices.
So, be sure to review your current security processes and ensure that they are up-to-date with the latest best practices. And if you’re still not sure where to start, it may be a good idea to seek professional advice from a privileged access management software provider.