Allowing Access to Only Those Who Really Need It

Posted on May 21, 2018

It is a common fallacy in business, that people are your most valuable asset, when most business owners will tell you that in truth, it is their data that is most important, and which needs to be protected the most. This can mean that you have to block some staff access to certain information on your system, though this obviously creates a dilemma, in even relatively small organisations. How can your staff gain access to company data, to perform their jobs, if they are blocked from having access to it? As a company grows larger, so deciding who is allowed to do what within your network, becomes more complicated, along with working out how to actually allow who, to be able to see what.

Privileged Users and Accounts

A privileged user is a person with administrative access to crucial systems, and should only be extended to trusted people. They can set up and delete user accounts, install software, and allow or deny access to secure data. Privileged account management, as it is known, can generally be defined as the management and auditing of account and data access, by various levels of allotted privilege. The larger and more complex your company’s IT systems, the more complicated the process becomes, as the numbers of privileged users subsequently increases.

Looking at the Components

While things do vary, the primary aspects involve the following components. Access management software governs access to privileged accounts and information. When a user requests information, or access to a system, the Access Manager will assess which systems that user has permission to access and will allow or deny accordingly. A senior administrator can add, modify or delete accounts, on a centralised system to keep the Access Manager current. The Privileged account management system will keep all passwords in a secure vault, to ensure that end users, never have access to key root passwords. Additionally a Session Manager can track activity of users on the network, which can spot and prevent malicious activity, and attempted malicious behaviour, whilst alerting administration of possible suspicious activity.

Understanding how it Operates

The objective is to protect your systems from misuse, either accidentally, or through deliberate action. Staff can only use sectors of the network required for their tasks, although they can be allowed additional access for specific periods of time as needed, with the system automatically revoking access, once the requirement expires. It can centrally control access for all aspects of the company network, regardless of how many different locations the company may have, while simultaneously creating an audit trail of who did what, when and where.

As the number of hackers gaining unauthorised access to networks and the scale of data breaches increase, there is also a growth in the breaches caused due to exposed privilege user credentials. Privileged account exploitation is a key goal for attackers in virtually all sophisticated attacks, meaning that such accounts are quite literally the front door keys to your IT system and need to be very adequately protected. Once a hacker gets into a privileged account, they can move through your network undetected and gain access to crucial files and customer data.

Once you find the right Privileged Account Management solution, your critical infrastructure is protected, whilst providing you improved controls, tightened security, while making auditing and compliance issues simpler.


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