The modern enterprise has a very complex IT infrastructure. Nowadays, data is getting so vast in terms of volume and scope that its management and security is becoming a daunting challenge.
On top of all that, the data which is being generated at the enterprise level is simultaneously being accessed and used by multiple teams as well as departments across the organization. So, you need to have a robust data security mechanism in place.
Privileged Access Management (PAM) – An Ignored Domain
Traditionally, the focus of IT and data security teams have been normal users of data. Although you cannot entirely ignore this user sub-segment, there are also other more potent avenues where data can be breached or destroyed altogether.
A very vital and often ignored fault line in this case is privileged access accounts. These accounts mostly slip under the radar, merely because of the “privilege” attached to them. For a cyber miscreant, both these classes of accounts make little to no difference.
Granted that the “payoff” in the case of breaching a user account with privileged access rights will be much higher than that of a normal user, one often wonders why accounts with privileged access often get neglected as compared to their counterparts.
Least Privileged Access
Perhaps the foremost step in this regard would be moving to a least privileged access control policy. This security protocol emphasizes that access to sensitive enterprise data should be purely as per the demands of the job at hand and nothing more.
So, this very concept should be extended to the user accounts with privileged access. There should be no such thing as un-checked privileged access. Further, as the organizational structures and roles of employees evolve, these rights should also be revisited.
Leveraging ML and AI to Manage Privileged Access
By leveraging Machine Learning (ML), data security analysts will be able to benchmark the “normal” behaviors even for accounts and users with privileged access. This process should be done on similar lines as one would do for normal user accounts.
Then, by utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to good measure, data security analysts will be able to raise the red flag as soon as they observe any red signal or un-usual behavior in the case of accounts with privileged access rights.
On-Going Review of Privileged Access Rights
Privileged access is something which is not a one time affair. This has to be a regular and recurring feature of your data security policy. This will better equip your security professionals to determine who, when, where and how would use privileged access rights.
Network Segmentation – A Good Defense Line
Despite having all the controls in place and exercising them, you can still never rule out the misuse of an account with privileged access. By segmenting your network however, you will be able to curtail the damage considerably even if a breach does occur.
Identity Management and PAM
At times, it also becomes difficult to determine the exact identity of the user with privileged access rights in the event of a breach. This is particularly true in cases where either the size of data is too large or multiple users with such rights are accessing the same data.
So, you need to combine identity management with privileged access management. In this way, you will be better able to determine the exact identity and credentials of the privileged access account that was breached or misused.
A robust management of user accounts with privileged access rights is imperative for the safety and security of your data. By putting a proper system in place and leveraging technologies such as AI, ML and Automation, you can achieve this feat.
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