5 Best Practices When It Comes To Privileged Access Management

Privileged Access Management refers to the strategies and technologies organizations utilise to manage privileged access and permissions for users, accounts, processes, and systems across an IT environment.

Here are six best practices for managing privileged access an organization should follow.

Implementing least privilege when it comes to all end-users, endpoints, accounts, applications, systems etc. 

The best way to enforce least privilege is to eliminate all privileges across the entire business environment and then create a system that elevates privileges depending on specific actions and when these privileged activities are accomplished, privileges are then removed. There are a number of factors that need to be considered when implementing least privilege: 

  1. Eliminating administrative rights on endpoints: make all users have standard privileges while enabling elevated privileges for applications and users to perform specific tasks.

  2. Reduce the attack surface and safeguard critical systems by removing all root and admin access rights to servers and ensure all users are operating with standard privilege.

  3. Utilise least privilege to remove unnecessary privileges across applications and processes like DevOps.

  4. Implement Just-In-Time privileges: ensuring that all privileges expire and are only available for the time required to complete privileged activities. 

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Make sure that privileges and duties are separated

As a part of a privileged access management system organizations need to implement privilege separation measures, for instance, organizations need to separate administrative account functions from standard account requirements, separate auditing capabilities within admin accounts and separate system functions like read, edit, write, execute etc. By ensuring that each privileged account only has privileges designed to perform a unique set of tasks and eliminating overlap between different accounts, an effective privilege access management system can be established. 

Make sure employees are managing their passwords effectively

Employees should implement the following best practices when it comes to password management:

  1. Organizations need to ensure strong password parameters like complexity and uniqueness so that employee credentials are robust enough to defend against standard attacks

  2. Ban password sharing, and eliminate the culture of password sharing within organizations to reduce the overall attack surface.

  3. Change passwords routinely to eliminate the chance of hackers reusing passwords in their attacks, implementing one-time passwords is another way of doing this. 

System and network segmentation

System and network segmentation achieve a separation amongst users and processes based on factors like levels of trust and needs. Security controls should be customized so that they are of a higher level when it comes to systems and networks that are of a higher trust level. Introducing segments reduces the chance of attacks or breaches spreading beyond a single segment. 

Monitor all privileged activity 

Organizations need to implement what is known as privileged session management or PSM, which consists of the activities of every privileged user, including third-party vendors, being managed and monitored from the time they launch a privileged session to when that session ends. By doing this any suspicious activities can be identified and eliminated in a prompt manner. Auditing activities can involve capturing keystrokes and live screens so that users are accountable for any security incidents or breaches that occur. 

How do you currently manage privileged accounts within your organisation? StickmanCyber's team can help review your existing setup and share and implement recommendations around building the right privileged access management systems

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