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Privileged Access Management

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the definition of Privileged Access Management(PAM)?

Privileged Access Management (PAM) is a solution to manage privileged user accounts with elevated permissions which can access critical corporate resources. Privileged accounts are high-value targets because they can make administrative-level changes to critical applications or systems.

2. How does PAM work?

Sapphire provides a range of solutions to help organisations protect privileged accounts against security breaches, human error, and malicious intent. Rather than focussing on credentials, they map identity to policies and roles on specific operations.

3. What are some examples of privileged accounts?

i. Human access

  • Superuser accounts with IT administrator access for making configurations
  • Secure socket shell (SSH) keys that are used for access control protocols
  • Domain administrator accounts with administrative access across all servers and workstations

ii. Non-human access

  • Service accounts used by a service or application to interact with the operating system.
  • Application accounts
  • SSH keys

4. What is PAM best practice?

  • Maintain an up-to-date inventory of privileged accounts
  • Minimise the number of privileged personal accounts
  • Ensure a rigorous password policy
  • Do not allow admins to share administrative accounts
  • Monitor and log all privileged activities
  • Review permissions to critical assets regularly

5. How is Privileged Access Management different from Identity and Access Management (IAM)?

Identity and Access Management is responsible for managing access to resources and applications for all user types. PAM focuses on a smaller subset of privileged users like administrators or anyone with elevated privileges.

6. What are the additional benefits of Privileged Access Management?

Even though increasing security is the key benefit of a PAM system, there are other advantages:

i. Protection against insider threats

Some attacks against privileged users originate inside the organisation or from employees who have left. PAM helps organisations identify these.

ii. Ensure Compliance

PAM systems have auditing tools that record activities to enable a clear audit trail. Privileged Access Management(PAM) can therefore help organisations comply with HIPAA, ICS CERT, PCI DSS, SOX, FISMA, GLBA, ISO 27002 and FDCC.

iv. Increased Productivity

Privileged Access Management (PAM) systems are beneficial for privileged users because they allow them to log in faster without remembering multiple passwords. Additionally, PAM enables admins to manage privileged user access from a central location.