Privileged Account and Session Management (PAM)

Introduction

IT admins tend to protect privileged accounts very carefully. Their access to certain confidential and sensitive data or information makes them highly valuable, and protecting such accounts needs paramount importance. Privileged session management is an enhancer that takes privileged account protection to another level.
Privileged accounts are provided to individuals who have an authoritarian role in the enterprise and at work. They may indulge in various business-related engagements online, which must be protected as working based on trust is not considered ‘safe’ in the realm of cybersecurity. Privileged account management or Privileged access management (PAM), in line with privileged session management, plays a crucial role here.

Definition

Privileged accounts are user accounts with special access to such resources, applications, or networks that are not provided to all users. PAM ( Privileged account management or Privileged access management ) is a set of policies deployed by the administrator to protect privileged accounts in an enterprise, and session management is a similar concept that branches off PAM. Privileged account session management monitors and checks every session(from start to end) where the privileged accounts participate, such as meetings with collaborators, working with third-party vendors, etc.

Steps to setup Privileged Session Management

  • Remote session management: This checks the user and privileged account credentials and matches them accordingly to initiate a session together securely. At large organizations, there may be more than one session working simultaneously. Monitoring all of them together needs strong PAM policies and the proper protocol to control the sessions that need to be monitored. Remote session management can also be done through automatic connections (RDH and SSH), which are created to begin a secure session.
  • Session monitoring: This section simply involves monitoring sessions involving privileged accounts. Some software allows the admins to watch such sessions live, or it can also be done remotely without leaking any information which must not be released, even not amongst the IT department.
  • Session recording: Sessions can be recorded in case there’s a security breach or privileged accounts are compromised through any attack vector. In such situations, concerned individuals can review the sessions to understand any suspicious movement or actions that could lead to such an occurrence.
  • Auditing and reporting: To demonstrate compliance and maintenance of security throughout the session, admins would need to prepare audits specifically focusing on the privileged accounts’ actions and any suspicious actions and how it was managed to protect the account. Such auditing is crucial, as trust does not exist in the realm of cybersecurity. Thus, complying with the PAM policies is extremely substantial for the administrator and the privileged account.

Advantages

It offers explicitly higher grade protection and monitoring of privileged accounts, which is certainly pivotal to ensuring that an enterprise’s compromised privileged account could practically destroy cybersecurity for all confidential information or fragile data. PAM also enables admins to use proxies during session management, making their administrative work much more straightforward. They won’t have to store passwords or be worried about potential password cracking tools while starting a secure session with a privileged account.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.