Monday, June 17 2024

What is Privileged Access Management and how does it work?

Privileged Access Management (PAM) products stand as a crucial fortress in fortifying your company’s digital landscape. Functioning as a meticulous guardian, PAM offerings orchestrate the establishment of access protocols, meticulously determining who holds privileged access to critical data and the specific circumstances under which such access is granted. The initial phase resembles a digital governance system, akin to creating a VIP list for data access within the organization.

Once the access ground rules are firmly set, PAM products transition into the role of a key custodian, diligently securing essential digital keys such as passwords and access codes. This phase mirrors the importance of safeguarding valuable house keys, emphasizing PAM’s role in preventing unauthorized access to vital assets. Going beyond mere key management, PAM offerings evolve into vigilant overseers, comparable to a watchful sidekick. They continuously monitor digital activities, ensuring strict compliance with established protocols. When access requests arise, PAM software steps in, scrutinizing user credentials akin to a virtual bouncer, confirming the eligibility of individuals seeking privileged information.

The recurring nature of PAM’products’ role serves as a routine security health check for the digital environment, conducting regular audits and adjustments to access permissions. Their proactive approach aims to prevent the accumulation of unnecessary digital privileges, thereby minimizing potential security risks. In the event of unusual activities or security threats, PAM offerings respond promptly, issuing alerts or implementing preventive measures, embodying a digital security incident response mechanism.

Why is it useful?

Companies can reap substantial benefits from PAM as it plays a pivotal role in controlling and monitoring access to sensitive information. Acting as a frontline defense, PAM offerings ensure that only authorized individuals navigate critical systems and data, thereby mitigating the risks associated with insider threats and potential misuse of privileged access.

In the ongoing battle against credential theft, PAM products adopt robust strategies such as just-in-time access, multifactor authentication, and stringent access controls. The measures are instrumental in reducing the risk of unauthorized users exploiting stolen credentials to gain access to sensitive organizational data.

PAM’s utility extends to facilitating regulatory compliance by enforcing least-privilege principles and generating comprehensive reports on privileged user activities. This not only ensures strict adherence to compliance standards but also provides tangible evidence of a company’s commitment to meeting regulatory requirements.

The continuous monitoring capabilities of PAM offerings serve as a crucial component for anomaly detection, enabling swift incident response and minimizing the potential impact of security incidents. In the context of the increasing trend of remote work, PAM products ensure secure remote access through encrypted gateways, preserving the security of privileged access for users operating beyond the corporate network.

Moreover, PAM goes beyond conventional security measures by providing just-in-time access to critical resources, allowing secure remote access through encrypted gateways instead of passwords. It monitors privileged sessions for investigative audits, analyzes unusual privileged activity that could pose harm to the organization, captures privileged account events for compliance audits, generates detailed reports on privileged user access and activity, and safeguards DevOps environments with integrated password security. This multifaceted approach makes PAM products comprehensive solutions for companies aiming to fortify their cybersecurity posture and ensure secure access management.

What companies provide PAM services? How do they differ from each other?

PAM solutions have established a solid presence, continuously evolving to address the dynamic landscape of cybersecurity. Amidst ongoing advancements, diverse PAM providers are introducing innovative features and enhancements to effectively respond to emerging challenges. Explore notable PAM offerings in recent months below, as acknowledged by various customers across a spectrum of reputable review platforms.


The Privileged Access Manager by CyberArk impresses with its secure password management, user-friendly interfaces, and stringent access restrictions, garnering positive overall customer sentiment despite occasional complexities during setup, as users appreciate its robust features and integration options for fortified access control to critical information.


●  Secure password management

●  User-friendly interface

●  Effective access restriction

●  Integration options for various systems


●  Complexity in setup and configuration

●  Occasional troubleshooting difficulties

●  Need for clearer documentation

●  Higher costs for extensive enterprise-level features


Remote Support by BeyondTrust stands out with strong privilege access control and thorough session monitoring, making implementation a breeze, although some users express concerns about interface complexity and the need for better support and documentation. Nevertheless, users appreciate its secure deployment and seamless integration with diverse systems, reflecting an overall positive sentiment towards its capabilities for remote assistance and access control.


●  Offers robust privilege access control, ensuring stringent security measures.

●  Its comprehensive session monitoring capabilities provide a thorough oversight of user activities.

●  Users appreciate the smooth deployment process, making implementation efficient.

●  The platform integrates effectively with various systems, enhancing its versatility.


●  Some users find the user interface complex and challenging to navigate.

●  Customization can pose difficulties, limiting tailored configurations.

●  There is a need for improvements in support and documentation for better user assistance.

●  Functionality limitations are noted for specific setups, requiring enhancements in those areas.


Arcon’s Privileged Access Manager by Arcon is a noteworthy solution, earning praise for its adept handling of internal and external threats, highlighted by a standout password vault feature. Users commend its user-friendly interface and valuable logging reports, though concerns arise over space-consuming video logs and a relatively slow enhancement implementation process.


●  Mitigation of internal and external threats

●  The password vault feature stands out among various others in the product.

●  The detailed logging reports provide valuable insights into system activities.

●  The product’s interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate, enhancing usability.


●  Space-Consuming Video Logs: Video logs occupy substantial storage space, posing a challenge due to their size.

●  Tedious Product Updates: The process of updating or upgrading the product is laborious and time-intensive.

●  Slow Enhancement Implementation: Requests for enhancements take a prolonged duration to be implemented or addressed within the product’s framework.

One Identity

Safeguard by One Identity proves its mettle with user-friendly features, availability as both an Appliance and VMware-based solution, and the added perk of a free password vault. Users appreciate its accessibility through Rest APIs, providing coding flexibility, and note its reliability and responsive customer support. While encountering challenges with report organization and integration, Safeguard earns positive sentiment for its ease of use and commitment to security.


●  Easy to use, available as Appliance or VMware-based, and includes a free password vault.

●  It’s accessible through Rest APIs, allowing coding based on specific needs using these APIs.

●  Safeguard is really reliable, easy to update and their customer support is responsive.


●  The reports can get really big and messy after exporting, making them hard to organize. Sometimes, expired account passwords don’t reset as they should, needing a ticket to fix them.

●  No tag search available, want to bulk upload personal passwords, and need a browser add-on.

●  Integration is difficult, has pricey licenses, and the interface isn’t user-friendly.

The Future of PAM

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are making a big impact on PAM solutions, helping to spot unusual activities and potential threats early on. The concept of Zero Trust cybersecurity is also being increasingly used in PAM solutions, emphasizing the need to grant access precisely when required. Cloud-based PAM solutions are gaining popularity as organizations move their systems to the cloud, ensuring secure management of privileged access.

PAM mobile apps are also increasing in popularity, which makes it easier for security administrators to handle remote access from their mobile devices. Lastly, there is a growing importance of meeting regulatory requirements, especially in industries like finance and healthcare, pushing PAM solutions to evolve and offer detailed audit trails and reporting features.

However, there’s a significant gap between these goals and organizations mastering the basics of PAM. Many experts highlight the convergence of identity and privilege, simplifying access models.

In the future, PAM may become a unified platform integrating Cloud Security Posture Management and Identity Threat Detection. DevOps and secrets management prompt the need for multiple PAMs across organizations. The focus shifts to a user-centric, just-in-time access model, moving away from traditional centralized approaches. Improved dashboarding and a consumer-like interface aim for better user experiences.

Read more cybersecurity product reviews. Explore CISOstack for in-depth insights, practical tips, and expert interviews on the latest cyber threats. Subscribe for regular updates to keep your company ahead in digital defense. Stay informed and secure with us.


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