Managing user privileges is an important aspect of comprehensive information security. Ideally, employees should only have access to the data and systems necessary to carry out their role. The problem is that unmanaged privileged accounts can lead to all sorts of problems for a business.
“Think of a privileged account as an access-all-areas pass to confidential business data and systems, allowing users to grant broad access rights that often go far beyond what is needed for that job function“
Monitoring the actions of users is therefore paramount for security and compliance. However, despite this, monitoring is not something that is standard practice. Cybercriminals are only too aware that many privileged accounts often go unmonitored, unreported and as a result, are unsecured.
They understand that access to a privileged account provides the ability to control the organisation’s resources, disable security systems, as well as access to vast amounts of sensitive data. The damage done proportionately can be severe.
If cyber-criminals gain access to a privileged account, they can basically jump over security so whether data is encrypted or not becomes irrelevant. Privileged account users can include systems administrators, application or database administrators, third-party providers, cloud server managers, DevOps Teams, select business users such as senior-level executives and social media.
Compromising any of these accounts can create considerable problems. The best practices dictate that privileged accounts should be incorporated into an organisation’s core security strategy. This means that controls need to be put in place to protect, monitor, detect, and respond to all privileged account activity.
There are several ways to control privileged account activity. Some organisations choose to deploy strategic solution across the entire enterprise, while others take a ‘stepped’ approach that involves looking at the most vulnerable points first.
Starting with securing privileged credentials and then moving to monitor the accounts, once secured, enables the implementation of the underlying infrastructure.
- Using analytic algorithms can also help reveal previously undetectable malicious privileged user activity as it monitors behavioural data.
- Introducing layered security such as encryption, tamper-proof audits, and data protection can also help with the protection of accounts, especially when used in conjunction with other methods.
- Multiple authentication methods assist in keeping your files and data protected from both internal and external threats. Monitoring the actions of privileged accounts is fundamental to security.