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What Is Privileged Session Management and Why Is It Important?

Clango

The critical first step in privileged account management (PAM) is to identify, consolidate, and lock down privileged credentials so only authorized users have access to them. However, this is only the first step. To be effective, PAM should include privileged session management as well as credential protection.

Privileged session management is a security control involving the monitoring and recording of administrator access to systems, devices, applications, databases, and other IT resources. It gives organizations visibility into the use of privileged account credentials and provides an audit trail for regulatory compliance. It also provides a mechanism for enforcing IT policies across privileged account sessions.

Monitoring and recording solutions should be able to capture the actions of each privileged user and store them in a tamper-proof vault. Privileged session management should also employ user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) to identify activity that deviates from the norm. For example, the system should detect the use of privileged credentials at unusual times, from remote locations, or using unsecure devices, and block this activity.

This makes it possible to respond to threats in real time by breaking the cyberattack chain. Typically, attackers will begin by obtaining user credentials through phishing or social engineering, then move laterally through the network, using privilege escalation to obtain administrator credentials. Disrupting this process prevents attackers from executing their mission.

Given the hundreds or even thousands of concurrent privileged user sessions across a typical enterprise, all of this must be automated. Organizations need an integrated solution that can scale to meet these demanding requirements without impacting administrator workflows.

CyberArk’s Privileged Session Manager (PSM) checks all the boxes when it comes to monitoring and controlling administrator activity. PSM leverages CyberArk Privileged Threat Analytics to detect, alert on, and respond to potential threats targeting privileged accounts. It allows organizations to establish baselines for normal administrator activity and thresholds for anomalies. This reduces false positives and overall alert volume.

Privileged session recordings and audit logs are saved to tamper-proof storage that prevents even skilled users from modifying their activity histories. The archive is fully searchable, so security and audit teams can locate incidents quickly. Privileged sessions can also be monitored in real time if malicious activity is suspected.

CyberArk’s jump server architecture enables direct access into the systems to be monitored without the need for agents. It also protects systems from endpoint machines that might not be secure. The CyberArk architecture is highly scalable and reliable to support large and complex IT environments.

Clango helps customers take advantage of PSM in several ways. Organizations often implement CyberArk in phases, starting with Enterprise Password Vault, then adding other components. Through our CyberArk consulting and implementation services, Clango’s experienced and certified team can help customers install and configure PSM, Threat Analytics, and other tools to spot dangerous activity.

Some devices and applications aren’t easy to monitor and manage using PSM out of the box. Our application development team can write custom connectors to bridge the gap between PSM and the target system. For example, a web-based application might require a web services connector to integrate with PSM.

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Privileged session management plays an essential role in protecting privileged accounts. Let Clango help you take advantage of CyberArk’s proven knowledge to gain visibility into privileged account activity and detect potential threats.

Send us an email at (info@clango.com)to learn more!

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