Optimising PAM for Cost Savings and Stronger Security

Optimising PAM for Cost Savings and Stronger Security

It’s imperative for organisations around the globe to properly secure their privileged credentials, accounts and sessions to protect their digital crown jewels from unauthorised breaches, yet traditional Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions are failing enterprises. These solutions are proving too costly in many cases - and so complex in others - that many organisations are opting to shelve or never fully deploy their PAM products, saying they’re wasting money on features they don’t even use.

In fact, 68% of organisations admit to paying for features they feel are wasted, according to this year’s PAM Insight Report. To make matters worse, the global economic downturn is resulting in many business leaders tightening their cybersecurity budgets. In turn, solutions that are too complex and too expensive are the first ones on the chopping block. The goal of cost-savings in the short term is putting organisations at greater risk of a cybersecurity incident down the road by cutting or having underutilised PAM deployments - the very solutions designed to control access to and protect the most vital business information.

In today’s era of the hybrid workforce, organisation leaders and security teams must understand the importance of having agile, cloud-based identity security solutions to protect against the cybersecurity threat vectors that exploit unsecured privileged credentials and accounts. This includes monitoring, detecting and preventing any unauthorised access to a company’s critical resources. With 91% of organisations using some type of PAM, leaders are looking to choose solutions that are simple to deploy, pervasive and don’t eat into already strained budgets. 

Challenges with legacy PAM solutions  

PAM products, in general, are not a novelty. They are established software solutions that enable companies to manage privileged access to endpoints, servers, applications and cloud resources. These solutions traditionally protect a small set of IT administrators, as well as select senior employees. However, typical modern data environments are increasingly shifting to the cloud, which means they include a growing number of endpoints. Thus, these legacy on-premises solutions are clunky and outdated, leaving many companies paying for ‘wasted’ features. In fact, 87% of security leaders say they’d prefer a more pared down form of PAM.

Furthermore, traditional solutions don’t protect every user, on every device, in every location - a necessity in the age of hybrid working.

PAM products should provide visibility, security, control, and reporting across every user on every device, especially as organisations are increasingly aware of the need to protect credentials for all users – not just privileged users.

Modern, cloud-based organisations need solutions that encapsulate all capabilities in one unified platform, that are simpler to deploy and use, and that adapt to an organisation’s changing needs.

What benefits do leaders look for in a PAM solution? 

IT and security leaders have five basic requirements when it comes to choosing a PAM solution:

  • Managing and monitoring privileged user access: Security teams must have full insight into both privileged and non-privileged users, so they can restrict and grant access where necessary and spot suspicious behaviour early on.
  • Protecting against compromise: By being able to manage and better protect privileged credentials, IT teams and leaders can better secure them from unauthorised access or compromise.
  • Preventing data breaches: A zero-trust and zero-knowledge framework significantly reduces the chance of a data breach and makes it impossible for threat actors to access or steal confidential data.
  • Preventing insider threats: Admins must be able to limit accidental and deliberate misuse of privileged access from potential insider threats, with full visibility and control over privileged access.
  • Updating access rights: Security teams need the ability to ensure privileged user access is updated regularly to prevent “privilege creep.”

While these are tenets of most solutions on the market, a critical differentiating principle for PAM solutions now, and into the future, has to be that all these features are extended to the cloud and available on any device a user might be working from.

How can new solutions meet modern operational challenges?  

In addition to the requirement for PAM to protect all employees, regardless of where they are working from, simplicity is also an important factor, as evidenced by 84% of IT leaders acknowledging they want to simplify their PAM solutions and only 35% saying they’re satisfied with the solution they are currently using. As IT and security leaders adapt to and advance with the ever-changing workplace, PAM providers must supply tools that enable organisations to keep pace in the current high-risk security climate. 

PAM solutions must also provide essential functionality with zero-trust and zero-knowledge security. A zero-trust and zero-knowledge security platform gives organisations total visibility and control over all employee credential practices. A zero-knowledge architecture protects user data from attackers and vendors, mitigating vendor compromise and insider threats. Zero trust is foundational to an effective PAM solution, and a strict zero-knowledge approach is vital as SaaS becomes the preferred deployment method for organisations. However, most traditional PAM solutions do not strictly adhere to zero-knowledge principles.

Moving PAM to the cloud 

Organisations are rapidly moving to multi-cloud and hybrid IT environments, and because compromised passwords are responsible for the overwhelming majority of data breaches, keeping identities and access secure is the foundation of cloud security. However, traditional PAM solutions are lagging behind. 

With a next-generation SaaS PAM solution, security and business leaders achieve a variety of benefits in addition to the basics:

  • Flexibility: Security teams can secure their employees from anywhere, at any time and on any device. 
  • Simplicity: The vendor can manage installation, maintenance and updates of their PAM solution.
  • Fast provisioning: The solution seamlessly deploys and integrates with any tech or identity stack in a matter of hours. 
  • Cost-savings: With a unified SaaS platform, there are fewer disparate products for organisations to purchase.

The digital landscape is evolving beyond IT professionals’ control, and the data clearly shows they seek unified PAM solutions that provide them with password, secrets, and privileged connection management capabilities. They want and need solutions that are quick to deploy, affordable, and simple to understand and integrate. Additionally, as not to compromise on security, zero-knowledge must be at the core of every PAM solution, due to the increasing desire for SaaS deployment methods. In order to maintain visibility and stay ahead of the next wave of cyberthreats, organisations must adapt, automate and advance along with the ever-changing workplace and threat landscape.