The simplest and most effective way to limit risks associated with privileged accounts is by applying the principle of least privilege (PoLP). This involves controlling where users can access privileged accounts, what actions they can take once they have gained access, and how long access stays granted.
A successful cyber attack can severely damage a business’s brand reputation and result in financial losses. This can be avoided by ensuring workers know the risks and implementing robust cybersecurity policies.
Security awareness training teaches employees how to identify and avoid cybersecurity threats. It also helps them respond positively in the event of an actual incident. To ensure that workers are well-informed, companies should provide training when new employees join the company and regularly deliver refresher courses throughout the year to keep them up-to-date on cybersecurity best practices. They should also monitor how employees follow the organization’s cybersecurity policy and report any lapses or violations. Just-in-time access policies are a security tool that allows organizations to grant access to users only when needed and revoke that access when the need for it expires. This mitigates several cybersecurity risks by addressing location, time, and action issues. This approach can be implemented by creating temporary or one-time accounts for all users. The credentials for these accounts are stored in a single vault and only activated when needed. This mitigates the risk of privileged accounts being used by malicious actors, which can lead to data breaches or loss of information.
Auditing is a process of verifying that an organization’s systems and processes meet defined requirements. It is used to identify risks that can be mitigated by implementing security controls and improving business performance. Performing an audit requires planning and preparation, as well as on-site verification of the system’s effectiveness. This includes interviewing personnel, reviewing financial records, and testing internal controls.
An auditor’s findings are reported to management, usually to make recommendations for improvements or forward identified issues to the appropriate parties for follow-up. A positive audit report can enhance the credibility of a financial statement with users such as lenders and investors. In a business environment, audits are necessary to ensure management systems conform to applicable standards and regulatory requirements, such as ISO 9001. In addition, third-party audit organizations may certify an organization’s management system to meet requirements for specific industries or categories.
Compliance audits, such as those required by the Federal government, can help determine compliance risks and opportunities. The findings can also be used to develop policies and budgets for the business.
Privileged access audits, which examine users’ access to critical assets and systems, are another key element of cybersecurity practices. These reviews can be done as part of a larger user access review or as an individual activity, depending on the organization’s needs.
Privileged Access Management
Privileged access management is a vital component of an organization’s security strategy. It helps prevent cyberattacks by identifying and preventing the abuse of privileged accounts.
Clearly defining what privileged access means in your company is essential. This includes defining what information is sensitive and determining who should have the right to view that data. It also means implementing IT security policies that spell out acceptable use and responsibilities for privileged access. Another critical aspect of privileged access management is monitoring and recording privileged account activities. This data enables behavior analysis, which can help identify deviations and trigger alerts if necessary. Organizations need a solution to implement privileged access management to provide a full audit trail of privileged access activity. It should also be able to revoke privileges automatically when suspicious activity occurs. A just-in-time access policy limits standing privileges, reducing the risk of cyberattacks that take advantage of accounts with unlimited permissions. This approach reduces the attack surface to only when users actively use their privileges, reducing their time to steal data or move laterally to other systems.
A successful cyberattack can cause significant damage to your business, including loss of productivity, data recovery expenses, and financial losses. It can also lead to legal liability and compliance penalties, so it’s important to understand how to mitigate these risks. The first step is to identify your risks, then implement measures to protect against them. It’s also important to ensure that your organization’s security strategy aligns with industry-specific standards and regulations. For example, organizations must adhere to HIPAA and FERPA for healthcare businesses, Sarbanes-Oxley for financial institutions, and PCI DSS for businesses processing credit card payments. These standards and laws are designed to protect consumers and businesses from fraudulent transactions.
However, achieving these standards and maintaining a high level of security can take time and effort. Many organizations need help to keep up with changing security technologies and regulations.
One way to manage these challenges is to use a just-in-time access policy. This solution allows you to eliminate standing privileges and control privileged sessions by granting privileged access only when a user needs it and only for a limited time. Just-in-time access is a powerful tool for mitigating the risks of cyberattacks. It reduces the risk of hackers stealing passwords or using privileged access to steal credentials, perform data encryption, or disrupt business systems by preventing users from having privileged access for an extended period.