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The Top 5 PAM Tasks IT Teams Must Automate Part 5: Compliance Reporting

Written by Jordan True

July 19th, 2017

Automating Compliance Reporting: When privileged account management tasks are being done manually, compliance reporting gets complicated. Yet many organizations must demonstrate compliance and provide evidence to auditors and other reviewing bodies to prove that security policy requirements are being met.

In this 5-part Thycotic educational series, we focus on five areas of Privileged Account Management where automation can be utilized to not only reduce the amount of work typically associated with certain IT tasks, but also to significantly improve the security posture of your organization:

Part 1: Account Discovery
Part 2: Changing Network Passwords
Part 3: Team Password Sharing
Part 4: SSH Key Management
You’re reading: Part 5: Compliance Reporting

Why automate at all? With data centers constantly expanding across multiple geographic locations, IT teams are increasing the physical and virtual servers they have to manage. Yet the resources that enable them to accomplish required tasks rarely keep pace with their demands. So it’s not surprising that automating repetitive, rote tasks is a key component of success for any IT Operations group. There are areas where automation efforts are often overlooked; especially for managing the accounts IT teams use every day: non-human privileged accounts and service/application accounts.

How to pass your next cyber security compliance audit with privilege management >

Why Automate Compliance Reporting?

While automation can help to execute essential privileged account management tasks more easily, organizations still must demonstrate and provide evidence to auditors, management, and any other reviewing body to prove that security policy requirements are being met. When privileged account management tasks are being done manually, compliance reporting gets complicated.

Manual compliance reporting is typically time-consuming, stretching already-busy IT teams to the limit

Manual methods of compliance reporting often require the time-consuming gathering of log information from target systems, along with any other documentation that might exist in ticketing systems, Security Information and Event Monitoring (SIEM) tools, and even hard copy notes.

Therefore, as you implement account management tools, you need to be able to automate reports that can aggregate information coming from these automated tools. Admins must be able to easily generate reports—on demand—that provide instant status checks for IT Operations or Security team members to determine real-time compliance status. Compliance reports should also be scheduled during designated auditing or regulatory reporting time frames.

Mature organizations may also be able to leverage dashboard-style reporting that provides up-to-the-moment information on the use of the automated account management tools. This enables admins to focus on other tasks while monitoring the status of various tool sets and taking action if necessary.

This labor-intensive process is especially burdensome for IT Operations team members more accustomed to performing technical tasks than pulling together documentation and reports.

Integrating automated reporting capabilities into SIEM tools or other Business Intelligence systems through privileged access management (PAM), either on premises or in the cloud,  can provide powerful data insights that go well beyond the scope of just reporting on compliance status.

Data feeds from Secret Server, connected via APIs, can provide real security intelligence that correlates with all of the other systems and software present in the organization. This, in turn, creates a holistic view for both security as well as business teams throughout the organization to see the status and integrity of the network as a whole.

With this kind of integration, admins and security teams can produce highly relevant presentations to update management and promote better decision-making that improves the overall security of the entire organization. And now, compliance reporting is not such a burden after all.

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