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The Lockdown

Thycotic’s Cyber Security Blog

8 Signs you’re outgrowing your PAM System and what to do next


Written by Dan Ritch

February 11th, 2020

Growth is a great problem to have. Suddenly you’re onboarding lots of people, launching products and signing off on new projects. It can also be stressful. Your company is looking to you to keep IT systems running smoothly and securely. 

As your company grows, the security tools you’ve been using need to keep up with constant change. 

With more work for everyone, automation becomes more important

From a PAM perspective, growth means more privileged accounts to manage and a more diverse attack surface. As teams grow, there is a higher likelihood of sharing privileged accounts. The pressure to move fast could lead people to skirt IT policies, so you lose visibility. With more work for everyone, automation becomes more important.  

To lower your risk, your PAM system needs to grow with you.   

Are you hitting roadblocks?

Here are eight signs you may be outgrowing your PAM system and recommendations to address the growth challenge:  

1. You started with out-of-the-box password changers and now you need to customize.    

Protecting just some of your IT systems isn’t sufficient to protect your organization from a breach or attack. You have legacy systems and custom applications as well as common enterprise tools, and you need to support them by using privileged access management best practices like discovery and rotation. Letting passwords “hang out” for years without rotation is extremely risky. Your PAM vendor should be able to build custom password changers for anything you need.   

2. Your IT operations team is asking for more control.   

Are your IT teams starting to feel overwhelmed by PAM tasks? Your PAM solution should allow them to automate tasks using PowerShell scripts so they can do their jobs faster and more efficiently.     

3. You want to make PAM results visible to everyone. 

As your PAM system grows, people start to ask more questions about results. You’ll need ways to quickly run reports that show how PAM is being used and the benefits of your PAM strategy. As you show reports to executives and others who don’t use PAM every day, you’ll want the ability to create and share visualizations that are easy for others to understand.   

4. You’re ready to integrate PAM with the rest of your IT systems. 

As companies grow, there’s a tendency to add more tools and end up with security tool sprawl. PAM tools should be integrated with your IT workflow, SIEM and incident response systems so you don’t end up with tech silos and isolated processes. It’s the only way to scale and build PAM best practices into your company culture.    

5. Your cloud platforms are expanding. 

High growth and the cloud have become synonymous. Are your development teams using IaaS or PaaS? Privileged users having un-audited access to AWS or other cloud services can be a security disaster if they aren’t configuring and maintaining them properly. The increase in risk calls for an increase in security controls and your PAM system should help mitigate that risk.  

6. Your web applications are proliferating.

Are your business users adding more web-based solutions to their toolset? A good PAM solution should make managing web access a priority. Business users could likely also benefit from a dedicated, personal space to keep their day-to-day passwords.   

7. Your user population is growing. 

As more people join your organization and need privileged access, it can be difficult to stay organized. Building roles by hand takes too long. A system without folders can easily become incomprehensible.  

Folders with roles and permissions help you organize access and roles for privileged users. Setting up rules for built-in roles and inherited permissions can help you scale while maintaining consistency.   

8. On-premise management is too resource intensive.

No one wants that 3 AM call that systems are down. If your on-prem workload is causing a strain, it may be time to shift to PAM-as-a-service.  

A true cloud solution should offer more than just a VM running in a private cloud. Cloud-based PAM gives you redundancy, disaster recovery, and an uptime SLA, including no downtime for updates. A cloud PAM solution should cover all your PAM requirements, including account discovery, rotation, analytics and more, for all types of privileged accounts. 

Are you ready for growth?

Make sure you have a PAM system that’s ready to keep pace with your future. Share your concerns with your PAM partner and confirm they can address them. Make sure they have a clear product roadmap based on a rock-solid foundation, and products that work together so you can grow when you’re ready. 

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