Privileged Access Management with NorthStar

“By 2022, 90% of organizations will recognize that mitigation of PAM risk is a fundamental security control, which is an increase from 70% today.”

*Gartner, Best Practices for Privileged Access Management Through the Four Pillars of PAM, 28 January 2019

Identified as one of the Top 10 IT Projects for 2019 by Gartner**, Privileged Access Management (PAM) consistently proves to be an initiative that challenges organizations with security teams struggling to maintain accurate and actionable user and group access information. While Compliance requirements tend to be the leading driver for PAM initiatives, many organizations design PAM programs to help reduce the business and IT Risk associated with excessive and unmonitored user access.  Forrester estimates that 80% of breaches involve a privileged identity, and that 66% of companies have been breached an average of five times or more.

By implementing a risk-based approach, security and risk management leaders can prioritize privileged access accounts to reduce risk and strengthen overall security posture. NorthStar Privilege Tracking addresses the following issues when tackling PAM initiatives:

Privilege Creep

Organizations with lackluster PAM programs are particularly susceptible to privilege creep with users.  These users have typically been part of the organization for many years and, as a result, may have worked in different groups, departments, and/or line of businesses.  As the individuals moved around the organization and the organization itself evolved, the users were unknowingly granted a surprising amount of access via group memberships and different individual accounts. Generally, these organizations have difficulty revoking unnecessary access during internal moves and these long-term users accumulate an excessive number of entitlements. Many of these entitlements are no longer necessary and often grant privileged access to systems across the entire organization.

Non-Employee Access and Access Revocation

Non-employee access to the organization’s environment is regularly considered a necessary evil.  Contractors, consultants, and temp workers all need access to the organization’s resources but are typically not part of the traditional employee HR lifecycle. Frequently, the accounts associated with these transient workers are left active and forgotten when the worker leaves creating an unsecured and credible threat to the security of the organization.

Unowned Service Accounts and Groups

A typical organization will follow user account best practices by splitting regular and administrative accounts and provisioning service accounts for different services. This practice, however, leads to login id and group sprawl as a single person can be represented by multiple accounts for the network resources and specific applications.  Single sign-on technologies have made this more manageable, however, many organizations lack a fundamental understanding of ownership. They do not know who owns a specific administrative or service account and, as a result, have become conservative with access revocation out of the fear of breaking production services and applications.

A Risk-Based Approach to Prioritized Privileged Access

Designed with a flexible data model, NorthStar Privilege Tracking allows organizations to bring together disparate privilege data from Active Directory and other applications and show user access to various systems across the environment.  Because this data is collected automatically every day, organizations can track the evolution of access for a person, login id, or resource. This type of continuous monitoring for user access enables organizations to track not only where a person has access but understand how they were granted access via group nesting and/or direct user grants.  NorthStar empowers security and risk management leaders to proactively address the privilege sprawl and unowned and abandoned user accounts and shut off access permanently and efficiently. 

For more information about how NorthStar can empower your Privileged Access Management projects, visit our Privilege Tracking center.  

Or contact us for a FREE demo!

*Gartner, Best Practices for Privileged Access Management Through the Four Pillars of PAM, 28 January 2019

**Gartner, Top 10 Security Projects for 2019, February 2019