P RE D I C T I V E I NTELLIGEN CE
Privileged identities are separate
from user identities. They’re different
technologies. Industry analysts write
about them in separate reports.
Software vendors usually specialise
in one or the other. At a fundamental
level, the idea of a regular user and a
privileged user are different.
If user identities are the keys that
employees carry to open the front door
of the office, privileged identities are the
keys used by the security guards to get
into every door in the office building.
John Hathaway, Regional Vice President –
Middle East and India at BeyondTrust
any IT asset in an organisation – on
premises or in the cloud.
In large enterprises there are so many
privileged accounts, that organisations
often can’t keep track of where all their
privileged accounts reside or who can
access them. Unfortunately, though,
almost every one of these powerful
privileged accounts represents an
attack vector that can be exploited by an
insider threat or an external hacker. And
it only takes one breached privileged
account to snowball into a disaster.
Privileged identities are
When I describe this situation to people,
it’s usually at this point where they tell
me they have an Identity and Access
Management (IAM) tool to handle
the problem. No, actually you don’t, I
respond. Here’s why: IAM products deal
primarily with user accounts associated
with personal logins. Organisations use
IAM solutions to provision and de-
However, privileged identities aren’t
managed by standard IAM systems.
Unlike user identities, privileged
identities aren’t typically provisioned.
Instead, they appear on the network
whenever physical and virtual IT assets
get deployed or changed. As a result,
it’s necessary to discover and track
privileged identities with software that’s
separate from conventional IAM. That’s
where Privileged Access Management
(PAM) comes in.
User identities are tied to a particular
person. All the things in the IT
infrastructure connected to that
Almost every one
of these powerful
represents an attack
vector that can
particular person are traced to his or her
Privileged identities, on the other hand,
are not mapped to a single person.
They’re used by many people. And
sometimes they’re not even used by
people, like the privileged identities
created to run service accounts. So,
PAM must account for the fact that
the people using a privileged identity
may be different at any given time.
Therefore, it’s essential to have a way
to track who has privileged access
and control what they are doing with
Automating cybersecurity with
Privileged Access Management
Now, let’s bring this back to the question
posed at the start of this article. If it’s
inevitable that intruders will get in,
how will I protect my organisation after
hackers breach our network perimeter?
Traditional perimeter security tools
can’t cope with advanced cyberattacks
or carefully crafted social engineering
exploits. Once the intruders penetrate
the perimeter, conventional IAM solutions
don’t defend the powerful privileged
identities that attackers need to
accomplish their nefarious plans.
But PAM technology does. With a PAM
solution you can automatically discover
all the privileged accounts throughout
your cross-platform network. Just one
vulnerable account can open your entire
network up to compromise.