February 4, 2023

The Definitive Guide to Internet of Things (IoT) Privilege Access Management in 2023

word access written on a digital background

According to a recent study, machine identities (IDs) are growing at twice the rate of human identities. To defend these machine identities in the IoT, privilege access management will be one of the most important areas of focus for businesses in the Internet of Things (IoT) space in 2023.

As more and more devices are connected to the internet and can share data, it’s becoming increasingly important to make sure that only authorized users have access to sensitive information. That’s where privilege access management comes in.

This accelerated growth of machine IDs has important implications for security teams managing identities and privileged access for their organizations. Privilege access management is all about controlling who has access to what data and resources. It’s typically done through a combination of policies, procedures, and technical controls.

By putting in place the right mix of these three things, businesses can ensure that only authorized users are able to access sensitive data and resources. So how can businesses make sure they’re doing privilege access management right? Read on to find out.

What Is Privileged Access Management?

Privileged Access Management (PAM) is a security discipline that includes the procedures and technologies used to protect sensitive assets from unauthorised access. In most organizations, privileged users are those who have administrative or elevated privileges, such as system administrators, database administrators, and IT support staff.

PAM solutions typically include features such as password management, session management, role-based access control, and auditing. These features work together to help organizations restrict privileged user access to only the resources that they need to do their jobs. By doing so, a PAM solution can help reduce the risks associated with data breaches and other security incidents.

PAM solutions are an important part of any organisation’s overall security posture by helping to manage privileged access. When implemented correctly, they can help minimise the chances of success for attackers who target privileged users to gain access to sensitive data and systems.

What is a Privileged Account and How Are They Created?

This accelerated growth of machine IDs has important implications for security teams managing identities and privileged access for their organisations. That’s because these non-human identities impact large numbers of privileged accounts across the entire enterprise

A privileged account is a user account that has elevated privileges, which means it can access information and perform tasks that ordinary user accounts cannot. Privileged accounts are typically used by administrators and other IT staff who need to perform system-level tasks.

However, because privileged admin accounts have such high levels of access, they can also be abused by malicious insiders or hackers who manage to gain access to them. This is why it’s important to carefully control and monitor privileged accounts and ensure secure access.

There are two main ways that privileged accounts can be created: manually or through automation. Manually creating privileged accounts is the more traditional approach, and it involves an administrator manually creating an account and then assigning the appropriate privileges to that account. This process is often time-consuming and error-prone, which is why many organizations are now turning to automated methods for creating privileged accounts.

Automated and secure privileged accounts and account management tools can greatly simplify the process of creating and managing privileged accounts. These tools can automatically create accounts based on predefined criteria and then assign the appropriate privileges to those accounts. In addition, automated tools can provide greater visibility into Privileged Account activity and help to prevent misuse ofPrivileged Accounts.

How Does Privileged Access Management Work?

Privileged access management (PAM) is a system that helps organisations control who has access to what. It’s designed to make sure that only authorized users can gain access to sensitive data and systems. PAM works by creating a centralised repository of all privileged accounts and credentials. This repository is then used to track and monitor all activity related to these accounts.

By doing this, PAM can help prevent unauthorised administrative access, and minimise the risk of data breaches. PAM can also help organizations comply with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In addition, PAM can improve operational efficiency by automating the provisioning and de-provisioning of privileged accounts. If you’re looking to improve your organisation’s security posture, Privileged Access Management is a great place to start.

Privileged Access Management vs. Privileged Account Management vs. Privileged Session Management

Privileged Access Management:

Privileged Access Management (PAM):is a critical security control that helps organisations to protect their most sensitive assets by controlling who has access to them. PAM is usually implemented as a centralised solution that provides a single point of control for managing privileged accounts and permissions.

Privileged Account Management:

Privileged Account Management (PAM) is a term that is often used interchangeably with PAM. However, PAM is a subset of PAM and refers to the management of privileged accounts only. This includes tasks such as creating, changing and deleting account passwords, as well as assigning and revoking privileges.

Privileged Session Management:

Privileged Session Management (PSM) is another term that is sometimes used interchangeably with PAM. However, PSM actually refers to the monitoring and control of privileged sessions only. This includes the ability to monitor, manage and audit the activities of privileged users. It tracks and logs sessions initiated by internal and external users and connected systems with abilities beyond that of a standard user.

PAM solutions typically provide all three of these capabilities (account management, session management and access control), although there are also standalone solutions available for each one. The choice of which solution to use will depend on the specific needs of the organisation.

What Are Privileged Accounts?

Privileged user accounts are user accounts that have been granted special permissions on a computer operating system, or network. These permissions allow the user to access, modify, and delete critical data and files.

Business Privileged User Accounts

As a business, you want to ensure that your data is secure and that only authorized users have access to it. One way to help protect your data is to create privileged user accounts. Privileged user accounts are accounts that have been granted special privileges, such as the ability to access sensitive data or perform certain actions.

Domain administrator accounts

Domain administrator accounts are another type of account that can be used to help protect your data. Domain administrator accounts are typically used by IT staff or other administrators who need to manage the domain. While domain administrator accounts do have more privileges than standard user accounts, they should only be used when necessary due to the increased risk they pose

How Privileged Access Management Solutions Stop Cyber Threats

IoT connected devices pose a significant risk to enterprises and governments alike. These devices typically do not have the same security controls that protect the rest of the enterprise network.

  • It reduces the cyber attack surface
  • It stops the spread of malware
  • It improves end-user productivity
  • It helps streamline compliance and audits

Privileged access management solutions play a critical role in protecting organizations from cyber threats. By controlling and monitoring access to sensitive data and systems, privileged access management solutions help ensure that only authorized users can access sensitive information. If a device is not recognised, it will not be allowed to access the network, system or any information. This helps prevent unauthorised users from gaining access to sensitive data, which could be used to commit cyber crimes.

Additionally, privileged access management solutions can also help monitor user activity and detect suspicious activity that could indicate a potential cyber threat. By stopping potential threats before they can do damage, privileged access management solutions play a vital role in protecting organizations from the damaging effects of cyber attacks.

Insider Threat

The Insider Threat is a careless or disgruntled employee who acts against the company through loss or leak of sensitive data, data breaches etc. Insider threat management protects against data loss or negative brand damage and to protect and contain undesirable behaviour of trusted accounts against internal and external threats. Insider threats manifest in various ways: violence, espionage, sabotage, theft, and cyber acts.

There’s no doubt that insider threats are a big problem when it comes to cybersecurity. After all, these are the people who have access to your systems and data, so they can do a lot of damage if they turn out to be malicious. User activity monitoring isn’t foolproof, but it’s a valuable tool in the fight against insider threats. Make sure you have it in place as part of your overall security strategy.

One of the best ways to defend against insider threat cyber attacks is through user activity monitoring. This means tracking what users are doing on your systems and looking for any unusual or suspicious behaviour. If you spot something that doesn’t seem right, you can investigate further and take appropriate action.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) defines insider threat as the threat that an insider threat will use their authorized access, intentionally or unintentionally, to do harm to the department’s mission, resources, personnel, facilities, information, equipment, networks, or systems.

What Is the Principle Of Least Privilege?

The principle of least privilege (PoLP) is an information security concept which maintains that a user or entity should only have access to the specific data, resources and applications needed to complete a required task.

The Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP) is a security principle that requires that an entity be given the bare minimum number of privileges needed to perform its tasks. The theory behind PoLP is that by minimising an entity’s privileges, you reduce the potential for damage if that entity is compromised.

For example, if a malicious actor gains access to a low-privileged user account, they would be unable to wreak as much havoc as if they had gained access to a high-privileged account. PoLP is often cited as best practice in many security frameworks, including the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework and ISO 27001. Many compliance mandates, such as PCI DSS and HIPAA, also require adherence to the principle of least privilege.

Organizations can implement PoLP in many ways, but one common method is role-based access control (RBAC). With RBAC, users are only given the privileges they need to perform their job duties. For example, a help desk employee who only needs to reset passwords would not have access to sensitive customer data.

Another way to enforce PoLP is through least privilege user accounts (LPUAs), in which user accounts have very limited privileges by default and can only request additional privileges when needed.

PAM vs. IAM: How does PAM compare to IAM? How are IAM and PAM different?

What is PAM?

PAM, or Privilege Access Management, is a security protocol that controls and monitors access to systems, networks, and data. PAM is typically used in enterprises to protect sensitive information from unauthorised access.

How does PAM compare to IAM?

IAM, or Identity Access Management, is a similar security protocol that also controls and monitors access to systems, networks, and data. However, IAM focuses on managing user identities rather than privileges. Additionally, IAM is often used in conjunction with PAM to provide a more comprehensive security solution.

How are IAM and PAM different?

IAM and PAM are different in terms of focus and scope. IAM is used to identify and authorise users across the entire organisation, while PAM serves as a subset of IAM focused on privileged users — those who need permission to access more sensitive data.

While both protocols aim to control access to systems and data, IAM specifically manages user identities while PAM manages user privileges. Additionally, IAM can be used alongside PAM to provide a more holistic security solution.

Privileged Identity Management

Privileged Identity Management, or PIM, is a security solution that helps organizations manage and protect their most sensitive data and systems. By controlling who has access to what, PIM makes it much harder for unauthorised users to gain access to critical data and systems. This can help prevent data breaches, fraud, and other malicious activity.

Privileged Identity Management provides time-based and approval-based role activation to mitigate the risks of excessive, unnecessary, or misused access permissions on resources that you care about.

PIM solutions typically include a combination of software and hardware that work together to provide a robust security solution. For example, PIM software may include features like password management, user provisioning, and role-based access control. Hardware components may include things like biometric scanners and smart cards.

Organizations that implement PIM can enjoy several benefits. For one, they can more easily comply with regulatory requirements around data security. Additionally, PIM can help improve operational efficiency by streamlining the process of managing user accounts and permissions. And finally, PIM can help boost an organisation’s overall security posture by making it more difficult for attackers to gain access to sensitive data and systems.

Why is PAM Important?

Privileged access management is a critical cybersecurity measure that helps organizations control and monitor access to sensitive systems and data. It’s important because it helps ensure that only authorized users can gain access to privileged information, and that they can do so in a way that is tracked and monitored. This helps to prevent unauthorised access and misuse of sensitive data, which can lead to serious security breaches.

In today’s digital world, where more and more businesses are storing sensitive data online, a privileged access management solution has become even more important. With the right tools in place, organizations can help to protect their data from cyberattacks and ensure compliance with data privacy regulations.

What is Privileged Access Security?

Privileged Access Security is a term for security measures that restrict access to privileged accounts and resources. In an information security context, privilege refers to a user’s authorisation to perform certain actions, such as viewing confidential data or changing system settings.

Privileged Access Security controls are designed to prevent unauthorised access to privileged accounts and resources, and to limit the capabilities of authorised users. Common Privileged Access Security controls include least privilege principles, separation of duties, privilege escalation prevention, and auditing of privileged activity.

Implementing Privileged Access Security measures can be challenging, as they can impact the usability of systems and the productivity of users. However, the benefits of Privileged Access Security – including reduced risk of data breaches and compliance violations – make it a vital component of any organisation’s security posture.

Privileged Access Management Best Practices

There is no doubt that Privileged Access Management (PAM) is a critical cybersecurity measure. PAM safeguards organizations by securing and managing access to privileged accounts and assets.

While PAM is vital, it is often overlooked or not given the attention it deserves. This can leave gaps in an organisation’s security posture and put them at risk of a breach. To close these gaps, organizations need to implement best practices for PAM. Some key best practices include:

  1. Defining what privileged accounts are and who has access to them.
  2. Restricting access to privileged accounts and assets to only those who need it.
  3. Monitoring activity on privileged accounts and assets for suspicious activity.
  4. Rotating and managing passwords for privileged accounts on a regular basis.
  5. Auditing access to privileged accounts and assets regularly. By implementing these best practices, organizations can better secure their environment and reduce their risk of being breached.

What is Privileged User Management?

Privileged user management is a security practice that involves the identification, control and monitoring of users who have access to sensitive information or systems. The goal of privileged user management is to reduce the risks associated with unauthorised access, misuse of privileges and data breaches.

Privileged users are typically employees with administrative or supervisory roles within an organisation. They may have access to confidential information, sensitive systems, or critical infrastructure. The misuse of privileged user accounts is a major security concern as they can be used to gain unauthorised access, steal data, or disable systems.

Organisations should implement a privileged user management program to help mitigate these risks. This includes identifying and classifying privileged users, assessing their risk profile, defining roles and responsibilities for privileged administrative access, implementing controls and monitoring privileged user activity. By doing so, organizations can better protect their data and systems from abuse and unauthorised access.

What is Privileged Endpoint Management?

Endpoints in the IoT can become complicated due to the sheer number of devices connected. Each of these devices can be considered as an “endpoint”, meaning they are a part of the network and therefore need to be protected as a potential point of access.

Privileged Endpoint Management (PEM) is a security practice that helps organizations protect their most sensitive data and systems. By identifying and managing privileged accounts, PEM provides a critical layer of defence against cyber attacks. PEM solutions help organizations to discover, inventory and control all privileged accounts across the enterprise. This includes local administrator accounts, service accounts, application user accounts and root/superuser accounts.

PEM solutions also provide granular control over what privileged users can do with their elevated privileges. This helps to prevent malicious or accidental misuse of privileges that could lead to data breaches or system outages.

Privileged Credentials and PAM in IoT Security

PAM is important for IoT security because it helps prevent unauthorised access to devices and data. By only giving users the permissions they need, PAM reduces the chances that an attacker will be able to exploit vulnerabilities. For example, if an attacker gains access to a device with low-level privileges, they will only be able to view information or perform actions that are allowed for that privilege level. This makes it more difficult for attackers to cause harm or steal sensitive data.

Additionally, PAM can help organizations comply with regulations like HIPAA and GDPR. These regulations require companies to take steps to protect customer data, and PAM is an effective way to do this. By limiting access to devices and data, PAM ensures that only authorized users can view or modify sensitive information.

Overall, PAM is a vital part of IoT security. It helps prevent unauthorised access, limits the damage that can be caused by an attacker, and can assist with compliance efforts. Organizations should consider implementing PAM solutions as part of their Zero Trust architecture.


Louise José