This month, BeyondTrust published the Buyer's Guide for Complete Privileged Access Management (PAM) to help organizations assess their privileged access security needs and mapping them to modern privilege management solutions.

Our experience over many thousands of deployments has shown that there is a fairly typical path that most customers follow, but ultimately, your next steps in PAM will depend on where you are now, and the risk-based decisions that inform your goals.

Figure: Evolving beyond the basics to improve PAM controls will improve, security, auditability, and business operations. The further you make it on the continuum to the end state, the more dramatic the risk reduction, the more condensed your threat surface, and the better your security posture.

As you evaluate privilege management solutions—or any enterprise solution for that matter—we recommend assessing each through the lens of:

  • Total cost of ownership: Does it result in time-savings (such as replacing manual processes with automation) and allow you to re-deploy resources for other initiatives? What are the direct and indirect costs to support the solution over its lifetime in your environment?
  • Time–to-value: How soon will it help you measurably improve security controls and dial down risk? How soon will you realize a positive business impact (freeing up time for end-users, streamlining processes, enabling the organization to confidently embrace new technologies and business initiatives). How long will it take to achieve your end-state goals with the solution? What are the chances/risks of it ending up as shelfware?
  • Scalability: What are your needs around scale? A solution could meet some of your needs around scale, but not all of them. For example, in evaluating privileged account & session management solutions (PASM), your needs for scale around managing privileged user passwords might be different than your needs for managing SSH keys, or application credentials, service accounts, or machine passwords. Some solutions will only be able to manage one of these types of passwords in the first place. Other solutions might offer broader coverage across password diverse types and meet your needs for scale around some of these capabilities (i.e. privileged user password management), but fail to meet your scalability needs around other capabilities (i.e. SSH key management, application password management, etc). On top of this, if auditing all privileged activity is important to you (it should be), few PASM solutions can scale to manage and monitor thousands of concurrent sessions. So, it’s important to understand the various facets of your scalability needs upfront.
  • Integrations/Interoperability: How does it integrate with the rest of your security ecosystem (IAM, SIEM, service desk, analytics)? Does it help you make better decisions on risk? If it only works well as a standalone/point solution, it’s probably only a stopgap versus a long-term solution. On the other hand, if the solution has synergies with your existing security solutions, it will also help you maximize existing investments.
  • Longetivity: Will the solution vendor grow with you or even pull you towards growth through security enablement? Is the vendor resourced to evolve capabilities and deepen feature-richness to meet the PAM use cases of tomorrow?

The Buyer’s Guide will help you gain perspective and context on how to quantify each of these values.

What else will this guide cover?

  • A proven eight-step approach to holistic privileged access management
  • The key PAM capabilities you should prioritize to reduce security risks, improve operational performance, and simplify your path to achieving compliance initiatives
  • PAM considerations for emerging and edge use cases (DevOps, robotic process automation, and non-traditional endpoints like IoT, SCADA, etc)
  • 5 differentiators that make BeyondTrust stand out from other vendors in the space—including a section on how we have genuinely revolutionized the PAM space
  • Your own, 10-page PAM Buyer's Guide template to help you identify your needs and assess and compare vendors

Each of the 8 steps in the guide represents a core area, that, when implemented, enhances an enterprise's control and accountability over the accounts, assets, users, systems, and activity that comprise its privilege environment, while eliminating and mitigating many threat vectors. Some organizations may try to implement many or all of these areas at once or within a short timeframe, but the more common approach is to phase in controls for one or few areas of PAM at a time.

A shortlist of PAM areas and capabilities covered in the Buyer's Guide include:

The more of these areas you implement, the more PAM synergies you will reap, and the greater the (positive) business impact and risk reduction.

Ready for the next steps in your PAM journey? Get your copy of the Buyer's Guide for Complete Privileged Access Management (PAM) now.