privileged password management The last thing you want to hear is that you’ve experienced a data breach… and then hear it was accomplished by an insider. One can only imagine the dread you’d feel if you’re the one in charge of securing your company’s most precious data. Think about it – you established the very secure environment that person used to commit their crime. Now, it doesn’t make you an accomplice, but it does mean, in some ways, that your security failed. That’s harsh, I know. But if you’ve gone to great lengths to establish and maintain a controlled, secure environment around privileged account use, why didn’t you know about the threat before they did something malicious? Allow me to let you off the hook a bit – in reality, even if you take measures like limiting access to privileged passwords, establishing limits on who can use them and when, requiring approvals with each use, and going as far as to put session recording in place that keeps track of every action – even if you do all of that… it’s still possible that you can’t identify a threat. And it’s not your fault – in many cases, according to the 2014 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 88% of insider threats involved misuse of privileges they already had. So that wipes out the limiting of access to passwords and use of approvals – the breaches likely happened well after that. So that leaves session monitoring. But can a part of privileged password management like recording the session alone tell you when someone’s performing a malicious action? Not if you go back and consider the Verizon stat. Even then, it will look like they’re just doing their job. So, how are you supposed to tell what’s a threat and what isn’t? The truth is there are too many variables for you to do it manually. Unless, that is, you want to either sit in on every privileged session (or play them back afterwards, assuming you have the ability to record them). And we all know no one has the time for that. The only real way is to look to a third-party analytics solution that pays attention to user behavior and compares it to themselves, as well as to others in the company that perform the same duties. By watching and analyzing these behaviors, solutions can identify anomalies where someone acts outside their norm (for example, they never ever open up a browser window, but today they did… why?). As part of your enterprise password management strategy, it’s important that you consider that even with all the layers of security policy and protocol you’ve put in place, at the end of the day, you’re granting access that will allow someone to do anything within that granted power they want – and that can include malicious activity that’s a threat to the organization. To learn more on how analytics plays a role as part of an overall privileged password management strategy, read chapter 6 of the ebook, “Six Critical Capabilities for Password Management”.