Privileged Password Management, also referred to as Privileged Access and Session Management (PASM), or Privileged Credential Management, provides the ability to manage credentials, accounts, and sessions for your most critical assets. While some PAM vendors offer a single, unified tool, many point solutions only cover keys, or privileged user passwords, or application passwords, or sessions—and only across certain environments. Then, there is Secrets Management, typically another standalone tool designed for DevOps teams to manage sensitive secrets, passwords, or encryption keys used by human and non-human users, as are often needed in CI/CD environments.
Each of these PASM and secrets management products has a use case and solves for a challenge. But the existence and overlap of so many tools also create sprawl, security complexity, policy inconsistencies, and compliance gaps.
It’s unsurprising that as many as 75% of organizations are looking to consolidate IAM vendors and tools, according to analysts we’ve spoken with. Yet, until recently, there were no truly comprehensive, all-in-one products to address PASM and modern secrets management use cases.
Having PASM and secrets management in one solution can provide many benefits for IT Security teams because it allows for centralized management of a broad spectrum of privileged accounts, credentials, and secrets. BeyondTrust Password Safe now combines the best features of privileged password management and secrets management under one-pane-of-glass.
The rest of this blog will cover, in more depth, why both the two capabilities are essential for your organization, and how Password Safe can help you enforce more consistent policies around privileged account and credential management, while also improving end-user experience.
Why you need Privileged Password Management
Privileged passwords are a subset of credentials that provide elevated access and permissions across accounts, applications, and systems.
Most organizations rely on some type of a privileged password management tool(s). These ‘tools’ could be anything from an Excel spreadsheet for simple password tracking, to an advanced enterprise privileged password management solution that automates privileged account and credential discovery, onboarding, access control, centralized protection and storage, rotation, alerting, reporting, and oversight of all the enterprise’s credentials.
Enterprise PASM solutions deliver another essential element: session management, which improves oversight and accountability over privileged accounts and credentials. Privileged session management refers to the monitoring, recording, and control over privileged sessions. IT needs to be able to audit privileged activity for both security and to meet regulations from SOX, HIPAA, GLBA, PCI-DSS, FDCC, FISMA, and more. Auditing activities can include keystroke logging and live screen recording and playback, to name a few.
Some third-party solutions can provide automated workflows that give IT granular control over privileged sessions, such as allowing them to pinpoint an anomalous session and pause, lock, or terminate it until a determination is made that the activity is appropriate.
Why You Need Secrets Management
A secrets vault is essentially a secure repository for storing sensitive credentials and secrets. Secrets can include passcodes required to perform management actions on resources within a given infrastructure. Such management actions include creating, accessing, terminating, and the deployment of pipeline resources, among others.
A secrets vault can store various types of credentials, such as passwords, API keys, tokens, XML files, JSON files, and more. With a secrets vault, all your data is encrypted before it is stored in the vault, making it virtually impossible for anyone outside of your organization—even hackers—to gain access to it without permission from an authorized administrator.
Enterprise secrets vaults are designed with high availability in mind, meaning they are built with redundant backups in case something goes wrong with one system or another, so that no data is ever lost or corrupted in transit or storage.
A secrets management solution should be integrated closely with today’s cloud frameworks, such as Kubernetes, especially when using Kubernetes Sidecar technology, to reduce the complexity and knowledge required to implement Kubernetes. Further integrations with cloud development tools such as Terraform, Jenkins, Ansible, and more help deliver the fast-paced development enterprises require.
Why you need both PASM + Secrets Management in one solution
1. Discovery and onboarding
Having one unified solution to help ensure zero gaps in visibility and coverage provides an immense security and operations benefit. Ideally, you want to discover and onboard all privileged accounts and credentials (passwords, SSH keys, etc.).
2. Consistent enforcement of security policies
One of the most salient benefits of combining a privileged password management and secrets management solution in one tool is that it allows for consolidated management of all privileged credentials and secrets used by human and non-human users. This makes it easier to control privileged credentials—the proverbial keys to the IT Kingdom—and access to critical assets only by authorized personnel or automated processes. Rather than various individuals or teams managing credentials differently, IT now has oversight of all types of privileged credentials and can ensure best practices are always enforced.
For instance, PASM and secrets management solutions provide automated generation, rotation, and management of credentials, which can help to reduce your organization’s attack surface and mitigate the risk of human error. In particular, dynamic secrets and one-time-passwords can essentially eliminate password reuse as an attack vector. This is an especially important factor for IT teams overseeing cloud security, as it can help to ensure that the credentials used for infrastructure access and cloud-based resources are always up-to-date and secure.
3. Simplified auditing and compliance
PASM and secrets management tools may provide several features, such as role-based access controls, and audit logging, which can help organizations to monitor and track access to critical infrastructure and meet compliance mandates (SOC 2, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, etc.). Centralized, up-to-the-minute visibility and reporting on privileged account activity and secrets usage across all privileged users, DevOps teams, automated processes, and applications makes it much easier to satisfy compliance asks, as well as to satisfy many other requirements, such as for cyber insurance qualification.
4. Easier Ecosystem Integrations
PASM and secrets vault solutions typically integrate with diverse services and applications. This makes it easy for IT security and developers alike to access privileged passwords and secrets stored in the vault in their applications, without having to hardcode these privileged credentials into the application itself. However, having a single integration with third-party tools and systems via one holistic Privileged Credential Management console versus many provides several benefits around streamlining and simplification.
Complete PASM + Secrets Management = Password Safe
Today’s IT security teams are responsible for cloud/multicloud, on-premises, and a broad spectrum of hybrid environments. Ensuring the highest security possible, while allowing cloud developers and other contributors to move quickly, is of paramount importance.
Adopting a privileged password management and a secrets management tool in a unified solution can provide organizations with a Big Win. Password Safe is the most complete such solution, managing all types of privileged accounts (human and machine), credentials (passwords, secrets, keys, etc.), and sessions.
Password Safe helps organizations protect their identities, infrastructure, and applications from unauthorized user activities and other internal and external security threats, while also providing greater visibility into all privileged session activity within their environment.
Key benefits of Password Safe:
- Automated Credential and Secrets Management: Automatically discovers and onboards accounts. Stores, manages, and rotates privileged passwords. Eliminates embedded credentials in scripts and code. Implements secrets management for any file or artifact needed to run an application. Supports a just-in-time access model and zero trust.
- Advanced Reporting, Auditing, and Forensics: Logs and monitors all privileged credential activity and sessions. Leverages extensive privilege and credential analytics to simplify compliance, forensics, benchmark tracking, and more.
- Seamless, synergistic integrations with other tools and technologies: Password Safe integrates with many other vendor tools, including SailPoint, ServiceNow, Splunk, UiPath, and more. In addition,, teams desiring to use Kubernetes will benefit from BeyondTrust’s unique secrets management using Kubernetes Sidecar or Init container. Using the Kubernetes Sidecar enables rapid development without requiring deep Kubernetes experience, because it frees the developer from including secrets management in their container code.
With Password Safe, enterprises are better poised not only to enhance and simplify security, but enable the agility required by cloud and DevOps teams.
Get Started Today
Learn more about BeyondTrust Password Safe and how it quickly increases your security posture without getting in the way of agile and rapid development methods.
A first step is often to assess the security gaps of the organization. BeyondTrust makes this easy with our free Privileged Access Discovery (PAD) App. Free to download, the PAD App runs in your environment and retains no information, providing you a detailed report of credential-related security vulnerabilities in your environment.
Rich Keith, Sr. Product Marketing Manager
Rich Keith has over 20 years technical experience in cyber security, identity management, AI/ML and big data analytics, and enterprise software, including enterprise Java servers and transaction processing systems. Rich is a sought-after speaker at cybersecurity events worldwide. Prior to BeyondTrust, Rich held senior positions at SailPoint, Cofense (formerly PhishMe), and BEA Systems/Oracle. Rich holds a master's degree in computer science from California State University, Chico and he lives in Austin, TX.