Just what are privileged accounts and why are they so important?
Privileged accounts contain all the credentials that an organization has for all the devices that operate in the data center and across the enterprise. This includes passwords for the operating systems, databases, applications, and all networking gear such as routers and switches.
So in short, passwords to your privilege accounts open up the keys to the kingdom.
In a new PAM report released by privileged account management vendor Thycotic, the company found that while 80 percent of those surveyed consider PAM a high priority, some 52 percent received a failing grade in how they are securing privileged accounts.
Steve Kahan, a senior vice president at Thycotic, adds that security managers need to focus in on PAM because the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that 63 percent of breaches involve weak, default or stolen passwords.
Kahan also pointed out some other highlights of the new PAM report:
- 20% of respondents say they never change the default password.
- 30% allow sharing of passwords.
- 70% don’t require approval for the creation of privileged account passwords.
- 50% don’t audit privileged account activities.
“When you look at some of this data it is mindblowing,” says Kahan. “While security managers still need to deploy tools such as firewalls, instruction detection and protection and vulnerability assessment, they also need to start thinking about reducing the exposure of their privileged accounts.”
The following seven slides offer security managers some insight into getting a better grip on managing privileged accounts.