Privileged Access Intelligence

Securing Critical Systems Against Intruders and Insider Threats

Many of the largest and most infamous data breaches of recent years have a common root cause – unsecured privileged accounts that grant cyberattacks and insider threats the elevated access they need to inflict serious damage.

To comprehend the risk that unsecured privileged accounts pose, consider what normally occurs during the course of a cyberattack. Hackers penetrate your network via various tactics – social engineering, phishing, collaboration with malicious insiders, zero-day attacks, and other methods. Most of these attack vectors can easily bypass conventional cybersecurity tools like firewalls or SIEMs that only defend against known cyber threats.

Once inside the network, intruders look for ways to expand their reach. During this stage of the attack, attackers search for passwords, SSH keys, certificates, and domain admin hashes. Their objective is to steal the credentials that let them escalate their access, achieve lateral movement, and anonymously access systems with sensitive data.

“…Forrester estimates that at least 80% of data breaches have a connection to compromised privileged credentials, such as passwords, tokens, keys, and certificates.”

Andras Cser
Forrester Research Inc.
The Forrester Wave™: Privileged Identity Management,

Q4 2018 | November 14, 2018

The Privileged Access Security Risk

The pivotal factor in this process is privileged access. With access to even one privileged account, an intruder can find and steal valuable data, modify system configuration settings, and install and run programs. And it only takes one hijacked privileged account to snowball into a data breach disaster.

Large enterprises have so many privileged accounts that IT can’t keep an accurate inventory of all of them – much less know who can access these powerful accounts or when.

And it isn’t only external cyber criminals who can exploit unsecured privileged accounts. Organizations are also at risk from insiders with privileged access.  According to Cybersecurity Insiders’ 2020 Insider Threat Report, 63% of IT professionals think that privileged users pose the greatest insider security risk.

Privileged Access Intelligence at the Entitlement Level

Manually finding and securing every privileged account in a large enterprise is unrealistic. So, some organizations use privileged access management (PAM) solutions to try and tackle the problem. However, PAM products are lacking in one crucial area – managing the steadily increasing number of privileged entitlements in the enterprise. Beyond the scope of standard admin accounts managed by PAM are regular accounts with privileged access entitlements and privileged functions without a group association or legacy tracking method.

Privileged access often comes through entitlements for users outside an established privileged access group. Securing privileged access effectively originates with privileged access discovery at the entitlement level as it defines access, not the account level. This process must begin with understanding who has access with privileged entitlements that may have escalated after provisioning, or exists within applications and unstructured data.

Despite the increase of PAM deployments in recent years there still exists a gap between access granted and knowledge of what users are doing with that access. To truly secure privileged access, organizations need a solution that can identify privileged accounts and find the associated entitlements for those accounts.

The Gurucul Identity Analytics Solution

Gurucul Identity Analytics addresses these gaps by using machine learning models that surpass human capabilities by absorbing vast sources of information and detecting privileged access risks at the entitlement level. It can enhance your existing IAM and PAM products by finding your “access outliers” and applying dynamic risk scores for them based on behavior, peers, access, activities and context.

Identity Analytics facilitates the complete accounting of privileged accounts and entitlements, including where administrative rights were provisioned without accountability. This includes discovering normal accounts that have hidden privileged access entitlements. By providing a comprehensive identification of privileged entitlements, and analyzing access and activity across your entire organization, Identity Analytics ensures that a complete accounting of privileged entitlements and accounts is achieved.

Benefits of Identity Analytics’ Privileged Access Intelligence

  • Identify all privileged entitlements and accounts, including in standard accounts, and within applications and unstructured data
  • Manage, monitor and control privileged access with optimal effectiveness and reduced risk
  • Manage excess access and alleviate rubber-stamping of certifications and access cloning

Manual attempts to accomplish this massive task are time consuming, futile, and leave many unknown access risks. Organizations need Identity Analytics’ machine-learning models to find unknown privileged access and provide a risk-based approach for securing that access.

“Gurucul Identity Analytics lets us determine if there is anything unusual about the activities that someone with privileged access is doing. It identifies risky behaviors or someone with access they should never have been granted. With Gurucul Identity Analytics we’re able to be proactive with privileged access security.”

– Director of Identity and Access Management, Financial Services Firm

Get a demo to learn more about how Gurucul can help you identify your privileged access security risks.

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