Privileged Access and Vulnerability Management: Qualys & WALLIX
Complexity is the enemy of cybersecurity. However, it is inevitable. Even in relatively small organizations, different people operate and manage different IT systems, while protecting companies from different threats.
Every problem is a potentially multiplied one so, how can we ensure the safety of everything and everyone in this environment?
No single security solution can do it all by itself. Cybersecurity professionals have realized that the best in-depth defense against multiple threats is a combination of different security tools. For example, a PAM solution is often combined with SIEM systems such as Splunk, or identity managers like RSA.
This article addresses another extremely successful partnership: The integration of PAM (Privileged Access Management) solutions with vulnerability management systems in general, and that of WALLIX with Qualys in particular.
What is a Vulnerability Management System?
Every IT asset is vulnerable, one way or another. Sometimes these vulnerabilities are native security holes, which are revealed only when skilled people discover how to exploit them – for instance, a hidden way to gain «root» access on a Windows server. Other times, it is a user who, for example, will cause a vulnerability by leaving a port open on a firewall, unintentionally or not. System updates can also be the source of new vulnerabilities.
Since every vulnerability can lead to a potential security incident, security managers now use vulnerability management systems to identify weaknesses in the IT ecosystem so that they can be addressed quickly. For example, Qualys gives them the ability to identify hacked hosts and web applications. The solution can verify whether the required control mechanisms, such us password strengthening and data access strategies have been well implemented on the systems. Qualys can also test system configurations against “golden images” or reference standards such as the USGCB (United States Government Configuration Baseline). From these types of processes, Qualys can automatically identify, tag, and organize assets, and dynamically select them for analysis and reporting.
Qualys then allows security teams to monitor vulnerabilities and helps administrators prioritize their interventions. The system centralizes the collection of assessment files as well, providing actionable security data to SIEM systems, governance solutions, firewalls, etc.
Finally, Qualys can identify the necessary corrective actions. In addition, it continuously scans systems for new vulnerabilities. To get an interactive view of the entire network, Qualys automates the generation of questionnaires for employees, suppliers, and partners.
Privileged Access Management Solutions and Vulnerability Management Systems
As good as vulnerability detection tools like Qualys are, they are even more effective when combined with a privilege access management solution. A PAM solution involves the use of tools and practices to safeguard the organization from accidental or deliberate privileged access misuse. It provides a simple and secure way to authorize and monitor all privileged access to critical systems. A PAM solution authorizes and revokes access privileges on all systems, even heterogeneous ones, and creates an unalterable audit trail of any session with privileged access rights.
A privilege management solution complements the vulnerability management system and helps answer the key questions that arise when a vulnerability is found:
- Who is causing the problem?
- Who can fix the problem?
- In case of an incident: What happened, when, how, and who is responsible?
By working together, a PAM solution and a vulnerability detection system significantly increase their respective capabilities. If, for example, the vulnerability detection system identifies a vulnerability on a server, the PAM solution can provide a report on the activities of privileged users that may have caused the vulnerability. In a detailed session report, the PAM solution can also reveal what exactly was done to cause the vulnerability.
Picture the following scenario: A privileged user accidentally causes a vulnerability on a host. Or this vulnerability was intentionally caused by a malicious person with unauthorized access rights. The vulnerability management system identifies the problem while the PAM solution identifies the perpetrator(s) and reveals what happened. Once the problem is solved, the PAM solution can also provide the vulnerability management system with an audit trail of the intervention session.
If the intervention occurs quickly enough, not only will a vulnerability be avoided, but it will be possible to identify the user who created the vulnerability, and/or the malicious person who tried to exploit it.
Qualys and WALLIX Integration
WALLIX and Qualys can be combined to create a highly complementary privileged access management and vulnerability detection solution.
- WALLIX Bastion merges tremendous PAM capabilities with ease of installation and use
- WALLIX Bastion is lightweight and is a reliable and intelligent PAM solution, perfectly compatible with
- Both Qualys and WALLIX enable cloud and on-premises deployments
By combining WALLIX and Qualys capabilities, security managers can detect and quickly remediate vulnerabilities across the IT environment.