Why Your Organization Needs PAM

You may be familiar with Privileged Access management – PAM – because of its capabilities as part of a comprehensive defense against cyberthreats. In a strong PAM solution those capabilities are many and varied, and allow network security teams to design a defense-in-depth strategy that adheres to security-first, Zero Trust principles to secure their organizations’ most sensitive assets. Yet as important as it is to protect against cyberthreats, there is another key aspect of cybersecurity with which organizations need to concern themselves: Compliance with regulatory and industry standards.

The Importance of Compliance

Indeed, the importance of cybersecurity is the reason that industry standards and regulations exist: to protect data and systems, the public, and critical services from attack. And this importance is the reason that government bodies and industry standards groups take compliance with regulations so seriously – and apply serious penalties when an organization is found to be non-compliant. Such penalties can be severe (Anthem was fined $16 million for its 2014/2015 HIPAA violations, for example) and it’s worth nothing that being found in non-compliance can lead to penalties even if an organization did not actually suffer a breach.

From an organizational perspective, then, the importance of cybersecurity regulatory compliance can approach that of cybersecurity itself – as can the complexity. Fortunately, a full-featured PAM solution can deliver both robust access security and regulatory compliance, as long as real-time session monitoring and recording are part of the solution’s core feature set.

Session Monitoring and Recording: Security and Compliance

Real-time session monitoring and recording provide a number of capabilities that enable both security and compliance. In the first instance, of course, real-time session monitoring coupled with the ability to automatically terminate sessions showing suspicious activity can stop many cyberattacks dead in their tracks. And precisely because of these dual capabilities, a PAM solution with these features will go a long way towards being able to demonstrate regulatory and industry standards compliance simply for being installed and in-use.

Beyond that, though, there are other features required of session recording if an organization ultimately wants to ensure regulatory compliance thanks to its Privileged Access Management solution. To make an auditor’s life – and your own – easier, all session recordings should be as session “replays” so that every action taken can be reviewed. These session recordings must be complete, and capture all user activity; failure to do so, of course, means that users will have been able to actions that are not preserved – and thus these actions cannot be used by either security teams to enhance security or by the organization to demonstrate compliance to auditors. As an added, efficiency-boosting bonus, session recordings which are searchable enable IT teams to quickly pinpoint activity in need of review.

What Session Recording Needs to Capture

Thus, to be of use in compliance and auditing, session recordings must capture the following:

  • All mouse movements & clicks
  • All text typed – including command line
  • Video with OCR recording, so that all actions are searchable

Furthermore, session logs and recording need to be both unalterable and unimpeachable, so that any compliance auditor can be assured that what they’re reviewing is an absolute one source of truth. When these two elements are combined into a complete, inalterable record of session history, your organization will be able to meet the demands of any audit, and to show affirmative proof of compliance.

Is compliance with cybersecurity regulations and standards important to your organization? If it isn’t, it should be. And with a PAM solution that features session monitoring and recording in addition to granular control and facilitation of access rights, you can take great strides towards assuring compliance – and great strides away from the severe penalties that await if not!