What’s the profile of a privileged identity management product user? What problems is he trying to solve? We thought we’d answer those questions from the perspective of one of our actual customers – with names changed at his request.
Steve is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at a large financial institution. His firm has branches spread throughout North America and manages billions of dollars in client assets. It’s Steve’s job to protect customers’ private data from hackers and insider threats.
Steve must also keep the bank compliant with a growing list of IT security auditors and regulatory compliance mandates like PCI-DSS.
And that’s where Steve’s story gets complicated. The bank’s compliance auditors began raising questions about the security of the privileged accounts on his network.
The Privileged Account Management Challenge
Privileged accounts are the so-called “super user” logins on every computer, network device, database and software application – on-premises and in the cloud. Often called the “Keys to the IT Kingdom,” privileged credentials grant IT personnel administrative access so they can access data, install programs, alter configuration settings, control user access, and perform other privileged actions.
Steve’s bank already had an Identity and Access Management (IAM) system. But he knew that privileged logins can’t be managed or controlled by IAM.
So it was up to Steve and his IT staff to try and track each privileged account. And then change every known privileged login using a combination of manual processes and scripts. It was a tedious, error-prone job that consumed too much time. And it prevented IT from completing more strategic projects that could really benefit the company.
Also, with so many continual changes to hardware and applications coming on and off the virtual and physical networks, it was impossible to keep track of all the privileged logins. In addition, there were no records to prove who had access to privileged IT assets. Nor was it possible to know how many IT admins may have already used their powerful logins to view clients’ financial data or change critical system configuration settings.
And not knowing all the dependencies of everywhere a privileged account was used in the bank’s network would sometimes result in system outages after password changes were implemented.
All these problems were taking a toll on IT productivity, and the lack of privileged account management was keeping Steve up at night.
Fortunately Steve found a solution to reduce his workload, secure his critical systems and satisfy his auditors’ concerns.
The Solution – Automated Privileged Identity Management
Steve deployed RED Identity Management, our privileged identity management solution, to keep his bank secure. It continuously discovers and secures privileged identities everywhere on the bank’s cross-platform network. That includes super-user logins, application-to-application passwords, privileged credentials in back-end IT services and more.
Once deployed, RED Identity Management instantly showed Steve’s IT staff everywhere privileged accounts were in use. Including some accounts that they didn’t even know existed.
Now, RED Identity Management regularly updates the bank’s privileged logins with unique credentials. This prevents unauthorized access. It also gives Steve detailed reports to show who had access to which systems and applications, when, and for what stated purpose.
Thanks to privileged identity management, the financial institution can more easily comply with their regulatory mandates. And the IT group can show auditors documentation that ties security events, IT service requests, and each problem resolution directly to the specific individuals whose privileged logins would otherwise make them anonymous.
And, because RED Identity Management eliminated the time-consuming task of manually changing privileged credentials, Steve and his IT staff now have more time to dedicate to strategic projects. They also have instant, delegated access to systems and applications whenever they need to perform routine system administration or make emergency, fire-call repairs.
Want more information about privileged identity management? Download our white paper Best Practices in Privileged Identity Management.
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