IAM and PIM Stop Hackers at the Gate

Tuesday September 11 2018

Identity and access management tends to be a balancing act for information technology professionals. They want their networks to be secure, but they don’t want to deal with complaints from fellow employees that it is cumbersome and too time-consuming to log on to a network. For example, frequently changed, hard-to-remember passwords might be a hindrance to workers, but they often are crucial for blocking hackers from accessing a network.

According to Verizon’s “2016 Data Breach Investigations Report ,” hackers used weak, stolen or default passwords to access networks in 63 percent of confirmed data breaches in 2015. Two years later, stolen credentials still were a top hacking tactic. It is imperative that IT professionals employ IAM solutions to defend their networks.

IAM solutions help ensure that workers have access to the parts of a network that they need to reference to do their jobs but restrict them from accessing files or programs that are not related to their jobs or areas of a network where they could accidentally cause harm, such as by installing a new program without permission or deleting files. These solutions also track a user’s actions on the network, so it is easier to determine who is responsible for what network activities.

Privileged access management solutions serve a similar role for IT specialist access. Privileged identities have the power to alter system configuration settings; view and change data; and run programs on operating systems, databases, network and backup appliances, and more, according to Lieberman Software . However, although many companies employ IAM systems to manage regular user permissions and passwords, some IT teams choose to manage their privileged identity passwords manually with a spreadsheet or other low-tech solution, the company says. As a result, these passwords usually are not changed as often as they should be, which means that former employees can access these privileged accounts after they leave the company. In addition, some  IT teams use the same password across multiple privileged accounts, which makes it easier for a hacker to gain access to the entire network. PAM solutions can help IT specialists defend the most critical access points into their companies’ networks.