PAM stands for “Privileged Access Management,” and it is a cybersecurity practice that focuses on controlling and securing access to privileged accounts within an organization’s IT infrastructure. Privileged accounts are accounts with elevated permissions, such as administrative accounts, root accounts, or accounts with access to critical systems or sensitive data. PAM is designed to prevent unauthorized access, misuse, and abuse of these privileged accounts, which are highly targeted by malicious actors due to their extensive capabilities.
Key Components and Features of Privileged Access Management (PAM):
- Privileged Account Discovery: Identifying all privileged accounts across the organization’s systems and applications is the first step in PAM implementation.
- Privileged Account Credential Management: PAM solutions securely store and manage privileged account credentials, including passwords, SSH keys, and other authentication tokens.
- Just-In-Time (JIT) Privileged Access: JIT access grants temporary, on-demand privileges to users when needed, reducing the attack surface and minimizing the exposure of privileged credentials.
- Privileged Session Management: PAM tools monitor and record privileged sessions, enabling administrators to review actions taken during these sessions for auditing and forensics purposes.
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Strong authentication mechanisms, such as MFA, are often enforced to protect privileged accounts from unauthorized access.
PIM stands for “Privileged Identity Management,” which is another term used for the practice of managing and securing privileged accounts within an organization’s IT infrastructure. PIM is closely related to Privileged Access Management (PAM) but specifically focuses on the management of privileged identities associated with these accounts
Key Components and Features of Privileged Identity Management (PIM):
- Privileged Identity Discovery: The first step in PIM implementation involves identifying and inventorying all privileged identities within the organization, including service accounts, administrative users, and other privileged roles.
- Privileged Identity Lifecycle Management: PIM solutions manage the complete lifecycle of privileged identities, from creation and assignment to deprovisioning and removal.
- Identity Vault: PIM tools utilize an identity vault to securely store and protect privileged identities, including passwords, SSH keys, and other sensitive information.
- Just-In-Time (JIT) Privileged Identity: Similar to JIT access in PAM, JIT privileged identity grants temporary, on-demand privileged roles to users when needed, reducing the exposure of privileged credentials.
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): PIM enforces strong authentication mechanisms, such as MFA, to add an extra layer of security to privileged identity access.
- Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): PIM uses RBAC to define and manage permissions associated with privileged identities, ensuring that users have access only to the resources required for their roles.