In 2022, attacks on corporate networks had increased by 47%. And most of these attacks encompass exploiting this kind of credential.
As technology continues to evolve, cyber-attacks are projected to increase even more in 2023. That is because organizations using new tech tools increase the cyber-attack surface, giving more room for hackers to act. Among the best ways to reduce these risks is to invest in endpoint privilege management.
What Endpoint Privilege Management Is
This is a component of endpoint security strategies that aims at preventing users from gaining access to their software. It uses the PLP (principle of least privilege) so as to reduce the risks of attack by doing away with all the unrequired administrator accounts on your devices. The aim of this is to avoid privilege escalation by hackers who compromise on an endpoint.
Basically, there are two hierarchy levels in a business organization. These include standard users and administrators.
Administrators have elevated principles while running specific software. And they can either be local administrators or domain administrators. Local administrators access specific endpoints as well as the information they contain. On the other hand, domain administrators access and modify every standard machine, thus, having a higher level of privilege than local ones.
Traditionally, every standard user had to run applications in administrator mode. This means that standard users either got organization-wide privileges or admin credentials for their applications. Plus, this resulted in more security concerns.
In general, privilege management makes it possible for users to elevate their application privileges when they want and can revoke them later, allowing them to be more productive without compromising on security net worth.
How It Works
With PLP, you can use endpoint privilege management to minimize the attack’s success by allowing only authorized users to retain their privileges. You can also achieve this by removing all unnecessary administrator accounts from laptops, computers, or other devices.
This feature ascertains that working on security doesn’t affect business productivity, as it allows the selected or authorized users to elevate the privileges of their applications when they want to.
After doing away with all the unnecessary administrator accounts, business organizations will allow users to elevate privileges and, at the same run applications from their Privileged Application List.
Properly functioning endpoint privilege management solutions give CISOs (chief information security officers) and their teams more control over every service role and user. Its three components are:
- EAC (Endpoint Application Control)
- PAM (Privileged Access Management)
Daily operations, such as updating software, installing peripherals, and changing the configuration of a system, all need administrative privileges. Under strict policies, all the requests will need to be dealt with by IT gurus. But this can become a burden to them and affect their productivity.
Fortunately, EAC helps to solve this issue by automating the allocation of privileges. It does this by determining all the conditions under which an application, process, or service can run. One of these conditions can be the user who may do what with what even when they don’t have administrative privileges.
This component controls and monitors entities on the network as well as their current privileges. Upon discovering privileged accounts, PAM alerts security agents and applies security controls.
Through policies, it often audits administrative accounts, prevents attacks from resulting in incidents, and removes/reduces admin privileges.
Zero-Trust Security and PLP
By now, organizations should know that their security strategies must start with a zero-trust model to ensure only authorized access to sensitive data. Once the identity of a user is verified, data must be categorized according to the level of access.
That is where PLP comes in. Zero trust serves as a baseline for creating what is called digital trust, depending on risks. But zero trust mustn’t be the key goal. It should only serve as the means of ensuring proper security measures and controls are implemented to minimize business risk.
Traditional Antivirus vs. Endpoint Security
Endpoint security solutions and traditional antivirus belong to two product classifications. Here is the key difference between those two products:
- Different workflow – Traditional antivirus requires every user to update their database or access updates manually. Endpoint security providers use cloud solutions to maintain their services automatically.
- Multiple endpoints or one endpoint coverage – Antivirus software protects one endpoint, giving insight related to the same endpoint. Solutions for endpoint security monitor the whole network so as to provide visibility.
- Unknown vs. known threats protection – Traditional antivirus solutions offer protection against all known threats as it depends on what is referred to as signature-based detection. The solutions also use behavioral analysis in order to uncover previously unknown risks.
In a nutshell, endpoint security solutions offer linked security as well as delegate administration tasks to security or IT teams. This product basically covers a range of deployed defenses to prevent attackers from exploiting endpoints. That means these solutions are far more comprehensive than traditional antivirus tools, which scan one endpoint for all the known signatures.
Why Use Endpoint Privilege Management
Through endpoint privilege management, business organizations can empower and protect high-end users. However, the benefits of using EPM don’t stop at that.
More privileged accounts are usually the target of cyber-attacks, which depend on them to gain access to corporate networks. Through EPM solutions, you can remove administrative rights from high-end users without interfering with their productivity.
One main security risk in most business organizations is the administrative access that external users provide. This becomes more problematic when third parties offer IT services, such as system or network maintenance. EPM solutions allow third parties to do their work on a specified server that uses company-approved applications and processes.
In a Nutshell!
Cyber-attackers or hackers are becoming more innovative when aiming at more privileged accounts. These threat actors mostly target endpoints, like Linux administrator accounts, MacOS, and Microsoft Windows. Once these hackers gain access to your accounts, they traverse the network as well as take over your workstation, parts of the infrastructure, or server.
Fortunately, EPM solutions are the cornerstone for reducing these privilege risks. As a buyer, you need to know requirements constituting a good solution so as to minimize the vulnerability across your business organization.