Here’s Why You Should Regularly Audit Your Privileged Accounts

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Nearly any type of system or cloud account that you use will have varying levels of privileges. These privileges dictate the information and actions a user can access in that system.

You will typically have a lower-level account with limited access to things like entering data in a system and viewing certain areas but cannot change settings in an account.

Admin-level users will be higher privileged and can usually do things like add and remove users and may have access to certain security settings.

Account owners will generally be at the highest level and have no restrictions on what can be accessed.

Access level can also restrict where a person can go in a system and what types of data they can see. For example, in a healthcare organization, one user may be able to view patient health records, while another might only be able to see the billing area.

One of the most important parts of account provisioning is choosing the right access level for that person.

How a “privileged” account differs from standard user accounts is that it will have more access to settings, user management, and the like. As a result, this type of account is highly sought after by cybercriminals because it grants them the ability to see and do much more in a breached account.

74% of data breaches begin with the compromise of privileged credentials.

Organizations should regularly audit their privileged accounts as part of their cybersecurity hygiene. Here are several reasons why this is important.

To Ensure Adherence to the Rule of Least Privilege

Some business owners or admins will set up employees with a higher access level than needed in a system with the reasoning of “just in case.” Just in case they might need access to something in the future.

This is a poor user provisioning practice and goes against one of the golden rules of good access management, which is the Rule of Least Privilege. This rule states that you should grant the lowest level of account access needed for a user to do their normal tasks.

Doing an audit of your privileged accounts can help you uncover any instances of users being granted more access permissions than they need.

Sensitivity of Data

Just about all organizations are dealing with some type of sensitive data. This might be employee payroll information, client financial records, or patient health information.

You should regularly audit who has permission to see/use this data and if that access is still needed. The more you restrict access to sensitive data, the lower the risk is for data leakage or a breach of sensitive information.

Reduce the Risk of a Data Breach

The fewer privileged accounts you have, the lower your risk of a data breach. To reduce risk, some SaaS tools will allow you to set up one free dedicated admin account that all admins share when they need to take care of administrative tasks.

Regularly auditing the number of privileged accounts you have and how often they are used reduces your risk of credential compromise.

Employee Turnover Can Increase Risk

When companies have employee turnover, if they don’t audit their credential management system and privileged accounts, they can leave a high-level account open that belonged to an employee who no longer works at the company.

Unattended cloud accounts, especially if it’s an admin account, are an open invitation for hackers.

Audits will help you tie up these types of digital loose ends to keep your data more secure.

Compliance Needs

If you suffer a data breach and are hit with a penalty for non-compliance with a data privacy regulation, not auditing your privileged accounts can come back to haunt you.

Not only can a breach be caused by a compromised high-level account, but if it’s found you were negligent by not auditing access to sensitive data regularly, your penalties can be higher.

It’s Not Always Possible to Automate Privileged Accounts

Privileged accounts can’t always be automated, which necessitates the need to audit these regularly. You want to ensure that these high-level accounts are following system security policies and aren’t being abused in any way.

How Can We Automate the Process of Privileged Access Management?

The best way to ensure security and accuracy for your account provisioning is to automate the entire process.

Have you been wondering how you can do this with privileged accounts? Here’s how you can do it with HelloID Service Automation.

  1. First, use a software such as HelloID to automate user provisioning to non-privileged accounts.
  2. Next, use the HelloID Service Automation module with workflow to add additional privileges for privileged accounts.

Book a Live Demo or Call to Ask Questions!

Are you looking for ways to improve the accuracy and speed of account provisioning? Do you want to reduce the risk of credential compromise?

Find out more about how HelloID Provisioning can help.

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