This question seems easy to answer but may vary per use case. In general we find the following rules apply to identify a privileged account:
If one of the above rules apply the account can be identified as privileged, but sometimes rules have to be added which are can be up for discussion. What if for example you have critical data to which read access can already be seen as privileged access? Here we need to evaluate each scenario case by case.
Privileged Account Management solutions have a specific focus on securing privileged credentials. Because of this you will see a clear difference in their functionality compared to your typical identity management solution used for personal accounts:
Access to privileged accounts is strictly controlled and monitored by the PAM solution by storing them in a secure digital vault and rotating the credentials itself. This ensures that all 3rd party copies of a credential become invalid and knowledge of a former password is of no use to an adversary. The ability to use the privileged credentials is according to the least privileged principle, providing only access to those credentials you are allowed to use.
Isolate target systems from endpoints by not exposing privileged credentials and securing privileged user sessions. Setup full monitoring and recording to enable security teams to view privileged sessions in real-time, automatically suspend and remotely terminate suspicious sessions, and maintain a comprehensive, searchable audit trail of privileged user activity.
Provides intelligence-driven analytics that enables organisations to identify suspicious and malicious privileged user behavior. Based on these analytics and risk scoring your organization can detect, alert and respond to anomalous privileged activity and indicate a potential in-progress attack.
Eliminate hard-coded application credentials, including passwords and SSH keys, from applications and scripts. This feature eliminates embedded application accounts with zero impact on application performance so that applications get secure privileged access to other applications or data.
Privileged access security is something every organization needs to have in place as part of their fundamental security solutions. The landscape of privileged account activity is constantly growing beyond the static corporate infrastructure (Cloud, DevOps, IoT, ..) and so is the risk that comes with it.
A PAM solution allows you to protect access to privileged credentials for both human and non-human users and helps you protect your organization against unauthorized privileged access, impersonation, fraud and theft. It will defend your systems against malware and attacks.
The result of implementing Privileged Access Security will prove to be of immediate value to: