Mar 14, 2024
5 min read

Remote Privileged Access Management (RPAM) is Not PAM

Written By

Almog Apirion

Don't Let the Acronym Fool You

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. But what if it’s a security solution called Remote Privileged Access Management (RPAM) that includes features like password vaulting, session management, and activity logging? Is RPAM just a new version of Privileged Access Management (PAM)? In this blog we’ll explore why the answer is definitively no. 

It’s true that the acronym RPAM contains elements of both PAM and Secure Remote Access (SRA); however, RPAM is in fact a new and innovative security approach that adds a unique twist to the familiar territory of traditional PAM solutions. So, what sets RPAM apart?

Most PAM solutions were created primarily to mitigate the risks associated with IT admins, who typically hold the keys to every door in the kingdom. These privileged users wield access to even the most sensitive areas of the organization, making them prime targets for cybercriminals and other threat actors. If an attacker succeeds to gain control of an admin's account, the consequences for the organization can be substantial.

Giving IT admins an added layer of protection makes perfect sense. But when we shift our attention to more industrial-focused sectors like manufacturing, oil and gas, and utilities, we realize there's a much broader range of roles that should be considered privileged and protected accordingly. 

More Privilege, More Problems 

At Cyolo, we define a privileged user as anyone whose access permissions could cause catastrophic damage to the company if they are not managed and controlled properly. This includes but is not limited to third-party contractors who connect to critical assets, OEM vendors and technicians who access sensitive machinery for support or maintenance, and even direct employees who remotely manage operations. The compromise of any one of these accounts could lead not just to devastating financial loss but also to threats to the safety of workers or the public at large. The broader fallout from an incident could cause operational disruptions or shutdowns, potentially resulting in damaged equipment, lost goods, forfeited contracts, the need for excessive maintenance, and in the most serious case, the failure of the business.

Privilege is not only determined by the scale of access permissions but also by the sensitivity of the accessed asset and the potential damage resulting from incorrect actions. However, should the two use cases be treated the same?

The Limits of PAM

Until recently, PAM was the only option for organizations looking to enhance the security of privileged accounts. Unfortunately, PAM solutions are VPN-based, complex, expensive, and time-consuming to deploy. They don't scale well (which means they can’t be easily applied to all the types of users we’ve just highlighted), and they certainly don't provide a quick solution if, for instance, a technician needs immediate access to address an outage or other emergency. On top of all this, traditional PAM tools have limited utility in operational technology (OT) environments, which often contain many legacy systems that do not natively support modern identity authentication, one of the basic requirements of PAM.

But, as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

How Remote Privileged Access Management (RPAM) Bridges the Gap

RPAM emerged from the need to bridge two once-distinct solution categories: PAM and SRA. And it turns out that when you combine capabilities of PAM and SRA (with some ZTNA sprinkled in for good measure), the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

So, how exactly does RPAM improve secure access for privileged users and devices?

  • RPAM gives organizations greater control and oversight over a larger number of users, solving the issue of scalability and also providing visibility into the actions of third-party users and others on unmanaged devices.

  • Unlike some SRA tools, RPAM enforces the principle of least privilege, granting users access to only the resources they need for their work and never to the full network.

  • With features like self-registration, RPAM lowers operational overhead and improves efficiency for both admins and end users.

  • RPAM helps organizations achieve compliance requirements to govern and control access to sensitive environments.

  • RPAM allows organizations to keep all credentials safe within a vault. This eliminates a significant source of risk and potential exposure.

Cyolo PRO (Privileged Remote Operations) Sets a New Standard for RPAM

Our mission at Cyolo is to provide better, faster, more secure access, enabling all types of users and devices to connect safely via identity-based access to all types of environments. What our experience has shown is that our customers achieve the biggest, fastest boost to safety and security when we prioritize ensuring secure access for privileged accounts first. 

That's why we recently introduced Cyolo PRO (Privileged Remote Operations), an RPAM solution that delivers secure remote access capabilities with a privileged account filter. Cyolo's VPN-less solution offers clientless Zero Trust, purpose-built for OT, ensuring secure external remote privileged access, even in bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenarios.

Cyolo PRO empowers hybrid organizations to efficiently manage and closely monitor privileged account access without compromising productivity or risking operational disruptions.

In contrast to using PAM or SRA in isolation, RPAM extends secure remote access to all privileged users and devices, from the office to the factory floor. This comprehensive approach ensures security, safety, control, and oversight for any type of access, including temporary or just-in-time access, across all parts of your organization.

To learn more about RPAM, read this recent blog, and to learn more about Cyolo PRO visit

Discover the Benefits of Cyolo PRO (Privileged Remote Operations)

Almog Apirion


Almog Apirion is CEO and co-founder of Cyolo. He is an experienced technology executive, a "recovering CISO," and the founder of the Israeli Navy Cyber Unit. Almog has a long history of leading the cybersecurity and IT technologies domain, with a background that includes building and securing critical infrastructures at large organizations, and leading teams to success.

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