Blog
Feb 20, 2024
4 min read

Top 5 Capabilities to Look for in an RPAM Solution

Written By

Brian McDonald

In today's dynamic business landscape, organizations are increasingly relying on third-party vendors and remote workers to carry out essential functions, which necessitates granting them privileged access to critical systems and data. This access may be necessary to allow workers to do their assigned jobs, but it exposes organizations to considerable risk.  

As the need to secure instances of privileged remote access skyrockets, a new category of security solutions is gaining traction. Remote Privileged Access Management (RPAM) introduces a new approach for providing, securing, managing, and controlling access for privileged remote users and devices.  

According to Gartner, “by 2026, organizations applying least privilege principle approaches to remote privileged access management (RPAM) use cases will reduce their risk exposure by more than 50%.”  

In this blog, we will outline five fundamental capabilities that we believe organizations should look for in order to implement a robust RPAM framework and protect their critical systems from unauthorized access and other threats to security and safety. 

5 Critical RPAM Capabilities  

1. Authentication and Authorization

The authentication and continuous authorization of identities create the foundation for any RPAM solution. The following related features help guarantee that users and devices are who they claim to be and have access only to approved assets and systems.  

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to verify their identity through multiple authentication methods.  

  • Least Privilege Access: The principle of least privilege states that users should be given access only to the applications they need to perform their assigned tasks – and nothing more.  

  • Granular Access Policies: An RPAM solution should make it easy to define, manage, and enforce strict access policies based on user roles and responsibilities. 

2. Identity Administration and Federation

Features related to identity administration and identity federation improve operational agility as well as user experience for both administrators and end users – all while upholding the highest security standard. 

  • Self-Registration: Self-registration eases the workload on IT admins and enables a more positive end user experience. Once the proper policies have been established, privileged remote users (including new employees, third-party contractors, etc.) can self-register without IT support. 

  • Identity Federation: An RPAM solution should have the ability to consolidate different users from different applications under a single verified identity. Identity federation removes friction for users and enhances security by tying a specific identity to every action taken during a connection and easily enforcing policies based on identity, regardless of the assigned user name.  

3. Credentials Management

Protecting privileged credentials is key to defending critical systems against both internal and external threats.   

  • Credentials Vaulting: Securely store and manage privileged credentials in a centralized vault, preventing exposure and eliminating the need for users to recall multiple complex passwords.  

  • Credentials Rotation: Automatically change passwords or access credentials at regular intervals to reduce the likelihood of compromise due to stolen or leaked credentials. 

4. Session Management

A significant difference between RPAM and many traditional secure access solutions is that RPAM secures not just the initial point of access but also the entirety of the connection. This enables a variety of important session management features, including: 

  • Access and action controls: Control what users can access (according to time parameters, device posture, etc.) and what actions they can take. For instance, an in-office employee may be permitted to copy-paste from a certain resource while a riskier third-party remote worker is restricted from such an action. 

  • Session Termination: Automatically terminate sessions after a predefined period or when the task is completed to minimize the risk of unauthorized access or activity. 

  • Just-In-Time (JIT) Access: Grant privileges only when necessary for a specific task, reducing the overall attack surface. 

5. Session Monitoring and Auditing

Going a step beyond session management, session monitoring and auditing capabilities give organizations stronger oversight control and help meet the requirements of many compliance regulations.  

  • Supervised access/Real-time monitoring: Continuously monitor privileged activities in real-time with the ability to immediately terminate a session if unusual or suspicious behavior is detected. 

  • Session Recording: Monitor and record all sessions to create an audit trail of privileged activities. Session recording plays an important role in both compliance adherence and forensic analysis following a security incident. 

  • Audit Trails: Generate comprehensive audit trails and reports to facilitate compliance audits and investigations in the event of a security incident. 

Securing privileged access is a strategic imperative for the modern hybrid enterprise. A single instance of unauthorized access could result in catastrophic consequences, especially if critical infrastructure is compromised. Traditional tools like Privileged Access Management (PAM) and Secure Remote Access (SRA) are proving unable to effectively secure access for third-party contractors, remote workers, and other privileged users. Fortunately, RPAM solutions like Cyolo offer the capabilities needed to defend against the risks of privileged remote access while enabling all the benefits. 

Brian McDonald

Author

Brian McDonald is the Senior Director of Product Marketing at Cyolo. He has over 20 years high tech marketing experience at Oracle, Extreme Networks and Cisco. He was the Director of Industry Marketing for Discrete Manufacturing at Oracle and led the Manufacturing and Consumer Industries Marketing team at Cisco. He was also Director of Product Marketing for the Oracle Utilities business unit. He has spent over 10 years with customers in the industrial automation and OT space across manufacturing, utilities, oil & gas, and energy. He has an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an undergraduate degree from BYU in Computer Science.

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