Privileged Access Management (PAM), or Privileged Account Management is a component of Identity and Access Management (IAM) that is designed to manage and monitor privileged access to accounts and applications, alerting system administrators on high-risk events.

Privileged access means higher access rights than other users. These elevated access rights are usually given to superusers and allow for full control of systems, applications and data.

PAM implementation is grounded in the principle of least privilege, granting all employees the minimum level of access with the ability to assign and elevate privileges as necessary. With measures like proxy technology and session management, PAM avoids comprising organizational systems and offers improved control and visibility to support auditing efforts and faster incident response. 

PAM adds a layer of security to reduce risk, protect against external threats, and support organizational compliance.

What Problems Does PAM Solve? 

PAM helps to safeguard privileged access, users, and credentials against potential threat and security breaches. Beyond that, PAM offers your organization simplified onboarding and offboarding, increased productivity and compliance, and time saved. Its process automation streamlines workflows with simplified authentication and removed manual integration, allowing users to put more of their time into projects while ensuring everyone has the appropriate level of access to what they need.

And with records and live monitoring capability for sensitive information, you mitigate risk and have an inventory of activity prepared for audits and internal review.

How Does PAM Work? 

PAM is a high-assurance solution. It’s a centralized control that’s scalable across users and privileged accounts, with password management and monitoring tools built in to reduce risk without sacrificing the end-user experience. Using proxy technology, PAM puts space between the privileged user and the information they’re trying to access, giving them access upon authentication and authorization, without ever revealing the password to them. Proxy servers can also record privileged activity, whether for later review or live audit.

PAM Subcategories 

Here are the management and monitoring tools PAM offers that might be a good fit for your organization.

Shared access password manager (SAPM)

This measure removes the possibility of human error with storing, remembering, or coming up with unique passwords. It grants access to shared critical accounts with multi-factor authentication and establishes an audit trail to track activity.

Superuser privilege management (SUPM) 

Superusers are those who have the highest level of privilege within an organization (often the IT team) and can modify privileges, files, settings, users, or data. The superuser privilege manager capability allows superusers to designate temporary and permanent privilege elevations while hiding the account and password from the end-user.

Privileged session management (PSM) 

Privileged session management is a heightened security and compliance measure. It allows remote recording and review of active sessions and end session capability if needed. It connects the privileged admin with their target information without revealing the access password.

Application access password manager (AAPM) 

This functionality places password access in a centralized, secure location. It releases credentials at the correct time using an application programming interface (API), replacing the need for hard-coded passwords entirely.   

SailPoint Privileged Access Management  

SailPoint sets the industry standard on PAM and API integration for Identity and Access Management systems, allowing your organization to centrally manage access to both privileged and standard accounts—with ease. Find out how SailPoint can integrate with your privileged access management system.

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