85% of organizations fail to meet even basic PAM security hygiene

While nearly four out of five organizations (78 percent) now include privileged credential protection as part of their cybersecurity policies, their privileged access management (PAM) security practices are woefully lacking and even worse than you might expect.

PAM security hygiene

Eighty-five percent are still struggling to get beyond the initial phase of PAM maturity, according to the Thycotic 2019 State of PAM Maturity Report.

Among those failing to reach even a basic level of maturity:

  • 55 percent of organizations have no idea how many privileged accounts they have or where they’re located.
  • More than 50 percent of organizations’ privileged accounts never expire or get deprovisioned.
  • Only 18 percent of organizations are storing all their privileged accounts in a secure privileged access management vault or password manager.

“The 2019 State of Privileged Access Management Maturity Report is a wakeup call for organizations worldwide to immediately assess their PAM practices with a goal of moving beyond dangerous habits to implementing a PAM Lifecycle Model, which is outlined in our report,” said Joseph Carson, Chief Security Scientist at Thycotic.

As the basis of understanding the results of the PAM Maturity report, the four phases of Thycotic’s PAM Maturity Model assessment consisted of the following:

  • Phase 1 – Analog – Organizations in the Analog phase face a high degree of risk.
  • Phase 2 – Basic – Organizations transition from Analog to the Basic stage of PAM maturity, by adopting PAM security solutions and automating time-consuming, manual processes.
  • Phase 3 – Advanced – Organizations in the Advanced phase of PAM maturity have moved from reactive to a proactive privilege security strategy.
  • Phase 4 – Adaptive Intelligent – As the ultimate stage of PAM maturity, organizations in the Adaptive/Intelligent phase take continuous improvement to a higher level, integrating leading technologies such as machine learning to collect information and adapt system rules.

PAM security hygiene

“Lack of visibility into how many unprotected privileged accounts exist in an organization and where they are located is an enormous risk for organizations,” said Joseph Carson, Chief Security Scientist at Thycotic.

“Because privileged accounts such as local admin and service accounts exist everywhere in multiple places throughout an organization, trying to manually discover and manage them is virtually impossible. Your first step should be automating privileged account discovery on a continuous basis so that you can see what you need to protect and what security controls should be in place.”