Privileged Access Management - The Importance of Secrets Management
As cloud adoption and automated service use grow to increase faster processing and improve resilience, our reliance on these same technologies requires them to access critical data. Automated development, testing, and deployment offer considerable improvements in agility but create security risks at the same time.
How an organization deals with threats to secrets data is paramount to its overall security posture. In terms of cybersecurity, secrets management is now a critical security aspect of privileged access management.
Enterprises must deploy a capable solution to monitor and guard their secrets at all times. Certain practices should be followed to ensure appropriate secrets management throughout the organization.
Secrets Management is a cybersecurity reference to tools, techniques, or methods that decide who can access what data and for what purpose. It also deals with different aspects of user case scenarios that affect the secrets.
What is Secret Management?
‘Secrets’ are a set of information containing privileged credentials that act as a key to unlock protected data and confidential information.
The most common type of information protected through secrets includes user application passwords, private certificates, authorization keys, API keys, SSH keys, privileged account credentials, short-lived tokens, and private encryption keys, along with other types of data.
Secrets aby third-party vendors, local services, employees, customers, servers, applications, Cloud providers, etc., to perform various types of protected functions.
Secrets implore a wide spectrum of sensitive data and exist to establish various permutations of system-to-system, human-to-human, and human-to-system communication patterns that exist across roles and zones, trusted and untrusted networks.
Importance of Secrets Management
Managing secrets over an unprotected and decentralized model without proper monitoring and security creates a highly vulnerable scenario for unknown threats, cyberattacks, and data breaches.
Poor secrets management can result in the compromise of sensitive enterprise leading to a severe security event. To secure enterprise secrets, organizations need to deploy a robust Secret Management platform that ensures proper storage, management, and access across the organization.
An unsophisticated and decentralized management structure can lead to mismanaged secrets, lack of visibility and may expose the organization to severe risk. Increasing numbers of security breaches have confirmed the need to take immediate steps to centralize the strategy around Secrets Management.
The integration of a Secrets Management solution with a Privileged Access Management tool provides a centralized and single structure that enables organizations to oversee the security of secrets while controlling access to those secrets.
Features of Secrets Management
Secrets Management solutions provide many features and benefits, including threat detection, monitoring, cyber recovery of secrets, prevention of data breaches, and many more. Below are additional features to consider when looking at a Secrets Management solution.
A Secret Management system provides encrypted vaults or repositories to store the secrets. The secrets are automatically encrypted once uploaded to the vaulted repository. These vaults use implementations of standard algorithms to encrypt the secrets.
The solution should enforce policies that set the access principles that only authorize a handful of people to the stored secret information. The Secret Management product should provide capabilities around version control of data, ease of maintaining policies, identities, and separation of policies.
Another prominent feature of a Secret Management system is how it shares the secrets among users, applications, and servers. The standard methods for sharing secrets are encrypted network communications or Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). Additionally, methodologies exist that allow the sharing of secrets using a memory-only filesystem.
A Secret Management platform should control the roles for the administration and management of secrets regarding which user identities can access, read, modify, or delete data.
The solution should generate secrets with a unique and definable time-to-live (TTL). TTL is made as short as possible to ensure the safety and security of managed secrets. With organizations confronting the potential of security breaches, a standard practice of generating secrets dynamically which makes them unique and unbreachable, is good practice to follow. This dynamic and short lifecycle of secrets is the best practice to be used by applications to retrieve managed secrets.
With the right set of Secrets Management policies and effective management tools, organizations can take their data security to a new level.
As humans, we start life by crawling, next walking, and then running. This progression is logical, for it protects us. There is a natural flow to how our movement should develop and the associated risk we take on, as our movements increase with speed and complexity. But technology doesn’t tend to work that way. No matter how many times we’ve seen the need for that built-in security, it always seems technologies are developed and delivered ahead of the embedded security they so desperately need.
Enterprise risk of cyber attack has increased due to improper password and key management protocols. Businesses around the world lose an estimated $2.9 million to cybercrime every minute because of ineffective password management practices. Enterprises could spend countless amounts of money on cybersecurity to encrypt data and put up firewalls, but without a strong password manager technology, none of that matters. Password managers ensure that every employee in an enterprise can keep data secure.
Cybersecurity companies constantly work to outmatch the latest security threats by implementing new features to various cyber technologies. Companies update their privileged access management solutions, for example, to better catch and contain malicious actors. Some privileged access management tools, however, are difficult to use and, as a result, are ignored by employees. To provide enterprises with the most useful and up-to-date technologies, security companies must ensure that privileged access management solutions are easy to deploy, simple to use and efficient to maintain. Video recording is also a must to ensure a privileged access management solution is complete. Here are a couple of reasons video recording is a necessary next step for privileged access management software.