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5 steps to a successful PAM program

Jeffrey Lynch, Epical
Data-driven business Epical
Privileged Access Management (PAM) is a set of processes, technologies and controls that protects companies’ critically important resources from cyber threats that can cause serious damage. To build a successful PAM program, we suggest to start by addressing 5 important questions.

Building, implementing and maintaining a PAM program takes a lot of time and resources, and it must be planned and carried out carefully. These steps will help you get started.

1. What’s in it for us?

The first step is to understand the importance of a PAM program for your organization. Do you use unsecure or traditional methods to access and protect privileged accounts? Does this compromise their security? A PAM program will govern and secure your privileged access, protect your privileged accounts and ensure that only the right people have access to them. It will also monitor and react swiftly to misuse, as well as help you to comply with internal and external regulation. The list of benefits is long: you should define what do they mean for your company, and also ensure mandate from the management.

2. How do we win our people over?

A PAM solution will directly affect any employee who needs access to privileged accounts or critical resources. This will create noise within your company, at least initially. It is important to listen to your employees’ concerns and understand them. At the same time, you should build communication packages that bring out the positive aspects for the end user community. To succeed with your PAM program, you need to support your people and keep them on board throughout this journey.

3. Where are the greatest risks?

A proper risk analysis is the base for any successful PAM program. You cannot do everything at once, so you should start where the greatest risks lie. Is it where the number of privileged accounts is highest? Or where each person has highly privileged access rights? Evaluation of your PAM maturity will also give important insight, and help you define the roadmap for implementing your PAM program.

4. Are our processes in place?

If you consider a PAM program to be just a technical solution, you will find yourself in a mess. There is no technology that can fix everything, if it does not fit with your governance. Thus, you must adapt a holistic perspective and build the processes first: privileged account lifecycle management, password management, privileged session management and emergency access management, for example. Also, ensure that you can align your PAM solution with your existing company policies and infrastructure platforms.

5. What happens after implementation?

A PAM program must be operated and maintained systematically. That’s why you need to think down the road since the very beginning of building your program. Do you need an external team to operate and maintain the PAM solution after implementation? Or can you do this on your own? If you do not think ahead, you may implement something fantastic, but then find out you don't have a proper team in place to operate and maintain what you implemented.

An extra tip: find a trusted partner

To make the most of your investment, you should count on a trusted partner to guide and support you along the way. We are happy to help.

Author: Jeffrey Lynch works as a consultant at Epical's Nordic Digital Trust & IAM Team, specializing in Privileged Access Management.