4 Ways SLED Organizations Can Reduce Cyber Risk with PAM

4 Ways SLED Organizations Can Reduce Cyber Risk with PAM

In 2023, 317.59 million ransomware attacks occurred around the globe. That equates to about 10 attacks every single second. Cyber attacks like these are rampant in today’s world, and they’re becoming more sophisticated every day.

In the U.S., state and local governments and educational institutions – also known as SLED – are frequent targets of ransomware attacks because they handle large quantities of sensitive identifying information. These attacks cost the U.S. government institutions upwards of $18 billion in 2020. In addition to the astronomical costs of a successful attack, data breaches also put critical systems and data at risk. 

Privileged accounts – those with administrative access to the network – are particularly attractive targets, because they give attackers the ability to see, steal, and sabotage critical information at will. To protect this information and maintain the privacy of the many citizens who place their trust in government and educational institutions, SLED entities need robust security measures to keep data safe.

What’s at Risk

The most common way attackers gain access to a system is through compromised credentials. If an attacker can access an administrative account through a legitimate password, they can cause significant damage before being detected. Even a standard user account can serve the attacker’s purpose because they can escalate their privilege once inside the system. 

To gain the access they want, threat actors commonly leverage vulnerabilities like:

  • Phishing and social engineering – Think of your typical scam email or fraudulent phone call. In the past, they were fairly easy to spot by looking for grammar mistakes, non-standard email addresses, and high-pressure tactics. These days, however, scammers have gotten smarter and more subtle. Modern phishing and social engineering attacks are more difficult to spot, and employees will likely need additional training to know what to look for.
  • Insider threats – Insider threats come from inside your organization and may take the form of cyber theft, sabotage, or other malicious activity. In some cases, compromising activity may be unintentional on the part of an employee, but it still puts your data at risk.
  • Third-party vulnerabilities – Because SLED organizations often collaborate with third-party vendors or organizations, they should be aware of the potential risks of sharing credentials or access with organizations that may not have sufficient security.
     
  • Employee non-adherence – Cyber hygiene and awareness form a key pillar of your cybersecurity policies and procedures. These policies are only as effective as your enforcement of them, however. If employees don’t follow the protocols, they could introduce additional layers of risk to your system.

4 Ways PAM Ramps Up Security for SLED Organizations

Because SLED entities handle large amounts of sensitive data, they are prime targets for cyber-attacks. These attacks include ransomware, malware, phishing, and identity theft. With so much at stake, these organizations need airtight security protocols to keep bad actors out. 

Privileged access management (PAM) is your first line of defense in preventing unauthorized access to sensitive information. By eliminating standing access to privileged accounts, PAM prevents both intentional and unintentional exposure of critical data. A PAM tool like AutoElevate by CyberFOX can help you:

  1. Lock down privileged accounts – PAM removes administrative rights from all accounts so that access is granted on an as-needed, just-in-time basis. Once a task has been completed, access is removed. This eliminates accidental or intentional sharing of passwords to privileged accounts and prevents cyber attackers from gaining access through compromised passwords.
  2. Implement zero-trust architectureZero trust architecture eliminates standing administrative privileges and requires explicit validation for every task. It is one of the most important ways to reduce risk and address the increasing sophistication of cyber threats. PAM lays the foundation for zero-trust architecture by implementing least privilege and rule-based access to automate requests.
  3. Meet compliance requirements – SLED organizations must meet stringent compliance requirements to protect sensitive data, keep operations running smoothly, and preserve the public trust. PAM tools help you meet those requirements with rules-based access, approval automation, detailed ticketing, and real-time controls.
  4. Monitor activity – Activity logs and built-in threat detection capabilities alert you immediately if unusual activity takes place. IT staff can create rules, audit events and activity, automate PSA time entries, and maintain strict adherence to security protocols without frustrating users. 

Meet SLED Security Requirements with PAM

SLED organizations need comprehensive security solutions that protect critical infrastructure and meet compliance requirements across mobile, remote, and on-premise access needs. PAM securely manages access for complex networks and numerous distributed users, ensuring that public sector needs are met and emerging threats are neutralized without compromising usability.

AutoElevate by CyberFOX easily removes admin rights, reduces your threat surface, and makes it easy to approve requests quickly and securely without creating disruptions or bottlenecks. Request a demo to see how easy it is to keep the bad guys out with CyberFOX! 

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