Legacy PAM has been around for decades and was designed back in the day when ALL your privileged access was constrained to systems and resources INSIDE your network. The environment was systems admins with a shared “root” account that they would check out of a password vault, typically to access a server, a database or network device. Legacy PAM served its purpose.

However, today’s environment is different, privileged access not only covers infrastructure, databases and network devices, but is extended to cloud environments. It also includes big data projects, it must be automated for DevOps, and it now needs to cover hundreds of containers or microservices to represent what used to be a single server.

On top of this, we now all live in a world of Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) that create a growing and changing risk to organizations’ financial assets, intellectual property and reputations. Expanding access and obtaining credentials is an essential part of most APTs, with privileged access being the crown jewels.

Cloud-ready Zero Trust Privilege is designed to handle requesters that are not only human but also machines, services and APIs. There will still be shared accounts, but for increased assurance, best practices now recommend individual identities, not shared accounts, where least privilege can be applied. All controls must be dynamic and risk-aware, which requires modern machine learning and user behavior analytics. Now PAM must integrate and interoperate with a much broader ecosystem including IaaS providers like AWS and Azure, with DevOps CI/CD Pipeline tools such as HashiCorp and Ansible, and with Container solutions such as Docker, Kubernetes and CoreOS.

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