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If your business manages or accesses sensitive data (and frankly, whose doesn’t?) you need a comprehensive security plan. No business wants to inform customers or partners that sensitive information has been compromised. The cost of such a data breach is significant not only to the bottom line, but it damages your brand’s reputation and consumer trust. This is where privileged access management or PAM software can help.

Privileged access management is exactly what it sounds like. It refers to controlling who has access to your critical accounts. These are typically shared accounts such as “administrator” or “root” accounts. With privileged credentials, admins or anyone with access can easily move through your business network, access sensitive data, and make changes. PAM software is designed to help companies manage and secure privileged accounts from threats either inside and outside the organization.

Sounds good, right? But where to start?

Let’s start with the Five Truths about PAM software and how it improves your company’s security strategy.

Truth  #1: You need more than just network security.

You’ve got a strong IT department with co-workers you trust. You set up network security including firewalls, patch management, and endpoint protection. So, you think your data is protected?

Think again. Within the first quarter of 2019, more than 1.9 billion records were exposed through data breaches. That number reflects a 56.4 percent increase over 2018 figures. The industries most targeted included finance (71.1 percent), medical (13.6 percent), government (7.8 percent) and education (6.8 percent.)

Hackers are hard at work targeting “secure” passwords and from there, they’re just steps away from infiltrating your data and causing irreparable damage to you and possibly your business partners or clients.

PAM software works by putting your most privileged credentials inside a secure vault or repository. Privileged users must go through multiple levels of authentication to identify themselves and request just-in-time access to sensitive credentials. The software centralizes privileged credentials, controls who has access to them and monitors all access for suspicious network activity. This lowers your risk of being impacted by advanced threats by 50 percent.

Truth #2: Strong password practice is good, but it’s not enough.

Most companies require employees and other end-users to change passwords regularly—up to several times a year in some cases. This practice can backfire. According to experts, end-users tend to choose weaker passwords with each password change.

So, what can you do? You can implement a PAM solution. Strong password requirements, automated password rotation and “no password access” can be built into the core of a PAM implementation.

Truth #3: Cyber attacks are a growing problem.

You’ve never been hacked, so why worry? Chances are, you’ve never been struck by lightning, but would you sit in a metal chair in a field in the middle of a thunderstorm? Probably not. It’s just too risky.

Think of your cybersecurity the same way. Instead of thinking, “I haven’t been hacked,” a more reasonable thought is, “I haven’t been hacked yet.” Because statistically, you will likely be at some point. Cyber attacks are on the rise and show no sign of slowing down.

A PAM solution can put your mind at ease. PAM takes the guesswork out of your network solutions. PAM pro-actively exposes everything from atypical privileged access to problematic or suspicious activity that could lead to major threats before they become more serious.

Truth #4: Implementing a modern PAM solution means change. And change is good.

People like what they know. They want to keep doing what they’ve always done and can be averse to change.  However, if you are using spreadsheets or outdated legacy software to manage your privileged accounts, it is time to embrace change and look at a new automated solution that improves security.

Modern PAM solutions are based on open architectures that make implementing, integrating, managing and automating security easy. More importantly, you don’t need expensive consultants; instead, you can use existing IT resources.  At the end of the day, both the company and its privileged assets will be better protected.

For a smooth PAM transition, choose a PAM provider that makes the process simple and easy.

Truth #5: You can afford PAM.

You may think PAM solutions are only an option for huge multi-national corporations, and you may be hesitant to investigate further. Let go of these preconceived notions. Xton Technologies offers a free trial of its XTAM software to help customers see if it’s right for their organization. Its pricing structure is designed to be affordable for companies of all sizes.

When you’re weighing the cost of implementing PAM, it is important to also consider these sobering statistics. The cost of the average data breach to companies worldwide last year was $3.86 million. And, the cost of the average data breach to a U.S. company was just shy of $8 million

Compare the cost of a system that provides peace of mind against the cost of repairing a company that’s been breached. When it comes to security, you could say PAM solutions are priceless.

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