Access controls defined with just the right mix of rigidity and fluidity

The countdown to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has begun and the clock is ticking fast. While the media is abuzz with commentaries, guides, and solutions for the GDPR's guidelines, conclusive interpretations of its various aspects have yet to be reached. The basic intent of the GDPR, however, is crystal clear: data protection more specifically, making personal data secure.

The term personal data assumes extremely broad coverage in the GDPR any data that relates to "an identifiable natural person" is classified as personal data. Organizations usually digitally process and store things like customer names, email addresses, photographs, work information, conversations, media files, and a lot of other information that could identify individuals.

Personal data is all-pervasive, and is found in nearly every piece of IT. If your organization wants to comply with the GDPR, then you need to define and enforce strict access controls as well as meticulously track access to data.

Privileged access and threats to data security

Cyber attacks can originate both from within the perimeters of an enterprise, and from outside. Analyses of the recent highprofile cyber attacks reveal that hackers both external and internal are exploiting privileged access to perpetrate attacks. Most attacks compromise personal data that is processed or stored by IT applications and devices. Security researchers point out that almost all types of cyber attacks nowadays involve privileged accounts.

Privileged accounts the prime target of cybercriminals

In internal and external attacks alike, unauthorized access and misuse of privileged accounts the "keys to the IT kingdom" have emerged as the main techniques used by criminals. Administrative passwords, system default accounts, as well as hard-coded credentials in scripts and applications have all become the prime targets cyber criminals use to gain access.

EU GDPR Solution Brief

  • Why PAM forms the foundation of GDPR?
  • How Password Manager Pro can help in GDPR compliance?
  • Security risks mitigated by Password Manager Pro

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Hackers typically launch a simple phishing or spear-phishing attack as a way of gaining a foothold in a user's machine. They then install malicious software and look for the all-powerful administrative passwords which give unlimited access privileges to move laterally across the network, infect all computers, and siphon off data. The moment the hacker gains access to an administrative password, the entire organization becomes vulnerable to attacks and data theft. Perimeter security devices cannot fully guard enterprises against these types of privilege attacks.

Third parties and malicious insiders

Organizations are required to work with third parties such as vendors, business partners, and contractors for a variety of purposes. Quite often, third-party partners are provided with remote privileged access to physical and virtual resources within the organization.

Even if your organization has robust security controls in place, you never know how third parties are handling your data. Hackers could easily exploit vulnerabilities in your supply chain or launch phishing attacks against those who have access and gain entry to your network. It is imperative that privileged access granted to third parties is controlled, managed, and monitored.

Additionally, malicious insiders including disgruntled IT staff, greedy techies, sacked employees, and IT staff working with third parties could plant logic bombs or steal data. Uncontrolled administrative access is a potential security threat, jeopardizing your business.

Begin your GDPR journey with privileged access management

Control, monitor, and manage your organization's privileged access

The GDPR requires that organizations ensure and demonstrate compliance with its personal data protection policies. Protecting personal data, in turn, requires complete control over privileged access the foundational tenet of the GDPR. Controlling privileged access requires you to:

  • Consolidate all your privileged accounts and put them in a secure, centralized vault.
  • Assign strong, unique passwords and enforce periodic password rotation.
  • Enforce additional controls for releasing the passwords of sensitive assets.
  • Audit all access to privileged accounts.
  • Completely eliminate hard-coded credentials in scripts and applications.
  • Wherever possible, grant remote access to IT systems without revealing the credentials in plaintext.
  • Enforce strict access controls for third parties and closely monitor their activities.
  • Establish dual controls to closely monitor privileged access sessions to highly sensitive IT assets.
  • Record privileged sessions for forensic audits.

As explained above, controlling, monitoring, and managing privileged access calls for automating the entire life cycle of privileged access. However, manual approaches to privileged access management are time-consuming, error prone, and may not be able to provide the desired level of security controls.

ManageEngine Password Manager Pro automates privileged access management, helping you get ready for the GDPR

Password Manager Pro is a complete solution for controlling, managing, monitoring, and auditing the entire life cycle of privileged access. It offers three solutions in a single package: privileged account management, remote access management, and privileged session management.

Password Manager Pro fully encrypts and consolidates all your privileged accounts in one centralized vault, which is reinforced with granular access controls. It also mitigates security risks related to privileged access as well as preempts security breaches and compliance issues before they disrupt your business.

Together, these capabilities empower you to achieve total control over privileged access in your organization, thereby laying a solid foundation for GDPR compliance.


Fully complying with the GDPR requires a variety of solutions, processes, people, and technologies. As mentioned above, automating privileged access management serves as the foundation for complying with the GDPR. Together with other appropriate solutions, processes, and people, privileged access management helps reinforce IT security and prevent data breaches. This material is provided for informational purpose only and should not be considered as legal advice for GDPR compliance. ManageEngine makes no warranties, express, implied, or statutory, as to the information in this material.

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