Password Manager Pro ยป How do you monitor privileged accounts?

How do we secure these user accounts with elevated privileges? Organizations today are struggling with cyber fatigue, where they are overwhelmed trying to keep security defenses up-to-date. In a time when security systems are easily attacked, not shoring up defensive protocols could prove devastating. Operations come to a standstill when privileged accounts have been subjected to external cyberattacks or hacked by malicious insiders. It is also important to revoke privileged access for employees who leave the company or change roles internally.

With such profound consequences resulting from privilege abuse, there is a growing need for security experts to routinely monitor and manage privileged accounts. Privileged accounts are the heartbeat of any organization, and if left unmonitored, data breaches, downtime, failed compliance audits, and the exposure of privileged credentials can result.

What is a privileged user account?

A privileged user account provides access to business-critical information and systems. These accounts typically belong to internal employees and usually have nonrestrictive permissions depending on their access permission levels. Users accessing these accounts can:

  • Create and modify user accounts and permissions.
  • Perform administrative tasks.
  • Make system and configuration changes.
  • Access critical and sensitive data.
  • Manage all of the resources within the organization.


Privileged user accounts are more prone to larger security risks due to their elevated capabilities. According to the latest Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon, 61% of breaches involve credentials, and 80% of misuse involves privileged credentials. This further illustrates the importance of ramping up security efforts to keep privileged accounts secure.

How to manage and audit privileged accounts

Combating cyberattacks calls for a proactive approach rather than just a reactive one. Monitoring and analyzing privileged account activities can prevent breaches of privileged resources. By exercising control through auditing privileged accounts, organizations can stay one step ahead, detecting threats before they cause serious damage. Auditing ensures that all your privileged resources adhere to the PAM policies your organization sets. It involves tracking user activity and the access levels of privileged resources as well as generating reports on anomalous behavior.

How do you get started with auditing privileged accounts? Here are four crucial steps to establish an auditing system that routinely monitors your privileged accounts:

Identify privileged accounts and their access permission levels

Identify privileged accounts and their access permission levels

Ongoing discovery of privileged resources is key for visibility into and control over privileged accounts. You must take stock of all the privileged accounts and the types of resources to which they have access. The discovery system must also regularly check if the privileged users:

  • Are authenticated and validated to access privileged accounts.
  • Have appropriate credentials, such as strong passwords, expected of privileged users.
  • Have only the access required for their roles. For example, a privileged user might require view access to credentials but is not granted critical controls like changing passwords.

Monitor privileged account user activity

After identifying users with elevated access, you can track and monitor their activities. Constantly monitoring privileged accounts allows you to discover any misuse and prevent any hacking attempts. While keeping track of activities, system admins also:

  • Monitor privileged user access to files, resources, and databases, keeping a sharp eye on critical actions, such as login attempts and information sharing.
  • View and replay recordings with session monitoring tools, staying on the lookout for suspicious activities.
  • Collect and save audit logs from privileged sessions.
  • Block and report malicious action attempts.
  • Verify and authorize changes to data.
Monitor privileged account user activity
Analyze privileged user behavior

Analyze privileged user behavior

Deviations from typical user behavior can indicate an incoming security attack. User actions such as file deletion, unauthorized changes to user roles, and access to information beyond their privileges can prove disastrous. SIEM tools detect user behavior outside of the norm and notify you of it. They help you prevent attacks from unusual sources and prioritize those that pose the biggest risk to your organization. Event correlation identifies threat patterns within saved logs and provides an overview of all reported attacks. This allows system admins to determine the correct course of action to deal with immediate security threats.


Generate reports on privileged user sessions

Generating consistent reports on accumulated logs aids system admins in taking preventative measures to prevent similar security breach attempts in the future. It offers a bird's-eye view of all user activities and highlights behavior that deviates from normal patterns. These reports can be exported in multiple formats, aiding forensic investigations.

Generate reports on privileged user sessions

Consistently auditing PAM lets admins monitor, detect, and respond to security breaches before they reach a point of escalation. By following these steps, building a holistic security system, and anticipating threats, you will be able to strengthen your overall cybersecurity posture and protect your privileged user accounts.

Take the first step towards proactive IT security for your privileged accounts.

Download Password Manager Pro today!

Technical Support Request Demo