Gartner Research

Controlling the Keys to the Kingdom With Privileged Account Management

Published: 09 October 2013

ID: G00255268

Analyst(s): Lori Robinson


Privileged account management technologies help organizations protect critical assets and meet compliance requirements by securing, managing and monitoring privileged accounts. This assessment recommends best practices for managing privileged accounts and provides an overview of PAM technologies.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • Privileged Accounts Defined
  • Privileged Account Characteristics
    • Unrestricted or Elevated Access Rights
    • Shared and Distributed
    • Anonymous
    • Ubiquitous
    • Static
  • The Challenge
    • Transparency, Accountability and Audit
    • Privileged Password Management
    • Privileged Account Life Cycle
    • Access Controls
    • The Expanded Data Center: Virtualization and Cloud
  • Regulatory Demands
  • Privileged Account Management Functional Overview
    • Shared-Account Password Management
    • Application-to-Application Password Management
    • Superuser Privilege Management
    • Monitoring
  • PAM Deployment Methodology
  • Architectural Considerations
    • Platform Support and Integration
    • Software Delivery
    • Provisioning and LDAP Integration
  • Market Landscape
  • Strengths
    • Manage Access to Privileged Operations
    • Manage the Life Cycle of the Privileged Password
    • Improved Transparency and Accountability
    • Support for Multifactor Authentication
    • Strong Monitoring, Audit and Reporting Capabilities
  • Weaknesses
    • Full Benefit Requires End-to-End PAM Suite
    • Scalability: Difficult to Manage All Systems
    • No Amount of Technology Can Overcome Bad Business Practices
  • Change Privileged Account Passwords Frequently
  • Use Stronger Authentication
  • Be Available
  • Integrate With Core Identity Management Components
  • Integrate PAM Auditing With the SIEM Infrastructure
  • Limit the Rights of Privileged Accounts, and Limit User Access to Privileged Accounts
  • Maintain an Audit Log of All Privileged Activities

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