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Zero Standing Privileges - A Key Element of Modern Privilege Access Management Strategy

Updated: Jan 29

In today's digital age and cloud heavy IT infrastructure, cybersecurity is a top priority for organizations of all sizes. The hybrid cloud environments are increasingly complex and the traditional Privilege Access Management (PAM) principles poses a challenge. For organizations it's crucial to implement comprehensive strategies to safeguard sensitive data and digital assets. While the traditional PAM model of least privilege has its place, for the new edge service oriented cloud infrastructure require different security principle. One approach gaining prominence is the concept of "Zero Standing Privileges" (ZSP), a proactive cybersecurity strategy that minimizes the risk of unauthorized access to critical systems and data.





What Are Standing Privileges?

Standing privileges are the rights and permissions that users, including administrators, and machine IDs have on a network, system, or application by default. These privileges are granted based on a business need and once granted, often remain active even when not actively in use. While they may be convenient, they also present a significant security risk. If a user's credentials are compromised, the attacker gains access to these standing privileges, potentially causing significant damage. This concept was fine in traditional data center model where the physical and logical security of a data center and all resources within it was under control, supervision of IT staff and network was protected by firewall, DMZs and other security measures.


Zero Standing Privileges Explained:

Zero Standing Privileges (ZSP) is a strategy that aims to reduce or eliminate standing privileges wherever possible. The core idea is to grant users and systems the minimum necessary access rights required to perform their duties, but not more. In well implemented approach, ZSP translates to no “once granted, available until revoked” persistent privileges to any infrastructure resource to any human or non-human account. This approach can significantly reduce the attack surface and mitigate the impact of security breaches. Do know that achieving ZSP is the ideal state of just in time PAM strategy and not always possible. As the PAM products mature, organizations can go closer to efficient just in time PAM model that puts them closer to the ideal state of ZSP.


Key Elements of ZSP:

  1. Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP): ZSP aligns with the PoLP, where users are granted the minimum level of access needed to complete their tasks. By adhering to this principle, organizations minimize the risk associated with excessive privileges.

  2. Dynamic Access Control and Management: Dynamic access control mechanisms are employed to grant or revoke privileges based on real-time user activities in Just in Time (JIT) model. This allows for adaptive and agile privilege management.

  3. Continuous Monitoring: ZSP strategies include continuous monitoring of user activities, access requests, and system behavior. This monitoring helps detect and respond to any unusual or potentially malicious activities promptly.


Benefits of Zero Standing Privileges:

Implementing a ZSP strategy can yield several advantages for organizations, including:

  • Enhanced Security: By reducing standing privileges, the attack surface is minimized, making it more challenging for malicious actors to exploit vulnerabilities.

  • Improved Compliance: ZSP aligns with various cybersecurity compliance standards, helping organizations meet regulatory requirements.

  • Reduced Insider Threats: The principle of least privilege reduces the potential for misuse of privileges by employees.

  • Streamlined Operations: ZSP can lead to more efficient privilege management and reduced administrative overhead.

  • Reduce Excessive Access: ZSP model results in limiting excessive administrative user access.

CredenceIA Consulting's Expertise:

CredenceIA Consulting, a trusted advisor and cybersecurity service provider, specializes in helping organizations enhance their cybersecurity measures. We offer a range of specialized services, including Privilege Access Management (PAM) assessment and strategic planning designed to advance organizations toward the implementation of Zero Standing Privileges (ZSP). Our team of experts is well-versed in the latest security trends and technologies, enabling us to deliver tailored solutions that strengthen digital defenses across Identity and Access Management (IAM), Identity Governance and Administration (IGA), and Privilege Access Management (PAM).

Our approach transcends conventional cybersecurity practices, focusing on proactive risk reduction and the safeguarding of critical assets. Embracing ZSP is a forward-looking and effective strategy to bolster cybersecurity in the digital age. It equips organizations with a more resilient defense against evolving threats while enhancing security, compliance, and operational efficiency. In a world where cybersecurity is paramount, adopting ZSP becomes a cornerstone of a robust cybersecurity posture.


How Cybersecurity Services from CredenceIA Consulting Can Help?

CredenceIA offers Identity Governance (IGA) implementation, planning and managed services solutions to help organizations balance efficiency and effectiveness in managing their existing IGA implementation. We understand that choosing a managed service provider for IAM, IGA and information security needs is not a decision to be taken lightly. By partnering with a specialized firm like CredenceIA, our clients get personalized attention, agility, cost-effective solutions, and deep expertise. Your organization's security is not a one-size-fits-all matter, and neither should your service provider be. Contact us today to experience the CredenceIA difference.


For specific cybersecurity guidance and implementation, consult with a qualified cybersecurity team at CredenceIA Consulting.




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