CyberArk Privileged Access Manager Review

PSM has taken care of all the deficiencies that we had

How has it helped my organization?

An example of one of the ways CyberArk has benefited our company is one of the simplest. And this one is something that a lot of companies struggle with: domain administrators and server administrators. These are among the top accounts that most companies need to protect. As part of our deployment, we decided to go with these first when we deployed PSM.

What we found out was that there's always that friction with operational teams where they don't want to do this kind of work because it is another thing they have to do. But once the product was deployed and we were able to give them all the tools that they have today, and they did not have to go through attestations and audits anymore and, when team members were coming in and leaving, all they had to do was put in a ServiceNow request to complete all the work, it was just something so different for them that all that friction just went away. It was one of those simplest things, but one of the biggest things that you can do in your company to protect it.

I don't know if CyberArk really helps with meeting our availability requirements, but it definitely helps a lot with managing the accounts and managing the credentials. Availability? It helps to an extent. If there is an event of some sort, yes, you can always go back and look at the logs and you can figure out through recordings what happened. But it's more about manageability than availability.

In addition, when we started with RPA, there was a requirement that every credential and the bots themselves be protected through the PAM system. From the get-go, we've had CyberArk in the middle. We use standard products for RPA and all credentials are managed through CyberArk. All bots are protected via CyberArk, through PSM, and also through CCP calls. We've got a pretty robust RPA implementation with our PAM platform. Users, bots, the credentials — everything is managed via our PAM solution. From a cost perspective, this was something that was a requirement, so cost was never really an issue here.

The solution's ability to secure robots’ privileged access is pretty good. We've been able to secure our bots. In fact, we take care of our bots right from a development environment, using our development instances. So when our developers are building the scripts around those bots, they're already aware of what's going to happen when things finally go into production. Obviously, the level of security doesn't need to be the same, but we do it through the complete lifecycle.

What is most valuable?

PSM has been one of the most valuable features. We started on this journey a while back. Initially, when we did not have PSM, we started with AIM and that was our first use case. But an audit came along and we had to go towards something a little bit better and we had to migrate more applications. PSM came along and did exactly what we needed it to do. To take care of all the deficiencies that we had, PSM was the right thing to do.

What needs improvement?

We work with CyberArk's customer success team and we work with its engineering team back in Israel. We've been doing things on CyberArk which a lot of its customers, we know, have not been doing.

The one place where we found that this product really needs to improve is the cloud. Simple integrations don't exist, even today. We don't have anything specific on CyberArk for managing SaaS products, SaaS vendors, and SaaS credentials. I understand it's a vendor-based thing and that they have to coordinate with the other vendors to be able to do that, and there are integrations coming, but these are the major places where CyberArk definitely needs to invest some more time. Because this is what the future is. You're not going to have a lot of on-prem applications. Most stuff is going to the cloud.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Not every product is 100 percent stable. CyberArk does have some issues once in a while. But the core product, the vault system, has been extremely stable. We haven't had a single problem since we got this thing deployed, and it's been more than six years now. We've not had a single problem with the vault. 

Related to the software, there are other things that can cause problems. You could have clusters going down or you could have issues with hardware, but the product itself has been very stable. 

There are the usual quirks you have sometimes with PSM, but it's been a very stable product for what we need it to be.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of the product's ability to manage all our access requirements at scale, about 80 percent of it can be managed. There is no product in the market which can say, "We can do 100 percent, we can do everything." Or, they say that they can, but when it comes to it, it doesn't really happen. But with CyberArk, we've had the benefit of it being a little scalable, plus very easy to configure for the different use cases we have. So we can cover around 80 percent. But then we have to put some compensating controls around the other 20 percent.

It has scaled for our use cases. We built it according to the very large specification and it has scaled. It has done exactly what we need it to do. We've not yet had a performance issue to date.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've had good relationships with their technical department. My team usually does more engineering. We work with CyberArk's customer success team more often than the regular technical support. My operations team usually deals more with tech support.

When it has really come down to major issues, if we've ever had a Sev 1, they've been on point. They have picked up the phone, they've called us and they've helped us.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not use a different product. We had an in-built vaulting system for managing our own credentials. We've been a CyberArk customer for a while. We had the document vault. Privileged Access had just come out and CyberArk was one of the easiest choices we could make at that time. That's how we decided to go with it.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was not straightforward. The very first setup that we did was specifically for AIM, which was obviously simpler. We had an in-built vault which we replaced with the AIM setup. 

Our PSM setup was very complex. We had about 450 applications that we had to onboard over a period of one year, and we had to remove close to 16,000 accounts. It was a very complicated setup. We built close to 35 different connection components to get this product in.

What was our ROI?

The total cost of ownership, over credentials, is definitely something that goes down if you have a vaulting system. But if you have deployed it correctly, that's the only time you can get that. We've definitely seen some improvements. There are additional costs associated with getting every application onboarded, but in the long run, it keeps the company secure and I don't think you can put a price on that.

What other advice do I have?

We use the solution with AWS. In fact, we set up a custom setup for AWS. We worked with the CyberArk engineering team to get it working, to come up with a custom solution to integrate our AWS EC2 instances. There were some limitations, as I mentioned earlier, with how the product integrates with AWS, so we had to make some major changes to how the integration works. As far as monitoring is concerned, it's standard CyberArk monitoring. We don't see anything specific to AWS, as far as the monitoring is concerned. This is the one place where CyberArk can improve.

Privileged access management is one part of IM. Anything that goes through has to get approved through the IM team, and our product of choice for privilege access is CyberArk. When we decided to go to the cloud, this was the natural choice because this was the product that the enterprise uses. We've had challenges. We've had to customize the product to meet our requirements. It might not be the same for every customer because our requirements are a little unique. But it eventually worked out. We've been able to meet most of our use cases.

CyberArk is an eight out of 10. It can do a lot. But there is definitely scope for improvement.

I come from the IM world, but I was more into access management. CyberArk was just one of those products which was thrust on me. Now I'm head of privileged access management, so CyberArk has been pretty good for me, going from the access management space to privileged access management. It's definitely had an impact on my career.

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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