How has it helped my organization?
We're a small IT shop of a few hundred people and the company has only a couple of thousand employees. We had some SharePoint workflows that people had used to get access via submitting a ticket. We had updated those processes by using some DevOps, some JAMS jobs that run in Azure, and they were breaking frequently. We have gotten people to understand now that they can just go to CyberArk. They don't have to submit a ticket, they don't have to go through a workflow, they don't have to put in the right server name or wait for an approval. It's just there. People really like that.
The solution standardizes security and reduces risk-access across the company. It's what the solution does. It's just a requirement. Standardizing access is taking away the "onesie-twosies." With the DNA scan, you're running a full report of everything on all your servers that you're targeting, or all the servers period, and finding those onesie-twosies accounts and getting rid of them. Standardizing and making local accounts on the servers, accounts that have least privilege and that don't have access to anything else, and giving people only that access when they log onto a box; that's pretty cool standardization.
In terms of being able to have a quick win using the solution, we were given a ridiculous deadline to meet an external customer requirement to have privileged access management in place within a couple of months. That was to include signing the purchase order, getting it installed, and having it up day one to take in what we thought were 17 servers. Actually, we found out it was 53 and, two weeks after we had it running, we found out there were upwards of 60 to 70 servers. Getting all those servers in, the accounts in place, by the deadline — even just installing it — was all an immediate win. People said it couldn't be done.
What is most valuable?
Right off the bat, the most valuable feature is the DNA scan. It gives us the ability to scan our environment and find the accounts that we're going to need to take under control.
We're quite new with CyberArk. We've just installed it this past summer and we've taken off with the Microsoft tier model. Tier 0 is our domain admin accounts and our local admin accounts on some applications are specific to SOX requirements. That's been amazing. It's basic-use PAM, but it's been really fast and easy because of the DNA scan. We knew what was there and we were able to go find who owned those accounts. Step one, step two, step three are really easy.
What needs improvement?
We're pretty excited about Alero, the third-party access management. As a small company we lean on vendors quite a bit and we do that in multiple areas. That's going to be a big one for us. It's just gone from beta to production. It's one of those things that's on our roadmap, but being so new to the toolset, we're just growing into the tool. We're not quite there yet.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The product has been around forever. In a way, it's a bit old-school. I came from a Windows Server environment, so I get how it's built. It's INI files, it's apps that run on Windows Servers. I'm sure there are other ways that it runs, such as in the cloud as well. There are other directions. But the base of the product is old-school. It just works. So the stability is there. My new engineers can do the install, they can understand how it works. It's quite stable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
In terms of scaling, we're not there yet. We have a number of offices, we're a small company but we're spread globally and we're installing servers in Brazil. We also have servers in London, so we can scale geographically quite easily because it's applications running on servers. There's also a DR capability, having those vaults where needed, so we can scale that way.
There are a lot of new things coming out about endpoints, and third-party management is going to be big. We can scale geographically and we can scale outside of our borders and that's going to be cool.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We had no PAM program when I came to this company.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is very straightforward. It's well-documented. We sought to have external advisors and third-party consultants help, in addition to CyberArk's help, because we had such tight deadlines. We were installing multiple environments with a turnaround in weeks and had to complete the training at the same time. Junior engineers were coming in and they could walk through it. We found out that it's almost self-doable. But that's probably not advised in any solution. The help was appreciated but it's straight-away easy.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
In a previous life, I worked with TPAM, Quest products, and Safeguard. We evaluated five different toolsets when it came to my new role here — all the major players. The last two were Quest and CyberArk and I had a strong relationship with both groups. A lot of it came down to dollars and cents, but CyberArk also had that marketplace that told us that we could do certain things out-of-the-box. That was very important to us, enabling us to get stakeholders' buy-in: strategic alliances within our customers or the companies that we own. We got them bought-in to the idea that they were going to be using this tool. It came down to the marketplace.
What other advice do I have?
I'd never ever rate anything a 10. I'd probably never rate anything a one. I'd rate CyberArk as 7.5 out of 10. We actually did surveys of all the people that saw all the demos of all the new solutions we looked at. CyberArk was a seven or eight consistently, from all the people who watched it. The benefit of it is it's stable, it's old-school, it just works. The downside is that it's a big program. To scale excessively, locally, on an on-prem application, takes a lot of servers. Those are the highs and lows. It could be amazing if it all ran in the cloud, but that wouldn't be possible.
I started as a PAM engineer eight years ago. Learning PAM and understanding how it protects people and being the liaison who needs to take passwords away from engineers is really tough. But it put me in a good spot. I grew from a PAM engineer to an identity engineer to identity team lead to identity manager. Within the last year-and-a-half, I came into this company because of a PAM role. They hired me as an identity manager because I knew PAM and because I had a relationship; I was working on bringing CyberArk in as part of my previous role and they wanted me to come in and do that same evaluation here. So knowing CyberArk got me my job and, within three months, they said, "We don't need just one team like this doing these assessments. We need multiple teams. So you're an associate director." I said, "Thanks, I don't want to do that. I just want to play with PAM."