What is our primary use case?
We started with administrative use cases and we were able to take control of all the local administrator accounts for endpoints and servers. We then started controlling privileged accounts for our domain administrators as well as for any kind of privileged account that had access to our switches, routers, and the like.
This year we're looking at taking control of all of the servers and application accounts. But that's going to be a longer journey for us because there are a lot more of those accounts, and there is a lot more testing that needs to be done because of the nature of the accounts.
Another use case this year is integrating Safeguard into the SQL database, so we can start taking control of the SA accounts within SQL.
Furthermore, we have a use case where we are using Safeguard to manage the account for our IIGA solution, which is our identity governance solution. When it creates new users or transfers or terminates users, it's using a privileged account that is being handled by Safeguard.
We have a lot more use cases but these are enough to give you an idea of how we use it.
How has it helped my organization?
We went from a state where privileged accounts were being used and not being monitored or even audited to our situation now where we are starting to monitor these privileged accounts more closely. That's where we show value in the product. Whenever a change is happening, we know because we find it in the logs. Our reporting and monitoring team is looking at it, and they are now starting to question changes that are associated with some kind of ticket or some kind CAB (change advisory board) request. It has improved our visibility for privileged access.
What is most valuable?
We have physical appliances for this solution. We went with that version of it because it was easier for us to deploy it and not have the IT engineers involved with our deployment. We wanted to control everything, from the deployment to the supportability to the usability of the product. I really enjoy the form factor of the appliance because it's definitely a change from the previous version, which was a bigger box. This one is a lot easier. It doesn't take up room on the rack, and it's very efficient as far as resources go.
The ease of use of the GUI is a really nice feature. It has a nice look and feel to it.
The actual checkout process is simple. You log into the portal and you're presented with accounts. That makes that so much easier because you don't have to go searching for stuff. It identifies what accounts you have, you click on it, and you go through the checkout process.
It's one of the best products we've seen. When you start looking at the functionality and use cases and usability of the product, it's straightforward. They designed this product with the end-user in mind, and they also had the sysadmin who is supporting the product in mind. They really did a nice job. Overall, it's a nice product to work with.
We use the Approval Anywhere feature and, through an app, it allows us to approve or deny requests. We don't have that turned on across the board, but we are turning it on slowly but surely. It adds an extra layer of security for critical passwords without adding time-consuming approval processes. That extra layer of security is our "belt and suspender" approach. It's making sure that you are approved to make a change, especially during production hours; it's approved by the person's manager.
What needs improvement?
From a usability perspective, what we are finding out is that our privileged domain admin users, in particular, want functionality for extending a checkout session. So we are working with One Identity support to see if there's an enhancement that can be made to the product.
There is another area for improvement that I have sent over to One Identity. I said, "Whenever you check out a password, there should be a radio code associated with the password." That's something that we're trying to work on with them. It was submitted as a request for enhancement. Sometimes, you can't tell if an "O" is an "O" or a zero is a zero. If we had a radio code, the person could correctly read that password and make sure that they're not fat-fingering it.
For how long have I used the solution?
We've been using One Identity Safeguard since the end of 2017, so it's a little over two years. I was also a user of the previous version, which was TPAM, for many more years in my previous role.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
We have never had an issue with the software or even with the appliances.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It's very scalable. It doesn't matter what size of organization you have. If you have an organization of 1,000 or 100,000, the product is going to be scalable to your needs.
In our company, we have sporadic roles and we have about 55 users who are tuned into Safeguard. We're managing over 3,000 privileged accounts. Some of the users' roles are network administrators, IT administrators, help desk administrators, and InfoSec administrators. Our marketing team has users of the product, as they have applications whose passwords are being managed through Safeguard. We have a nice blend of users who are using the product daily. It has really done a good job of keeping up with the demand.
We definitely have plans to expand the usage of the product. Any area that's going to require some kind of privileged account, especially as we go through a digital transformation in deploying cloud services, Safeguard is going to be right there with us and will give us that flexibility to manage those kinds of accounts.
For deployment and maintenance of the solution we have a staff of one who reports directly to me. He's a senior cybersecurity engineer.
How are customer service and technical support?
Safeguard's technical support is one of the better ones that I have worked with. There's always room for improvement, but every time that I do pick up the phone it's been fine.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
In my previous role I used Dell Quest TPAM, which was the previous version of Safeguard.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was very straightforward because my team had the expertise in deploying a PAM solution, which was TPAM, in the past. This wasn't really that much different. We were able to deploy the full infrastructure, including DR redundancy, without Professional Services.
Because of scheduling conflicts, it took a few weeks to deploy. The main boxes were up within a week, but the full circle of deployment of the product was about a month or so because of those scheduling issues.
Standing up the appliance, plugging it in, and getting started was very straightforward. So kudos to One Identity for really listening to what the user population had to say about TPAM, because it is definitely reflected in the Safeguard product.
In terms of the effect on our privileged users, it's always going to be disruptive when you change something. People don't like change. We introduced this slowly but surely. We took a real "crawl, walk, run" type of methodology. We took the most basic use cases, and then we would update our support documentation to support the product. As we deployed it, we kept finding areas that we needed to document. It wasn't so easy to deploy something that was going to change somebody's workday process flow. But a year later, we're in a different state. It's been adopted and people are drinking from the same water hose.
We had in mind that we needed to handle the local administrator accounts and the privileged accounts, and we moved on from there. We knew that doing the local administrator account, which is really a non-human account, was going to give us the biggest bang for the buck. We knew that was something that we would achieve fairly quickly, and we did.
The training for end-users wasn't that bad. The product is straightforward. When you start working on a product with a lot of the features that you had suggested, in a previous version, be implemented, it's really nice to see that the company is listening to clients and the user population. That helped us in training our employees who use the product. The training was extremely straightforward, and people really caught onto it fairly quickly.
What was our ROI?
We absolutely see return on our investment. We're minimizing the risk of potential insider and external threats. We're managing all the privileged accounts, and we have minimized the risks of an account being hijacked and being used to compromise domains.
We are already seeing the return because we conduct annual penetration tests to see if we're able to compromise the network.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We evaluated CyberArk and BeyondTrust in addition to Safeguard. We went through a bake-off and Safeguard had one of the best sets of functionalities. It even had simple stuff for integration of a checkout proxy ID. You could check out the password and then it would just proxy to the endpoint. An example would an SSH session you needed for an account that was checked out.
CyberArk was going to require a lot of resources, both human and infrastructure resources, that we didn't have the bandwidth to take on. BeyondTrust fell short of some of the use cases that we had. One of the use cases was relationship. We had a core team that decided on the product and when the core team did its scoring, Safeguard came out just a little bit ahead of BeyondTrust and well ahead of CyberArk.
What other advice do I have?
Start with your current state. That's what we did. Then, create a roadmap of where you are, where you need to be over the next five years. Once you're able to assess the current state and you have a plan in place, you can pick the product that's going to help you get to that future state.
The biggest lesson I have learned from using this product is to be open-minded in trying to figure out where we could use some enhancements. Just because you choose a product you don't have to be 100 percent, all-in on the product. There is always room for opportunities. Whenever there is feedback or challenges, take them and then see what you can do better. My focus is the end-user who is using the product. We have to make sure that using this product doesn't affect users' day-to-day operations.
We started using the solution's behavior analytics feature but it never really took off because we got overwhelmed with other areas that we needed to address. It's something that is on the roadmap for us to eventually take a look at, or at least refresh the project plan and commit some time and some resources to it.
We are looking to integrate Safeguard with RSA. RSA has a component and we're looking to streamline the metrics around that component. When a product is brought online, there's a way for us to go in and do a scan of that machine or that endpoint. Ideally what should happen is that we'll go to Safeguard, check out a password, push that password to the vulnerability management scanner, and scan it. When that scan is done, it actually checks in the password and rotates it. It's our vulnerability management solution that we're looking to integrate. We're doing a PoC on that right now.
Safeguard is a next-generation tool when it comes to privileged access management. They have done a nice job figuring out all the features that need to be available out-of-the-box. I do have high expectations for Safeguard. I continue to look forward to future releases because I know it's going to get even better.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
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