It can be difficult to securely manage access to thousands of privileged accounts. Consequently, in many organizations, the passwords to privileged accounts are:
There are serious consequences to these password management practices, including:
These problems create security vulnerabilities. For example, if administrator passwords don't change, then former IT workers retain them beyond their term of employment. This clearly violates internal controls: former employees should not have administrative access to corporate systems.
In most organizations, strong internal controls are mandatory. Privacy protection legislation such as HIPAA and GLB, as well as legislation regarding corporate governance such as SOX, requires that systems containing sensitive data be secured against unauthorized access. Effective management of access to privileged accounts is therefore not an option, but a requirement.