What is Endpoint Privilege Management (EPM)?

Published On - April 9, 2024

Endpoint Privilege Management (EPM) establishes stringent controls over privileged access to network devices. Administrators meticulously define which individuals are granted access and under what specific conditions. This granular approach eliminates the default privileged access often associated with traditional setups. Users must explicitly request elevated privileges on an as-needed basis, triggering an approval workflow that ensures appropriate authorization.

EPM serves as a centralized hub for authorization and access control across all network endpoints, significantly reducing the attack surface and enhancing security. EPM solutions provide comprehensive capabilities, including session management and Identity and Access Management (IAM). They monitor and record user sessions on endpoints, alongside managing and rotating credentials for privileged accounts.

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Why Is Endpoint Security Important?

Endpoint security plays a critical role in safeguarding enterprise networks by protecting the entry points through which end users access the network. Endpoints, such as desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, provide a potential gateway for unauthorized access and malicious activity. Endpoint security measures aim to secure these devices against data breaches and malware attacks, thus ensuring network integrity, regulatory compliance, and the protection of sensitive information. Below are four key reasons why EPM solutions are crucial to protect sensitive data:  

1. Network boundaries have extended beyond traditional perimeters.

With the advent of cloud computing and remote work, the traditional security perimeter defined by firewalls, antivirus, and VPNs has become almost obsolete. Modern infrastructures span both cloud and on-premises environments, creating a fragmented and interconnected landscape. This perimeterless environment underscores the importance of robust endpoint security. EPM solutions provide a comprehensive suite of capabilities to address the challenges posed by such distributed infrastructures. EPM offers provisioning, role-based authorization, just-in-time privilege assignment, and session management, allowing organizations to maintain control and visibility over endpoint devices while ensuring secure access and data protection across a perimeterless environment.  

2. Endpoint devices have become prime targets for cyber-attacks.

Endpoints, being directly connected to the enterprise network and used to access internal systems and sensitive data, serve as prime targets for hackers. Their compromise can lead to devastating consequences such as ransomware installation, data theft, or serving as a gateway for deeper network infiltration. To mitigate these risks, enterprises must employ stringent measures like restricting privileged access for endpoints. 

3. Human error is a leading cause of data loss.

Human error poses a significant threat to cybersecurity, as users are prone to making mistakes that malicious actors can exploit. Examples of common mistakes include reusing old passwords, neglecting to install crucial security updates, and failing to adhere to strict endpoint security policies. To mitigate these risks, organizations must implement robust endpoint security measures that safeguard devices from malicious attacks and lateral network movement.    

4. Adversaries will try to escalate their privileges.

By implementing granular access controls, EPM solutions can meticulously limit user access to essential resources. This granular control effectively mitigates the risks associated with privilege escalation threats. Moreover, EPM solutions minimize the possibility of unauthorized data access by implementing robust security protocols and monitoring systems. EPM solutions can protect against privilege escalation, thus reducing the likelihood of security breaches.  

What are the Benefits of Endpoint Privilege Management?

EPM solutions provide substantial benefits to businesses. By eliminating local admin rights, EPM enhances security by empowering administrators with full control over Privileged Access Management. This centralized approach ensures that only authorized individuals have elevated privileges, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and malicious activities. Furthermore, EPM aligns with compliance and regulatory requirements by implementing unified security policies that adhere to industry frameworks. Audit trails provide visibility into user behavior, allowing businesses to detect suspicious activities and respond promptly to intrusion attempts. The automation of IT tasks through EPM simplifies workload and minimizes the risk of human error, leading to reduced operational costs. Additionally, EPM supports Zero Trust principles by requiring regular endpoint authentication and authorization. This approach assumes that no user or device can be inherently trusted on the network, enhancing overall security.  

Integrating EPM with Active Directory

Organizations can leverage SAML-based authentication protocols to streamline the authentication process for Active Directory (AD) users. Likewise, EPM platforms typically provide pre-configured integration with Azure Active Directory (AAD). When a user attempts to access the EPM dashboard, an encrypted SAML authentication request is seamlessly relayed to the AD server. Upon successful authentication within AD, a SAML response is transmitted back to the EPM platform, containing the validated EPM identity granted to the user. Using this identity, the EPM system seamlessly logs the user into the dashboard, eliminating the need for separate credentials.  

Endpoint Management vs. Endpoint Privilege Management

Endpoint management encompasses the comprehensive management and security of all endpoint devices, including desktops, laptops, and servers. It involves various activities such as deployment, patching, inventory, monitoring, security, and reporting. Endpoint Privilege Management (EPM), on the other hand, is a subset of endpoint management that specifically targets the control and management of privileged access to endpoints. EPM activities include endpoint and user provisioning, privileged identity lifecycle management, privilege assignment and removal, and session management and auditing. By focusing on controlling privileged access, EPM aims to reduce the risk of unauthorized access and misuse of endpoint devices. 

Endpoint Privilege Management and Least Privilege

EPM encompasses the principle of least privilege (PoLP) as a fundamental component. EPM enforces the idea that each user, application, or device should only possess the minimum privileges necessary to perform their specific functions. By adhering to the least privilege principle, EPM minimizes the attack surface by limiting the number of privileged accounts and restricting access to sensitive resources.


By defining granular authorization policies centrally, Endpoint Privilege Management (EPM) solutions effectively control access to sensitive resources and data, preventing unauthorized individuals from gaining access. Additionally, EPM efficiently manages the lifecycle of privileged accounts, reducing the risk of security breaches. Moreover, EPM contributes significantly to cost optimization by automating privileged account management tasks, thus reducing operational expenses. Ultimately, EPM serves as a barrier against hackers, keeping them out of critical systems and ensuring the integrity of corporate networks.

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