Best Practices for Privileged User Monitoring

Best Practices for Privileged User Monitoring

Ensuring that everyone in your organization has the right amount of access to the database is paramount to success. But not everyone needs the same level of entitlement as an administrator account. To reduce the risk of data breaches, cyber attackers, and other security issues to protect these assets from internal and external threats, it is crucial to implement robust security measures, and privileged user monitoring is a cornerstone of such measures. Privileged users, such as system administrators, have elevated access rights that can pose significant risks if not properly monitored and controlled.

Understanding Privileged User Monitoring

Privileged users, often referred to as superusers, administrators or simply “admins”; possess elevated access rights that allow them to manage and configure systems, applications, and networks within an organization. While these users play a crucial role in managing and maintaining IT environments, their unrestricted access can be a double-edged sword. If their actions are not adequately monitored, it opens the door to potential security breaches, data leaks, or misuse of power.

Best Practices for Privileged User Monitoring

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC):

Implementing role-based access control is the first step in privileged user monitoring. Assign entitlements and permissions based on job roles and responsibilities. By defining global tiered account access restriction policies, you can limit the scope of privileged access and reduce the likelihood of unauthorized actions.

Real-Time Monitoring:

Real-time monitoring is essential for promptly identifying and responding to suspicious activities by privileged users or threat actors. Employ security information and event management (SIEM) systems that can detect and alert on anomalies and deviations from normal behavior. These systems can provide valuable insights into user actions, enabling rapid response to potential threats.

Least Privilege Principle:

Adhere to the principle of least privilege, which means providing privileged users with the minimum level of access necessary to perform their job functions. This limits the potential for misuse, accidental errors or compromised accounts. Regularly review and adjust permissions to ensure they align with current responsibilities and business policies.

Session Recording and Playback:

Implement session recording and playback capabilities to create a comprehensive audit trail of privileged user activities. This allows security teams to review and analyze user actions, identify security incidents, and ensure accountability and compliance.

User Behavioral Analytics (UBA):

Leverage user behavioral analytics tools to establish a baseline of normal user behavior. By monitoring deviations from this baseline, organizations can detect potential insider threats or compromised accounts. UBA tools can help identify patterns and trends that manual monitoring might miss.

Alerts and Notifications:

Configure alerts and notifications to promptly inform security teams of suspicious activities or unauthorized access attempts. These alerts should be customizable to ensure that relevant personnel are alerted to specific events or incidents.

Periodic Access Reviews:

Conduct regular access reviews to verify that privileged users still require their current level of access. Remove unnecessary privileges and accounts to minimize the attack surface. Automated tools can assist in this process.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA):

Require multi-factor authentication for privileged access to add an extra layer of security. Even if credentials are compromised, MFA can prevent unauthorized access.

Continuous Training and Awareness:

Invest in training and awareness programs for privileged users to educate them about best security practices and the importance of responsible access management. An informed user is less likely to engage in risky behavior.

Compliance and Reporting:

Maintain comprehensive records of privileged user activities and generate regular compliance reports. Compliance with industry regulations and standards is crucial, and these reports can serve as evidence of adherence.


Privileged user monitoring is an integral part of an organization’s cybersecurity strategy. It helps mitigate the risks associated with superuser privileges and ensures the integrity and security of sensitive data and critical systems. By implementing the best practices outlined in this essay, organizations can proactively detect and respond to potential threats, reduce the likelihood of insider attacks, and maintain a robust security posture in an increasingly digital world. As threats continue to evolve, so too must privileged user monitoring practices to stay ahead of emerging risks and vulnerabilities.

Monitoring Remote Sessions

With more employees working from home, companies are seeking ways of monitoring remote sessions. One compelling case can be made for recording remote sessions for later playback and review. Employers are concerned that in the event of a security breach, they won’t be able to see what was happening on users’ desktops when the breach occurred. Another reason for recording remote sessions is to maintain compliance, as required for medical and financial institutions or auditing for business protocols, etc.

TSFactory’s RecordTS v7 will record Windows remote sessions reliably and securely for RDS, Citrix and VMware systems. Scalable from small offices with one server to enterprise networks with tens of thousands of desktops and servers, RecordTS integrates seamlessly with the native environment.

Click here to learn more about secure remote session recording.