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Getting Started with Password Management


The Password Management (PAM) feature allows the credentials of shared privileged accounts to be securely stored and managed by using secrets (where these credentials are stored in encrypted form in the database), and role-based access control to be implemented. The system supports the JIT (Just in Time) PAM (Privileged Access Management) approach.

NOTE: This feature is only available with both an activated serial key for the Enterprise Edition of Ekran System, and either a Workstation license or a Terminal Server license for the Client (jump server) computer via which users will get access to critical endpoints by using Ekran System Connection Manager.

NOTE: The Ekran System Connection Manager requires .NET Framework 4.8 to be installed on the Client (jump server) computer.


Follow the steps below to configure the Password Management options for using secrets.


Table of Contents


1. Configuring the Jump Server Computer


To configure a Client computer to be used as a jump server, do the following:

1. Log in to the Management Tool, and click the Client Management navigation link (on the left).

2. On the Client Management page that opens, click on the required Client name, then on the Properties tab, select the following checkboxes in the Client Properties section:

[For Clients with either a Workstation license or a Terminal Server license only:] Enable Jump Server mode: Allows you to dedicate the Client computer to be used as a jump server (i.e. the computer with the Ekran System Connection Manager).

NOTE: For correct operation of the jump server, it is recommend to use a Server OS.

• Replace Windows Shell with the Ekran System Connection ManagerIf you only want to display the Ekran System Connection Manager window (i.e. without the computer's desktop).

   

    

3. To finalize configuration of the Client, select the Authentication Options tab, and scroll down to the Two-Factor and Secondary Authentication section, then select the Enable secondary user authentication on login checkbox to allow users of the Client machine to access secrets.

NOTE: It is not required to enable secondary user authentication for Active Directory users.

   

4. Click the Finish button to apply the changes.


2. Adding and Configuring Secrets


The credentials of shared privileged accounts are stored in secrets.


To create and configure any type a secret (to be used to manage and access a privileged account), do the following:

1. Log in to the Management Tool, and click the Password Management navigation link (on the left).

2. On the Password Management page that opens, on the Secrets tab, click the Add button (in the top right of the page).

3. In the Add Secret pop-up window that opens, on the Properties tab, specify the following:

• Secret Name: A unique name for the secret.

• Secret Type: Select the type of secret required (Active Directory account / Windows account / Unix account (SSH) / Unix account (Telnet) / Web account / MS SQL account).

• Description: A description for the secret (optional).

Current folder: If required, change the folder where the secret will be stored (in the Tree-View folder structure).

One of the following locations of the account that users will connect to by using the Ekran system Connection Manager (depending on the type of secret):

- Domain: The Active Directory domain name.

- Computer Name: The hostname (or IP address) of the computer.

- URLThe URL.

- ServerThe hostname (or IP address) of the computer with the MS SQL database (where the port can also be specified, separating them with a comma).

• Login: The existing login name of the account to be accessed by using the secret.

• PasswordThe existing password for the account to be accessed by using the secret.

NOTE: [For the Unix account (SSH) secret type only:] The "Use SSH key" option can also be selected, in which case, instead of entering a Password for the account, a .PPK file containing the Private Key needs to be uploaded, and the Private Key Passphrase entered.

NOTE: [For the Windows account and Unix account (SSH) secret types only:] In the File Transfer section, if this functionality is to be used, please refer to the Transferring Files Using the WinSCP Application page.

    

4. [For the Active Directory account, Windows account, Unix account (SSH)and MS SQL account secret types only:] On the Automation tab, if the Remote Password Rotation functionality is to be used, do the following:

• Enable remote password rotation: Select this checkbox to allow the account's password to be changed automatically (and manually at any time).

NOTE: After a secret is added, when editing it later, the Rotate Now button is also displayed on the Automation tab, which can be clicked at any time to manually change the account's password at any time.

• Rotate Password Every: Select the frequency at which the account's password will be changed automatically.

NOTE: [For the Windows account secret type only:] For Remote Password Rotation to work, several preconditions need first to be met on the remote computer where the Windows account is located (i.e. on the computer that the secret connects to by using the Ekran System Connection Manager).

NOTE: [For the Unix Account (SSH) secret type only:] For Remote Password Rotation and SSH Key Rotation to work, the preconditions need first to be met on the remote computer where the Unix account (SSH) is located (i.e. on the computer that the secret connects to by using the Ekran System Connection Manager).

NOTE: If Remote Password Rotation ever fails, the secret is marked with the red circular (

icon next to its name (on the left) in the list of secrets, and the corresponding error event is displayed on the Health Monitoring page. In this case, subsequent password changes will no longer occur.

    

5. On the Security tab, security can be enhanced by enabling the Password Checkout functionality, so that only one user will be able to use the secret at any given time, along with several other options for this functionality, as follows:

Requires check out: Select this checkbox to enable the Password Checkout functionality, so that only one user can check out the secret's password (i.e. can connect to the account that the secret connects to) at any given time.

[For the Active Directory account, Windows account, Unix account (SSH)and MS SQL account secret types only:] Change password on check in: Select this checkbox for the password to be rotated every time the secret's password is checked back in (i.e. every time a user disconnects or is disconnected from the account that the secret is connected to).

NOTE: If the File Transfer functionality is to be used, both of the above checkboxes (i.e. "Requires check out" and "Change password on check in") must be selected, before it is possible to transfer files using the WinSCP application.

NOTE: The “Change password on check in” checkbox is completely independent to the “Enable remote password rotation” checkbox (on the Automation tab - see above), both of which can therefore function at the same time without affecting each other.

Check in automatically after: Select this checkbox to specify a time period, after the expiry of which the secret's password will be automatically checked back in (i.e. after which the current user of the secret will be forcibly disconnected from the account that the secret is connected to).

NOTE: The “Check in automatically after” checkbox is completely independent to the “Allow access without approval during work hours” checkbox (on the Restriction Types tab - see below), both of which can therefore function at the same time, in which case the user will be automatically logged off at whichever time period expires first.

Force Check In (button): After adding the secret, while editing it later, this button can be clicked at any time to manually check the secret's password back in (i.e. to forcibly disconnect the current user of the account that the secret is connected to) at any time.

    

6. On the Users & Permissiontab, add the required users who will be able to use the secret by clicking the Add button and then selecting the required users / user groups, along with the permissions to be granted to each of them, as follows:

• Role Type permissions must be granted to the users / user groups listed, by selecting either Owner, Editor or PAM User in the Role Type column.

Advanced permissions can also be granted to any users / user groups listed, by selecting the checkboxes (

) in the following columns:

- View Password (

)Allows the user to view and copy the secret's password in Ekran System Connection Manager.

[For the Active Directory account, Windows account, Unix account (SSH) secret types only:] File Transfer (

): If the File Transfer functionality is configured, allows the user to transfer files using the WinSCP application between the jump server computer (i.e. the computer with the Ekran System Connection Manager) and the remote computer (i.e. the computer accessed by a secret).

    

NOTE: Alternatively, the users / user groups who will be able to use the secret, along with their permissions, can be inherited from the parent folder if configured as required in this folder (except from the "All secrets" folder) by selecting the "Inherit users and their roles from current folder" checkbox (to inherit the users / user groups along with their Role Type permissions from the current folder) and the "Inherit advanced permissions from current folder" checkbox (to inherit the "View Password" and "File Transfer" advanced permissions for the users / user groups from the current folder).

7. On the Restrictions tab, to configure any access restrictions required for the users of the secret, do the following:

 Select the required option:

- Access without any restrictions: If this option is selected, the secret's users will be able to use the secret without any restrictions.

- Always require approval on secret usage: If this option is selected, the secret's users will require approval when they attempt to use the secret.

- Allow access without approval during work hours: If this option is selected, specify the date range, work hours, and days of the week when the secret's users will be able to use the secret without approval.

 Users Who Can Approve Access: Select the Management Tool users (i.e. Approvers) who will be able to approve access requests to use the secret.

 Owners or Approvers also require approval: Select this checkbox to also require approval (e.g. by the default admin user) for Owners and Approvers to use the secret.

NOTE: Approvers receive notifications by email, and can approve access either by clicking the link in the email or by way of the Management Tool (see the Access Requests section).

   

8. Click the Save button to complete creating the secret.


3. Using Secrets


The different types of secrets described below are used to access the corresponding different types of accounts.


3.1. Active Directory Accounts


The Active Directory account secret type allows you to select which computer you want to connect to in the Active Directory domain. 

After selecting the required secret and clicking Connect, in the additional pop-up window that opens, enter the name of the Computer (or its IP address) that you want to access (and if the File Transfer functionality is configured, also select the File Transfer Protocol and the Port to be used, or leave the default values shown), and then click Connect.

The system then automatically logs the user in to the Active Directory account, after clicking Connect to start using the secret.


3.2. Windows Accounts


The Windows account secret type allows you to work with local and domain user accounts on a specific computer.

The system automatically logs the user in to the selected Windows account (after clicking Connect in the Ekran System Connection Manager) to start using the secret.


3.3. Unix Accounts (SSH)


The Unix account (SSH) secret type allows you to configure a secret user’s connection to a Unix account. 

NOTE: For this type of secret to work, PuTTY needs to be installed, and the SSH key option for logging in can also be used.

The system automatically logs the user in to the Unix account (SSH), after clicking Connect to start using the secret. 


3.4. Unix Accounts (Telnet)


The Unix account (Telnet) secret type allows you to configure a secret user’s connection to a Unix account. 

The system automatically logs the user in to the Unix account (Telnet), after clicking Connect to start using the secret. 


3.5. Web Accounts


The Web account secret type allows you to configure a secret user’s connection to a Web account.

NOTE: The Web account secret type is only compatible with the Google Chrome browser (this type of secret will not work in other browsers). Also, Web account secrets always need to be opened in Incognito mode, which does not allow the browser to cache data.

The system automatically logs the user in to the Web account, after clicking Connect to start using the secret.

NOTE: If the system does not log you in automatically, an Ekran System extension for the Google Chrome browser is available that allows you to insert the Login and Password for the Web account.


3.6. MS SQL Accounts


The MS SQL account secret type allows you to configure a secret user's connection to the database.

NOTE: Version 18.0 or higher of MS SQL Management Studio needs to be pre-installed for this type of secret to work.

The system automatically logs the user in to MS SQL Management Studio, after clicking Connect to start using the secret.


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