CyberArk Tutorial: What is CyberArk, Architecture, Components, etc

Security has become an important aspect of all types and sizes of organizations across the globe. It is essential to protect business information from falling in the wrong hands or hackers. Security breaches cause huge losses to organizations and damages their reputation. In order to stay away from ever-evolving data breaches and security threats businesses around the world are implementing powerful security tools and Softwares.

CyberArk is a leading Privileged Access Management tool and offers advanced features to secure and manage the privileged passwords of an organization. This CyberArk tutorial has been designed to provide you with a clear view of different elements such as what is a data breach, what is CyberArk, components, architecture and much more. Without wasting much time let’s jump into the tutorial part.

Following are the concepts covered in this CyberArk Tutorial:

Table of Contents

What is a data breach and how does it happen?

The term data breach is defined as exposure of sensitive, confidential, or protected information to an unauthorized person. In this process, the hackers can view and share the sensitive data of an individual, enterprises or governments.

Data breaches are increasing over the years due to two weaknesses that one is technology and another one is user behavior. Following are the typical reasons behind happening data breaches:

  • An Accidental Insider.
  • A Malicious Insider.
  • Lost or Stolen Devices. 
  • Malicious Outside Criminals.

What is a Privileged Account?

In an organization, there will be multiple accounts and each account is assigned with a set of permissions and responsibilities. A privileged account is defined as a special account that has granted extra permissions or permissions to install access to critical areas of business than the ordinary ones.

In layman terms a privileged account has access to sensitive business data, credit card numbers, social security numbers, permission to install, configure, modify software, etc. A privileged account can be defined and allotted by the organization to its people and managed to get desired outcomes.

Following are the typical Privileged Accounts found in an enterprise:

  • Local Administrative Accounts
  • Privileged User Accounts
  • Domain Administrative Accounts
  • Emergency Accounts
  • Service Accounts
  • Active Directory or Domain Service Accounts
  • Application Accounts
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What is Privileged Access Management (PAM)?

As we already know that the privileged accounts have access to critical business information and are mainly targeted by Cyber Criminals to steal critical business information. Hence, there is an essential need for organizations to manage these securely.

A Privileged Access Management (PAM) refers to managing and auditing the data accessed by the privileged account holders. It may include human administrators, applications, devices, and other users.

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What is CyberArk?

CyberArk is one of the leading information security providers in the market. The CyberArk’s Privileged Access Security (PAS) solution offers end-to-end solutions for managing the privileged accounts and SSH (Security Socket Shell) at the enterprise level.

Using CyberArk organizations can Secure, provision, manage and monitor all the operations associated with the privileged identities. The CyberArk Privileged Access Security solution comes with the following products:

  • Enterprise Password Vault (EPV)
  • Privileged Session Manager (PSM)
  • Application Access Manager (AAM) Credential Providers
  • Privileged Threat Analytics (PTA)
  • SSH Key Manager

CyberArk Architecture

CyberArk comes with an advanced and multilayer security environment where all your passwords are archived, stored, encrypted and shared with authorized users in remote locations. The Privileged Access Security (PAS) solution is easy to configure and allows you to start your work within no time.

Following are the two major elements of CyberArk Architecture:

1) Storage Engine:

The Storage Engine also referred to as a “Vault” takes the responsibility to store and secure information at rest and also ensures effective control over all the access.

2) Interface:

The interface communicates with the storage engine and provides access to the users and applications. All these communication processes happen using CyberArk’s secure protocol – the Vault protocol.

CyberArk Components

Following are the core components available in CyberArk, let’s discuss one by one:

Digital Vault:

This is one of the essential components of CyberArk and designed to provide the highest level of security to sensitive systems. Using digital vault security features customers can provide strong protection to their most critical business information.

Password Vault Web Access:

The Password Vault Web Access (PVWA) component allows its users to access and configure the CyberArk over the web. In order to use PVWA, you don’t have to have a dedicated machine. But the PVWA should be installed on a machine that is accessible by the network.

Central Policy Manager:

It can be installed and configured on a Windows system as an automatic system service called CyberArk Password Manager. It can be controlled easily using standard windows service management tools. This component frequently changes passwords and replaces them with new ones. It also takes responsibility to verify and reconcile passwords on remote machines.

Privileged Session Manager:

Privileged Session Manager (PSM) allows the organizations to securely access, monitor privilege access to network devices. It uses vaulting technology to create detailed sessions and to manage privileged accounts. PSM architecture has been designed in a way to secure sensitive privileged sessions while providing streamlined workflows to the IT administrators.

Privileged Session Manager for SSH

This component offers all the features of PSM by preserving the benefits such as control, isolation and monitoring. The main thing is that it provides a streamlined process for the users to connect with targeted UNIX systems from their own workstation without causing any disturbance to native workflow. 

Privileged Threat Analytics:

Privileged Threat Analytics is an advanced CyberArk component that comes with advanced features to detect malicious privileged account behavior. It quickly identifies and disrupts the threats when they are in progress and prevents business from security attacks.

Event Notification Engine:

The event Notification Engine (ENE) component of CyberArk has been designed to send email notifications to the appropriate users about Privileged Access Security information.

Top Industries that use CyberArk

Following are the industries which using CyberArk:

  • Computer Software
  • Information Technology Services
  • Financial Services
  • Banking 
  • Insurance
  • Retail
  • Hospital & Health Care
  • Government Administration
  • Telecommunications
  • Utilities

Benefits of CyberArk

Easy way to track Credentials:

When users manually track their credentials there is a good number of chances that either the credentials may be lost or forgotten. Using the Privileged Account Security Solution, users can no longer worry about tracking their credentials, instead what they need to remember is their CyberArk credential and everything else will be taken care of for them.

Saves a Lot of Time: 

CyberArk tool automates the majority of the password management tasks and enables the users to focus on the other important business areas.

Simple to Add or Remove Accounts:

It is a challenging and time taking task to add or remove user accounts. An organization consists of multiple servers and each time a new user joins it takes an average period of a month to provide access to a new user. CyberArk automates the account provision and de-provision tasks from months to few minutes by automating multiple operations.

Minimized time spent on managing least privileged accounts:

Earlier admins had to manage and apply all policies one by one to each individual Linux and Unix system instead of applying all policies across all the systems at once. The CyberArk Privileged Account Security Solution simplifies the work of Linux/ UNIX admins by providing centralized privileged policies. This automatically manages all the systems centrally and eliminates the extra time and efforts needed to be spent by Admins.

Easy Integration: 

The CyberArk is a highly flexible tool and allows seamless integration with many applications for easy flow of communication and information.

CyberArk Implementation

Implementation of CyberArk in an organization is associated with some simple steps. It can be done by using simple phases which include requirement analysis, Scope definition, launching solution, Risk mitigation, and finally execution of solution all over the company.

Phase 1) Requirement Analysis:

This is the first and foremost important phase. In this phase, all the business requirements are gathered and outcomes and risks are analyzed.  In this phase, the organization needs to identify the privileged accounts needed, define controls, specify assets, and timelines. 

Phase 2) Scope Definition:

In this Phase you need to define the scope of business and who are the stakeholders and their roles and responsibilities.

Phase 3) Launching and Execution:

This phase is a critical one in which essential executions take place which includes, Solution planning, architecture design, and solution execution.

Phase 4)  Risk Mitigation Plan:

This is a trial phase in which some privileged accounts are executed on a pilot basis to test and identify the areas of flaws.

Phase 5)  Complete Execution:

This is the phase where the CyberArk solution is fully implemented across all the required areas of an organization. Once the implementation is over the next process is to manage it on a constant basis.

Closing Thoughts

With this, we have come to the end of this CyberArk Privileged Access Management Tutorial. Hope this tutorial has helped you in gaining a basic overview of CyberArk tools. If you wish to start your career in CyberArk you can check out our CyberArk training program. You can also check our frequently asked CyberArk Interview Questions. Happy learning!

Author Bio


Yamuna Karumuri is a content writer at CourseDrill. Her passion lies in writing articles on the IT platforms including Machine learning, Workday, Sailpoint, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Selenium, MSBI, and so on. You can connect with her via LinkedIn.

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