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The Lockdown

Thycotic’s Cyber Security Blog

Interview: PAM Q&A with Dan Ritch

Written by Sara Shuman

June 8th, 2021

It takes a village to develop ThycoticCentrify’s industry-leading Privileged Access Management solutions. I spoke with Dan Ritch, Senior Product Manager at ThycoticCentrify to discuss what it’s like to be a Product Manager at ThycoticCentrify and get his take on PAM for the cloud and how to drive adoption.

Dan Ritch

What is your role at ThycoticCentrify?

My role is Senior Product Manager. I have held a variety of roles since I started in 2015. I am coming up on my 6-year anniversary. I have been on the tech support team, a sales engineer, a product marketer, and now, here, as a product manager of a few different products.

What is an average day like?

Lots of meetings. I meet with my product teams to check in on the progress, troubleshoot, and work on new solutions. I get to meet with prospects that are considering ThycoticCentrify products and get their feedback. I also meet with customers to get their thoughts and suggestions on new features they’d like to see.

I review documentation, read analyst publications to stay up to speed, and I’m always keeping an eye on the market to see what’s changing and what’s coming our way.

Day to day is never quite the same and that’s what I love about being a product manager at ThycoticCentrify.

What is the most fun part of your role?

The most fun is when we get the whole product team together to solve a problem that’s not related to one product, but when there’s a change in the industry, or when we’re making a shift in strategy—that’s the most fun—whiteboarding sessions where we get to hash out a problem as a group. We’ve been finding clever ways to do that recently since we’re all working remotely. Then we get to craft our own individual roadmaps based on that group brainstorming session.

How has PAM shifted since you started with ThycoticCentrify?

PAM isn’t just for IT departments anymore. The problem used to be that your IT department had access to important accounts and needed to figure out how to make those accounts more secure. Now we see more contractors and third parties including MSPs and MSSPs managing things. There are also people outside of the usual IT department that need to secure their assets—like developers looking to secure their code—and this wasn’t necessarily top of mind when PAM first came about.

We’re treating all users as privileged users

The scope has broadened so much and now we’re treating all users as privileged users. Consider all the sensitive data your business users have access to: sales reps logging into systems such as Salesforce, accounting logging into financial information, developers accessing critical code.

We’re also seeing PAM turn to the cloud the same way we’re seeing the rest of the world turn to the cloud. Take music for example—downloading a bunch of MP3s vs leveraging streaming services.

PAM is now at your fingertips.

What are some considerations people should keep in mind as they start their PAM journey?

Replacing physical infrastructure with AWS or Azure is like replacing all the keys in the business with a skeleton key, which is very convenient, but also a little scary. A single pane of glass is a manager’s dream, but security’s nightmare. You need to be very careful about who gets access to what and for how long. Automating the process and leveraging role-based access controls can be such a lifesaver in these cases.

Best start with executive buy-in

What we hear from customers is that people try to start their PAM program by launching it across multiple teams. This makes it difficult to manage—it can be easy to have things slip through the cracks or for certain teams to miss deadlines. Then you’re forced to chase down multiple teams and ensure things aren’t only done, but done correctly. We’ve found that it’s best to, first, start with executive buy-in. Then get one team on board at a time, celebrate success, and then involve additional teams for a successful adoption. You can’t boil the ocean.

You mentioned the shift to remote, what’s the most important part of your home office setup?

I really love my wireless headset. It allows me to walk to the microwave to reheat my coffee when I forget about it. Then, my wife noticed me, repeatedly, walking back and forth to the microwave to reheat my coffee, so she got me a Bluetooth coffee mug. Now that’s my favorite item. That’s pretty cool.

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