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What is Just-In-Time (JIT) access?

Posted 3rd Mar 2024 by Travis Swientek

Just-in-time (JIT) access refers to the provisioning of privileged access only when it is needed, and for a limited duration.

What is Just-In-Time (JIT) access?

Just-in-time (JIT) access refers to the provisioning of privileged access only when it is needed, and for a limited duration. By providing roles and privileges only at the moment they are required and revoking them immediately after use, JIT access enforces the principle of least privilege and meets requirements where appropriate of privileged access policies, significantly enhancing an organization's security posture and compliance with relevant regulations.

Implementing Just-In-Time Access

  • Principle of Least Privilege: JIT access is a practical application of the principle of least privilege (PoLP), ensuring users are granted the minimum levels of access—or permissions—necessary for the task at hand.
  • Real-Time Provisioning and De-provisioning: Access is dynamically provisioned in real-time when a user requests it and de-provisioned as soon as the task is completed, minimizing the attack surface by eliminating standing privileges.
  • Workflow Integration: JIT access integrates into existing workflows, allowing for streamlined approval processes and authentication, ensuring that access control decisions are made efficiently and securely and on an as-needed basis.
  • Audit Trails and Compliance: Every access request and approval process is logged, creating an audit trail that enhances security analytics and compliance reporting, helping to protect against unauthorized access and potential data breaches.

Benefits of Just-In-Time Access

JIT access addresses several cybersecurity challenges by:

  • Reducing the Attack Surface: By limiting the time frame that privileges are available, JIT access reduces opportunities for attackers to exploit privileged accounts.
  • Preventing Unauthorized Access: JIT's on-demand access model ensures that users have temporary access only when needed and for a limited period of time, significantly reducing the risk of sensitive data exposure.
  • Enhancing Security Posture: The dynamic nature of JIT access, combined with granular policies and strict entitlements, strengthens an organization’s security posture against cyberattacks and hackers.

Teleport Take

Teleport's implementation of just-in-time access enables organizations to easily govern temporary elevation of privileges and access to sensitive resources. By leveraging access requests within a zero trust architecture, Teleport enables:

  • Secure, On-Demand Access: Users request access as needed, which must be approved via an integrated approval process, ensuring that access is granted based on real-time decisions and current needs.
  • Elimination of Standing Privileges, Stale Privileges, and Long-Standing Permissions: Teleport eliminates standing access by ensuring that roles and permissions are only active for a limited amount of time, directly aligned with specific tasks, specific resources, or use cases. This is sometimes referred to zero standing privileges.
  • Streamlined Access for DevOps and Remote Users: Teleport simplifies the process for DevOps teams and remote users to gain access to critical systems, providing the temporary privilege elevation that is necessary for their work, using the tools and processes that DevOps teams are accustomed to, without compromising on security or compliance.
  • Comprehensive Audit Trails: With Teleport, every instance of just-in-time access is recorded, providing valuable insights for audit trails and aiding in compliance with data protection regulations.

By providing JIT access as a key capability its platform, Teleport not only secures sensitive data and resources against unauthorized access and potential breaches but also offers a seamless user experience for end-users. This approach to privileged access management, combined with the flexibility and security of just-in-time access, positions Teleport as a leader in enabling organizations to adopt zero trust and secure privileged access effectively, ensuring that access to sensitive resources is tightly controlled, audited, and aligned with the modern cybersecurity landscape. Unliked traditional PAM solutions, which may require that all JIT requests be manually processed, Teleport offers a workflow configurable for auto-routing requests, automatic access reviews, and enforcement of dual authorization where required, which streamlines the administration and overhead of this key identity and access management capability.