What Does the Term Access Control Mean? – Access Control Explained

In the IT environment, there are many jobs and training sessions related to access control for engineers.

What is Access control?

Access control is a process of limiting access to a system’s physical or virtual resources, who can view resources or use them.  Access control is a fundamental concept to reduce risk in the business or organization because users have granted access and certain privileges to systems, resources, or information in the computing environment.

See a simple example of access control in this video below:

What are the two types of access control? There are two types of access control Physical access control and logical access control.

Physical access control is necessary for protecting unauthorized access into buildings, files, folders, and other hardware stuff. Logical access involves passwords and other check tools used for protecting online or offline software from unauthorized access. Logical access control is used for safeguarding informational systems. 

Logical control access:

Many offices restrict the use of pen drives, mobile phones, and similar devices to manifest security standards. Access control credentials require a PIN, passwords, security tokens, and biometrics into account. Multilayer security having two or more authentication factors is a crucial part of access control systems. 

Below you can see the full access control training and access controls and security mechanisms:

Why is it essential to control data access?

Access control prevents unprecedented access to sensitive data and information. It is also essential to maintain the clauses of privacy promised to customers. Organizations usually have systems to prevent access to computer systems, networks, files, personally identifiable information (PII), applications, and sensitive data. 

Access controls are complicated, and it’s often complicated to manage on-premise systems and cloud services. After several beaches have been recorded, the users have shifted from single sign-on (SSO) to unified access management. Access control systems offer a cloud environment and access controls on-premises. 

How do access control works?

Let us explain how access control protects data. The security controls check an individual’s identity by a set of authorization measures that confirm the individual’s identity. Lightweight directory access protocol, IP address, security assertion markup language (SAML), and web servers are significant parts of the security processes. Different organizations have multiple ways to protect their security and compliance levels. Without authentication and authorization, there is no data security.

Various types of Access Controls 

The crucial models of access controls are: 

  1. Discretionary access control: DAC is setting up guidelines to limit the propagation of access rights. The only drawback of this model is the lack of centralized control. 
  2. Role-based access control: It is the most popular access control model where rules are set up in groups or individuals. The access rights are given based on roles within the organization—executive-level, engineer level, etc. 
  3. Rule-based access control: It is a rule which governs access to resource objects. The rules are laid based on the location, time, and position of the employee. 
  4. Attribute-based access control: A set of rules for users’ attributes, environmental conditions, and systems is attribute-based access control. 

How to implement access control?

The system administrators can set up access control. They set permissions on who can access what and also add new members to the framework. Most employees are rewarded access based on the functions and roles they will perform. This keeps clarity and smooth functioning intact. 

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Crucial challenges of access control 

Access control requires keeping track of things logically and physically. Some of the crucial examples of access control are: 

  1. Managing a distributed IT environment.
  2. Unwanted passwords.
  3. Consistent reporting of compliance visibility.
  4. Racking the directories.
  5. Continuous visibility and data governance.

Access Control Software

There are many software and technologies for managing access control. They are in the form of hardware, software, or in the cloud. It can also be a hybrid of both forms. The tools may be designed to control access for employees or outside customers. Some of the most popular access management tools are: 

  1. Password management tools
  2. provisioning tools
  3. identity repositories
  4. security policy enforcement tools

IBM, Adaptive, or Okta are popular vendors for access control management software. Microsoft’s active directory(AD) is another major vendor with all the single platform tools. 

Igor Milosevic
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