Access control is a set of security measures that include physical and data protections that strengthen cybersecurity by managing the authentication of users to systems. It’s essential for any organization that relies on an internet connection to connect to customers, partners and internal resources, whether they’re on premises or in the cloud.
In its simplest form access control involves authenticating users by their credentials including pins, passwords and security tokens. They are then granted permission to access applications, files and resources, on-premises or in the cloud. To increase security, multifactor authentication can be used to verify a user’s identity in addition to their credentials.
While different access control models are available, they are all designed to provide the right balance of security and ease of use for authorized users. The more rigorous models, such as MAC are unable to access anyone who is not explicitly granted permission and RBAC eliminates discretion by determining the rights of a person based on their work position.
Whatever access control model is employed it’s crucial to have a comprehensive policy that follows best practices like need-to know and separation of duties, and requires passwords to be adequate in length and complexity to deter hackers. It’s also crucial to have a robust monitoring and reporting system which ensures that the relevant personnel are informed of any changes in permissions or vulnerabilities that could be uncovered. The system should also be simple to use, so that employees can’t bypass it, resulting in security holes that could be exploited by criminals.