Authorization and Access Control

Subject: Tech & Engineering
Pages: 8
Words: 2344
Reading time:
9 min
Study level: Bachelor

Introduction

System authentication is the verification of a user’s identification by a computer coordination. When a user asks access to a certain resource, authentication is required to ensure that the user’s identity is verified. Credentials, such as a username and password, are used to verify a person’s identity. If a company has a big number of employees, it might be difficult to tell who is a staff and who is not (Martin, 2019). Data security is ensured by authorization and access control, which keeps intruders and viruses at bay.

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What is Authorization and Access Control and why is it necessary?

Importance of protecting data

Authentication is the process of proving your identity and allowing other people to use your account. Your identity’s permissions are determined by an authorization policy. Once your identity is validated, you should only be allowed access to your own personal account information via the bank’s online service if your identity has been created and verified (for example, by creating a user name). Access controls, often known as permissions or privileges, are the mechanisms we employ to implement authorization regulations (Zorabedian, 2021). Permissions and privileges specify what a person or group is allowed to access.

It is possible to grant access to more than just a website or intranet. Identity groups that have the same permission policy as yours can contain an individual’s identity. Consider, for example, a database containing both consumer spending and a customer’s credit card details. In order for a marketing group to identify the most popular products to sell, a merchant could generate an authentication policy for this directory that would allow the marketing group gain entry to all consumer data but restrict access to customer passwords and personal information. Protecting data and computer systems from misuse and illegal access begins with properly configuring access privileges (Rathod, 2020). It is impossible to protect your data if you don’t have proper authorization and access control. The consequences might be dire if the system is not properly designed or maintained.

Potential Security Threats

Multi-factor authentication has become more important in the wake of recent high-profile data breaches, which have resulted in the sale of stolen login credentials on the dark web (Xu, et al., 2020). Organizations of all sizes confront a number of similar challenges when it comes to protecting sensitive data.

Accidental Exposure

In many cases, a data breach is not triggered by a hostile attack, but rather by the careless or inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information. There are several ways that an organization’s personnel may accidentally or maliciously disclose or provide access to, erase, or mishandle sensitive information (Xu, et al., 2020). In addition to staff education, other solutions like as data loss prevention (DLP) technologies and tighter access restrictions can help solve this critical issue.

Phishing and Social Engineering Attacks

Attackers utilize social engineering assaults as a key method of obtaining sensitive information. They entail deceiving or coercing someone into disclosing personal information or granting unauthorized access to restricted accounts. This type of social engineering is called phishing. Emails look to come from a reputable source, but are actually sent by a hacker (Xu, et al., 2020). As long as victims agree, for example by handing over their personal information or clicking on a malicious link, criminals can acquire access to their device or business network.

A company’s data may be at risk if an employee, either accidentally or deliberately, compromises the security of the company’s systems. Infecting business computers and encrypting data, ransomware is a type of virus that renders the data inaccessible without access to the decryption key (Yang, et al., 2020). Even when an attacker demands payment in exchange for the release of the key through a ransom note, victims’ data is still destroyed as a result.

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Requirements of the Regulatory Body

Many frameworks and rules have overlapping characteristics, making it difficult for businesses to keep up with them all. According to the regulations, businesses may strengthen their network security strategy by establishing a standard based on the type of data they store and on the industry they operate in. A data breach or significant fines might arise from non-compliance with certain requirements (Yang, et al., 2020). At the very least, most businesses are subject to a security rule. Understanding which rules and procedures must be in place in order to achieve compliance is a challenging task.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (IPAA) is a two-part bill. People who are changing employment or have been laid off have their healthcare benefits protected under Title I of the ACA. Health care data will be transferred electronically as a part of Title II of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Individual patients’ privacy is safeguarded in this way, too. Any company that handles clinical information is subject to this regulation. Not just doctors’ offices and hospitals, but also insurance firms and business partners and employers are included (Yang, et al., 2020). There are 12 guidelines in the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) aimed to combat fraud and secure customers’ credit card data. Companies that handle credit card information are subject to this rule. Non-public customer information must be protected by financial institutions under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GBLA), which is a federal statute. Private financial information must be protected under the Safeguards Rule, which mandates that financial institutions put in place security measures to keep such information safe, as well as the Financial Privacy Rule.

The Access Control Components

The CIA triad

Security practices are guided by the CIA triad, which is an acronym for confidentiality, integrity, and availability. A system of rules limiting who has access to information is known as confidentiality, while the term “integrity” refers to a guarantee that the data is reliable and correct, and the term “availability” refers to the fact that the data may be accessed by those with the proper permissions.

Authorization, Access, and Authentication

Three critical cyber security principles, authentication, authorization, and access control, are frequently misunderstood and used interchangeably. While the end user may think of these three processes as one, it is crucial to know the difference while developing a security framework (Qiu, et al., 2020). Verifying a user’s identity is part of the authentication process. A username and password are typically used in this verification procedure, however alternative techniques such as a Pin code, fingerprint scan, or smart card can also be used. The authorization procedure determines whether or not a user (who has previously been authenticated) is permitted access to the information.

Data security

The process of safeguarding company data and preventing its loss as a result of unwanted access is known as data security. This includes safeguarding your data against ransomware and other attempts that can encrypt or delete your data, as well as intrusions that can damage or change your data. Everyone in an organization with access to a piece of information is protected by data security (Yang, et al., 2020). Data protection rules in some businesses necessitate a high level of security. Healthcare businesses in the United States, for example, must comply with the HIPAA standard when it comes to protecting patient health information (PHI) stored in their systems. Data security is critical for contemporary businesses, regardless of whether or not they are subject to regulations or compliance standards. It can affect both the company’s most important assets and the private information of its customers.

Information Security

Protecting data through reducing information hazards is known as information security. It is a component of the management of information risk (Yang, et al., 2020). In most cases, it entails preventing or decreasing the risk of illegal access, or the illegitimate use, disclosure, interruption, deletion, corruption, alteration, inspection, retention, or depreciation of information.

Network Security

In order to keep you and your information safe, you need network security. Hardware and software, as well as procedures and configurations related to network use, availability, and overall threat prevention are all included in this phrase (Qiu, et al., 2020). Access control, malware and antivirus software, vulnerability scanning, network analytics, kinds of network-related safety (endpoint, online, wireless), proxy servers, VPN encrypting among others are all part of network security.

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Implementing Access Controls

In a computing context, implementing access controls means limiting who or what may access or utilize resources. When it comes to protecting businesses and organizations, this is an essential principle.

Categories of Access Control

Administrative

There are three main components to administering access control: policies and procedures, requirements for both physical and logical access control, as well the effects of non-compliance with these requirements. Some examples include a management structure, employee and contractor controls, categorization of information, training, inspection, and testing.

Logical

Controlling access to computer-based or logical data is known as “technical” or “logical” access control. Logical access control often refers to Confidentiality – ensuring that only those persons who should have access to anything have access to that data collection, keeping in mind the CIA of Information security (Confidentiality, Integrity, and Accessibility) (Qiu, et al., 2020). It restricts access to network resources, system files, and other data sources. Applications, interfaces, operating systems, encryption of data, and other techniques are all subject to its constraints.

Physical

Physical access control is essential for the safety of a company since it governs who has access to a certain location, such as a piece of property, a building, or a specific room. Many security measures may be found in the form of fencing, gated sections (fences and gates), doors and turnstiles, biometrics (face detection and fingerprints), CCTV cameras and security personnel to keep people out of particular parts of a facility (Yang, et al., 2020).

Types of User Access Models

An access model is used to identify and authenticate a person performing a certain function, and then only provide that person with the keys to the doors or workstations they require. Role-based access control (RBAC), discretionary access control (DAC), and managed access control (MAC) are the three types of access control methods available.

MAC

MAC is more frequently used in firms that place a high value on data privacy and security (that is, military institutions). Only the owner and caretaker have authority over access restrictions in a unit or facility, rather than the proprietors having a voice in who has access (Qiu, et al., 2020). This means that all users will be assigned a label that allows them to pass through security with specified rules.

DAC

It is the responsibility of the business owner to decide who is permitted access to a certain area, whether physically or digitally (Yang, et al., 2020). There are less restrictions with this one than with any of the others because it effectively gives the user total power over whatever things or programs they possess.

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RBAC

RBAC is the most often requested type of access control. RBAC has become a sought-after technology in the commercial sphere as well as in families. When using RBAC systems, the system administrator determines who has access to what information and how much authority they have depending on the subject’s position within the household or company. As a result, instead of appointing a security manager, the role already has access control rights allocated to it (Qiu, et al., 2020). RBAC simplifies security since it simply requires the system administrator to provide access to certain job titles, rather than providing access to various employees.

Solutions

Data security may be improved by implementing a variety of technologies and practices. One method will not enough, but a combination of the methods listed below can greatly enhance an organization’s security posture. Data is now stored in a variety of places, including servers, endpoints, and the cloud (Yang, et al., 2020). The first step in determining whether data is at danger of being stolen or abused is to have visibility over data flows. It is possible to tag files on interfaces, file servers and cloud storage systems so that you may apply the right security policies across the company.

For testing, training, and other uses that don’t need the usage of the real data, you may use data masking to produce a synthetic form of your organizational data. In order to preserve data while offering a viable alternative, the objective is to provide a solution. However, the data type is preserved in data masking. Either encrypted, shuffled, or substituted characters can be used to alter data in various ways (Qiu, et al., 2020). You must update the values and priorities that cannot be reverse-engineered, regardless of the approach you use.

Management of digital identities is made possible by IAM, a method, strategy, and technology foundation for businesses. Using IAM solutions, IT managers can restrict who has access to critical information in their firm (Yang, et al., 2020). SSO, two-factor verification, multi-factor authorization and privileged access control are all examples of IAM systems. Identity and personal data can be stored safely with the help of these technologies, which also assist governance by ensuring that the correct set of access regulations are enforced to all parts of the infrastructure.

It is possible to encode data in a way that makes it unreadable to the naked eye (ciphertext). The encrypted data can only be viewed or processed once it has been decrypted with the decryption key. There is no need to exchange the decryption key with public-key cryptography systems, as the transmitter and receiver both have their own key (Yang, et al., 2020). This is more secure by definition. Hackers can’t get their hands on important data if it’s encrypted. It is a requirement of many compliance requirements and a prerequisite for most security initiatives.

Conclusion

System verification is the confirmation of a user’s identification by a computer coordination. Data security is safeguarded by authorization and access control, which keeps invaders and viruses at bay. Access controls, often known as consents or privileges, are the mechanisms we employ to implement authorization guidelines. Data security may be enhanced by implementing a variety of skills and practices. The encrypted information can only be viewed or handled once it has been decrypted with the decryption key.

References

Rathod, Y. A. (2020). An access control and authorization model with open stack cloud for Smart Grid. ADCAIJ: Advances in Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence Journal, 9(3), 69-87. Web.

Xu, H., He, Q., Li, X., Jiang, B., & Qin, K. (2020). BDSS-FA: A blockchain-based data security sharing platform with fine-grained access control. IEEE Access, 8, 87552-87561. Web.

Yang, C., Tan, L., Shi, N., Xu, B., Cao, Y., & Yu, K. (2020). AuthPrivacyChain: A blockchain-based access control framework with privacy protection in cloud. IEEE Access, 8, 70604-70615. Web.

Qiu, J., Tian, Z., Du, C., Zuo, Q., Su, S., & Fang, B. (2020). A survey on access control in the age of internet of things. IEEE Internet of Things Journal, 7(6), 4682-4696. Web.

Yang, P., Xiong, N., & Ren, J. (2020). Data security and privacy protection for cloud storage: A survey. IEEE Access, 8, 131723-131740. Web.

Martin, J. A. (2019). What is access control? A key component of data security. CSO Online. Web.

Zorabedian, J. (2021). What’s new in the 2021 cost of a data breach report. Security Intelligence. Web.