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Access Control – Definition, Importance, and Types

Access Control – Definition, Importance, and Types


Access control is a central data security component that commands who can access and use company information and resources. Through authentication & authorization, [access control] policies ensure users are who they say they are and have applicable access to the company’s data. [Access control] can also be practical to limit physical access to campuses, buildings, rooms & data centers.

Why is Access Control Important?

It keeps confidential information such as customer data, personally identifiable information, & intellectual property from any misuse. It’s a strategic component of the modern ‘No Trust’ security framework, which practices various mechanisms to verify access to the company network continuously.

Without vigorous access control policies, organizations risk data oozing out from both internal & external sources. Access control is essential for organizations with hybrid and multi-cloud environments, where resources, apps, and data reside both on-premises & in the cloud.

How Does it Work?

Access control detects users by authenticating various login credentials, including usernames & passwords, PINs, biometric scans & security tokens. Many Access Control systems also comprise Multifactor Authentication (MFA), which requires multiple authentication forms to validate a user’s identity.

Types of Access Controls:

There are four main types of access control that any organization chooses to put in place based on its requirements and the methods used:

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

[Role-Based Access Control is a conventionally well-known and common type of [access control]. The Role Based Access Control model allows possessors to assign access to the system based on well-defined user profiles. Such profiles are based on their roles as managers, temporary contractors, heads of departments, etc.

Business owners can generate custom profiles to modify employees’ access rights. Small and medium-sized businesses prefer Role-Based Access Control platforms due to the balance between control without requiring persistent oversight.

Mandatory access control (MAC)

In this imperative model, individuals are granted access based on the information clearance. A central authority controls access rights based on different safety & security levels. Furthermore, this model is standard in government & military environments.

Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC)

Attribute-Based Access Control curtails Role-Based Access Control, although it provides access control on a more finely detailed level. The Attribute-Based Access Control model allows application or line managers to use characteristics about the access request, entitlement, or user. The basis of these characteristics is the desired results for what identity will do with supposed access, the location of the request, the resource or system request, and more.

Discretionary Access Control (DAC)

In this method, the holder or administrator of the shielded system, data, or resource sets the policies for who is allowed access.


In conclusion, access control is a precarious component of modern security systems. It plays a significant role in safeguarding sensitive information, physical assets, and digital resources. Operative and effective access control measures ensure that only authorized individuals or entities gain entry to restricted areas or data, thus reducing the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches & security incidents.

Access control systems have advanced significantly, incorporating biometrics, smart cards, and multifactor authentication technologies to augment security. As the digital setting continues to evolve, the importance of robust access control mechanisms cannot be excessive. Organizations must invest in comprehensive access control strategies to protect their assets, preserve compliance, and strengthen overall security posture.

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