What Is Access Control?

Access Control, When running a business, there are dozens of things that keep you busy. You need to worry about which marketing method to use, how to better reach your target market, how to get your cost of goods sold down and so much more.

However, one of the most important (if not the most important) is the security of your company. Despite security being a huge concern and source of investment for all businesses, more data breaches and hacks are taking place now than ever before. These can cost companies millions of dollars and the trust of their many users, and are generally not a fun thing to experience.

There are a variety of ways to help your business be as secure as possible, and this blog post is going to look at one, in particular, access control.

What is it?

It is when a company decides to selectively restrict the number of people who have access to a place or resource. It is a concept in security that looks to minimize risk to the business or organization. While hacks and cybercrimes do happen and can compromise data, it is actually a human error that leads to many of the breaches and other security incidents that companies experience. As a result, you need to be selective about who you authorize to view, change, or work with certain information and log data.

It comes in two varieties, physical or logical. Physical access control seeks to limit access to certain buildings, rooms, or campuses. For example, if you work for a law enforcement agency, there is a good chance you will require a key card or a special password to get into the building or certain rooms on the building.

Logical control is when a company will restrict access to a certain network or only allow certain people to access certain files and data. For example, only trained and qualified people might be allowed to look at private customer information.

This access can be controlled by the use of a PIN code being required to enter, fingerprint scanning, key cards or passwords. There are a variety of different options that companies can use, but they all seek to verify the user and confirm they are allowed access. So while there are two main varieties of access control, for the purpose of this blog post, we will be looking at logical access control.

The Different Types of Access Control:

So now that you have some basic information about what access control is, it’s time to learn about some of the different types of access control models.
These include (but are not limited to):

Discretionary  –
The owner of the data (or an administrator in charge of it) will set policies surrounding who is allowed to access the data. So it is essentially at their discretion.

Mandatory
Users don’t have a lot of say in who has access to their data or files, as it is usually a centralized authority in charge. This type of access control is often used in military and government.

Attribute-based  –
Access will be managed by evaluating a set of certain rules, conditions, and attributes.

Role-based
This method restricts access to computer resources based on groups with a certain business description. So instead of allowing or disallowing on a person-to-person basis, this will do so based on job title. So maybe an Engineer 1 won’t have access, but an Engineer 2 or 3 will.

Why is it Beneficial?

Armed with the knowledge of what access control is, why is it so important and why should you care? Well, first of all, it can help beef up the overall security of your operation. The fewer people that have access to sensitive information, the lower the chance that someone mishandles it or accidentally leaks or forgets their credentials.

However, an increase in your security isn’t the only reason that access control is beneficial or a good idea to have. Utilizing access control can also help you remain compliant. Certain industries have rules surrounding compliance and controlling who has access to certain private and sensitive information is normally a big part of that compliance.

In conclusion, hopefully this article has helped you understand what access control and why it is important for your company. Nearly every company both connects to the internet and deals with some semblance of sensitive information and data, so no matter what industry your company is in, access control is something you should take very seriously.

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