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Having absolute control over system access is one of the most common ways for your cybersecurity team to work more effectively. But using a robust access control system  that best fits your operations – whether from a major vendor such as Microsoft or a third-party tool such as Okta – can be a challenge, especially when different employees need varying levels of authorization. Either way, it is necessary to lower the risks of security breaches and fraud.

Different types of security systems can be integrated into a company’s operations, and it is essential to understand how they work. This means getting a deeper understanding of access control policies and meeting the needed requirements for ISC2 and other certifications.

What is Access Control?

Access control systems deliver basic security features that regulate user permissions. They grant authorized individuals to grant specific tasks to a user, which resources they can have access to, and what certain operations they can execute. They make use of technologies such as passwords, biometrics, and security certificates, among others. This is considered one of the most important processes in your organization that help minimize the risks of identity theft and fraud, credential theft, and ransomware attacks.

More commonly, this is powered by electronic control systems that rely on factors such as key cards, access codes, or biometric data. Some systems may also use a combination of these security keys before a user can be authorized to access your network. 

The Three (3) A’s (and One I) of Access Control

Access control systems are a fundamental part of any organization’s identity proofing system. Depending on the software or tool, the process is triggered when a person attempts to identify themselves in the system. Then, your network will perform system checks and grant access if a user is authorized.

Depending on the arranged limits, you can make changes to the information available and perform other necessary actions.

To better understand access control, we can take a deeper look into the four basic elements—identification, authentication, authorization, and accountability—and how they make the framework of this fundamental security feature.

Identification 

Identification is the starting point, where the users provide information about their identity. Today’s systems use authentication factors like fingerprint, retinal, or facial scans, which can be used to validate them in the system. Typically, identification is done by assigning a username.

The process establishes a unique user that aims to provide accountability whenever they use the system.

Authentication

Authentication focuses on users providing proof of identity before being granted access to the system. Verification, which ideally is a multi-factor authentication process, proves that they are who they claim to be. Entering a password, using a digital or physical key, and providing a biometric measure for accuracy are some of the ways to do this effectively.

Authorization

The authorization stage is where pre-set permissions are granted to users who’ve proven their identity’s authenticity. A reference monitor or authorization matrix stores and provides control information, mediating access to users and deciding what level of clearance should be granted.

For example, a new employee may not have the same access levels as a department manager or team lead, and all team members throughout an organization can have varying access to specific resources and functions. 

Accountability or Audit 

The final factor of the access control system is accountability or audit. In this stage, your system can provide logs for auditing of permissions and use. This way, if something goes wrong, you can trace what happened, including what data is accessed or retrieved and the total duration of each task.

By actively tracking these factors, you can easily detect suspicious activity take the necessary actions immediately. This will help you improve your processes and lower the risks of data breaches.

Utilizing Access Control Systems

Security is one of the most critical aspects of organizations that manage massive amounts of data. However, the access control systems established should also provide a user-friendly process that can ease your operations and help your workers handle information more efficiently. 

To help enhance your system to a more secure network and improve access control, talk to the experts at Q5id. Our biometric multi-factor authentication strategy follows a user-friendly process that incorporates highly secure authentication in our identity management solutions. Schedule a demo now to learn more about our authentication solutions.

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