Access management is a must-have in companies. It provides the means for controlling who can access what systems and data and defining how users can access those resources. But that’s not to say access management is simple.
There are multiple ways of managing it, and each has its own pros and cons, depending on your needs. Here are a few interesting facts about how access management works:
The different kinds of access management methods are hierarchical, role-based, discretionary, and rule-based.
You may be familiar with some or all of these terms already; if you’re not, here’s a quick overview.
In a hierarchical environment, users are separated into groups (like departments) that have been assigned different levels of privilege. This method is best for companies with a well-established structure and many different employees with varied roles – think of an emerging tech company, where there are lots of entry-level engineers but only one or two CTOs at most.
Role-Based Access Management
The second kind of access management method is role-based. In a role-based system, user privileges are determined by their job title within the company; for example, an HR employee will have more ability to view employee data than an intern. A major benefit to this strategy is that it allows you to assign specific users certain abilities rather than share capabilities in common.
That makes managing who can do what very simple. Ideally, each person’s responsibilities will match up with their assigned roles, and authorization will be granted systematically. Yet because of the extent to which role-based access management method is dependent on work history, it’s not always feasible – especially if a company is still small.
Discretionary Access Management
Functionality then moves on to discretionary access management, which uses rules to determine who can do what in a system. These are very similar to permissions systems like those seen within file folders; each individual has their own set, and they’re used for specific actions requiring authorization.
Suppose you need employees to authorize their own badge purchases or reimbursements. In that case, this might be your best option – yet this flexibility also makes it more complex than hierarchical access management methods.
Finally comes rule-based access management, which is very similar to discretionary access management. It involves defining rules that govern the actions of users, for example, by determining who can use certain software or whether a transfer can be made electronically. The advantage here is that you have absolute control over the parameters – although this may also expose your business to risk if it’s not implemented well.
Rule-Based Access Management
If you know exactly what kind of delegated access you want in place, rule-based access management may be best for you; yet if your company is still growing, a role-based system with more structure might better suit its needs right now. Either way, though, both allow for some level of customizability while ensuring data and systems are secure and accessible only to those who need them.
The two most basic forms of access management are mandatory and discretionary. Mandatory access management dictates that users must follow a company’s security policy – without it, no one can have network access to any resources.
Discretionary access management is more open-ended; every user has their own set of permissions they can use at will, depending on what work they’re doing and how sensitive the data is. In either case, though, security should be a top priority. An improperly secured system allows for breaches in IT security, which can cost your business serious money down the line due to lost data or downtime – not to mention hurt its reputation as well!