If your company is involved in information that is classified as confidential or proprietary, controlled access to that information is vital. Anyone who has employees that connect to the internet must have strong access control measures in place. In its most basic form, access control is a selective restriction of information to certain individuals and under certain conditions, says Daniel Crowley, head of research for IBM’s X Force Red team, which is focused on data security. There are two main components: authentication and authorization.

Authentication is the process of confirming that the person you’re trying to gain access is who they claim to be. It also includes the verification the password or other credentials required before allowing access a network, an application, system or file.

Authorization refers to the granting of access to a specific job function within the company such as engineering, HR or marketing. Role-based access control (RBAC) is one of the most popular and effective methods to restrict access. This kind of access involves policies that define the information needed to carry out certain business functions and assign permissions to the appropriate roles.

If you have a well-defined access control policy, it can be easier to manage and monitor changes as they occur. It is essential to ensure that the policies are clearly communicated to employees to ensure the proper handling of sensitive information, and to establish procedures for revocation of access when an employee leaves the company and/or changes their job or is terminated.

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