Access control is an integral part of security measures to protect sensitive resources, confidential information, or physical locations, such as computer systems, applications, customer data, networks, files, and intellectual property. At its core, the goal of all the types of access control is to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to physical and logical resources.
Having a robust access control system can save you from a lot of trouble. It protects your corporate data, employees, patrons, equipment, and other intangible assets without hassle. Moreover, there are several types of access control systems you can use in your residence or business facility, and some outperform others.
Here is an overview of the three basic types of access control systems, to help you determine which is best suited for your organization’s day-to-day operations.
Basic Types of Access Control Systems
Essentially, access control is concerned with the identification, authentication, and authorization of persons who try to access a facility, workstation, or resource objects. There are three basic types of access control systems: Discretionary Access Control (DAC), Mandatory Access Control (MAC), and Role-Based Access Control (RBAC).
Discretionary Access Control (DAC)
In Discretionary Access Control, the business owner decides who is allowed in a specific location, physically or digitally. Compared to other types of access control systems, DAC is the least restrictive and the most flexible, as access is essentially determined by the owner’s discretion. The major drawback to Discretionary Access Control is the lack of centralized control.
Mandatory Access Control (MAC)
Mandatory Access Control is a security model more commonly used in organizations that require a high level of confidentiality and classification of data – such as government offices and military institutions. In MAC, owners do not have a say in the entities having access to a unit or facility, instead, access rights are regulated by a central authority based on multiple levels of security. Fundamentally, access to resource objects is based on the information security clearance of the user or device.
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
Also called Rule-Based Access Control, RBAC is the most widely-used of all access control systems. It is highly sought-after in private residences and even in business facilities.
RBAC is a security model in which the security manager defines the rules and policies that govern access and privileges to resource objects. These rules are often based on certain conditions, such as time of day or location. With RBAC, the system administrator does not need to assign multiple individuals particular access but only has to assign access to specific job titles.
Choosing the Best Access Control System for Your Organization
When it comes to choosing the most appropriate type of access control system for your organization, are many important factors to consider. Some of these determining factors include the nature and size of your business, and corporate security procedures and policies.
In summary, small-scale businesses with basic resources and applications will most likely get by with Discretionary Access Control. However, large-scale organizations or those working with confidential or sensitive information and applications have to deploy Mandatory Access or Role-Based Access Control system to be on the safer side.
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