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    Difference between Authentication and Authorization

    Authentication and authorization are often used interchangeably but they are separate processes used to protect an organization from cyber-attacks. Learn more.

    What Is the Difference Between Authentication and Authorization?

    Access Management

    July 19, 2021 • 2 minute read

    While authentication and authorization are often used interchangeably, they are separate processes used to protect an organization from cyber-attacks. As data breaches continue to escalate in both frequency and scope, authentication and authorization are the first line of defense to prevent confidential data from falling into the wrong hands. As a result, strong authentication and authorization methods should be a critical part of every organization’s overall security strategy.

    Authentication vs. Authorization

    So, what is the difference between authentication and authorization? Simply put, authentication is the process of verifying who someone is, whereas authorization is the process of verifying what specific applications, files, and data a user has access to. The situation is like that of an airline that needs to determine which people can come on board. The first step is to confirm the identity of a passenger to make sure they are who they say they are. Once a passenger’s identity has been determined, the second step is verifying any special services the passenger has access to, whether it’s flying first-class or visiting the VIP lounge.

    In the digital world, authentication and authorization accomplish these same goals. Authentication is used to verify that users really are who they represent themselves to be. Once this has been confirmed, authorization is then used to grant the user permission to access different levels of information and perform specific functions, depending on the rules established for different types of users.

    Authentication Authorization

    Authentication verifies who the user is. Authorization determines what resources a user can access.

    Authentication works through passwords, one-time pins, biometric information, and other information provided or entered by the user. Authorization works through settings that are implemented and maintained by the organization.

    Authentication is the first step of a good identity and access management process. Authorization always takes place after authentication.

    Authentication is visible to and partially changeable by the user. Authorization isn’t visible to or changeable by the user.

    Example: By verifying their identity, employees can gain access to an HR application that includes their personal pay information, vacation time, and 401K data. Example: Once their level of access is authorized, employees and HR managers can access different levels of data based on the permissions set by the organization.

    Common Authentication Methods

    While user identity has historically been validated using the combination of a username and password, today’s authentication methods commonly rely upon three classes of information:

    What you know: Most commonly, this is a password. But it can also be an answer to a security question or a one-time pin that grants user access to just one session or transaction.

    What you possess: This could be a mobile device or app, a security token, or digital ID card.

    What you are: This is biometric data such as a fingerprint, retinal scan, or facial recognition.

    Oftentimes, these types of information are combined using multiple layers of authentication. For example, a user may be asked to provide a username and password to complete an online purchase. Once that’s confirmed, a one-time pin may be sent to the user’s mobile phone as a second layer of security. Combining multiple authentication methods with consistent authentication protocols, organizations can ensure security as well as compatibility between systems.

    Common Authorization Methods

    Once a user is authenticated, authorization controls are then applied to ensure users can access the data they need and perform specific functions such as adding or deleting information—based on the permissions granted by the organization. These permissions can be assigned at the application, operating system, or infrastructure levels. Two common authorization techniques include:

    Role-based access controls (RBAC): This authorization method gives users access to information based on their role within the organization. For example, all employees within a company may be able to view, but not modify, their personal information such as pay, vacation time, and 401K data. Yet HR managers may be given access to all employees’ HR information with the ability to add, delete, and change this data. By assigning permissions according to each person’s role, organizations can ensure every user is productive, while limiting access to sensitive information.

    Attribute-based access control (ABAC): ABAC grants users permissions on a more granular level than RBAC using a series of specific attributes. This may include user attributes such as the user’s name, role, organization, ID, and security clearance. It may include environmental attributes such as the time of access, location of the data, and current organizational threat levels. And it may include resource attributes such as the resource owner, file name, and level of data sensitivity. ABAC is a more complex authorization process than RBAC designed to further limit access. For example, rather than allowing all HR managers in an organization to change employees’ HR data, access can be limited to certain geographical locations or hours of the day to maintain tight security limits.

    स्रोत : www.sailpoint.com

    Authentication vs. Authorization: What’s the Difference?

    Understand the differences and similarities between authentication and authorization.


    Authentication vs. Authorization

    Authentication and authorization are two vital information security processes that administrators use to protect systems and information. Authentication verifies the identity of a user or service, and authorization determines their access rights. Although the two terms sound alike, they play separate but equally essential roles in securing applications and data. Understanding the difference is crucial. Combined, they determine the security of a system. You cannot have a secure solution unless you have configured both authentication and authorization correctly.

    What is Authentication (AuthN)?

    Authentication (AuthN) is a process that verifies that someone or something is who they say they are. Technology systems typically use some form of authentication to secure access to an application or its data. For example, when you need to access an online site or service, you usually have to enter your username and password. Then, behind the scenes, it compares the username and password you entered with a record it has on its database. If the information you submitted matches, the system assumes you are a valid user and grants you access. System authentication in this example presumes that only you would know the correct username and password. It, therefore, authenticates you by using the principle of something only you would know.

    What is the Purpose of Authentication?

    The purpose of authentication is to verify that someone or something is who or what they claim to be. There are many forms of authentication. For example, the art world has processes and institutions that confirm a painting or sculpture is the work of a particular artist. Likewise, governments use different authentication techniques to protect their currency from counterfeiting. Typically, authentication protects items of value, and in the information age, it protects systems and data.

    What is Identity Authentication?

    Identity authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user or service. Based on this information, a system then provides the user with the appropriate access. For example, let's say we have two people working in a coffee shop, Lucia and Rahul. Lucia is the coffee shop manager while Rahul is the barista. The coffee shop uses a Point of Sale (POS) system where waiters and baristas can place orders for preparation. In this example, the POS would use some process to verify Lucia or Rahul's identity before allowing them access to the system. For instance, it may ask them for a username and password, or they may need to scan their thumb on a fingerprint reader. As the coffee shop needs to secure access to its POS, employees using the system need to verify their identity via an authentication process.

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    Common Types of Authentication

    Systems can use several mechanisms to authenticate a user. Typically, to verify your identity, authentication processes use: - something you know - something you have - or something you are

    Passwords and security questions are two authentication factors that fall under the something-you-know category. As only you would know your password or the answer to a particular set of security questions, systems use this assumption to grant you access.

    Another common type of authentication factor uses something you have. Physical devices such as USB security tokens and mobile phones fall under this category. For example, when you access a system, and it sends you a One Time Pin (OTP) via SMS or an app, it can verify your identity because it is your device.

    The last type of authentication factor uses something you are. Biometric authentication mechanisms fall under this category. Since individual physical characteristics such as fingerprints are unique, verifying individuals by using these factors is a secure authentication mechanism.

    What is Authorization (AuthZ)?

    Authorization is the security process that determines a user or service's level of access. In technology, we use authorization to give users or services permission to access some data or perform a particular action. If we revisit our coffee shop example, Rahul and Lucia have different roles in the coffee shop. As Rahul is a barista, he may only place and view orders. Lucia, on the other hand, in her role as manager, may also have access to the daily sales totals. Since Rahul and Lucia have different jobs in the coffee shop, the system would use their verified identity to provide each user with individual permissions. It is vital to note the difference here between authentication and authorization. Authentication verifies the user (Lucia) before allowing them access, and authorization determines what they can do once the system has granted them access (view sales information).

    Common Types of Authorization

    Authorization systems exist in many forms in a typical technology environment. For example, Access Control Lists (ACLs) determine which users or services can access a particular digital environment. They accomplish this access control by enforcing allow or deny rules based on the user's authorization level. For instance, on any system, there are usually general users and super users or administrators. If a standard user wants to make changes that affect its security, an ACL may deny access. On the other hand, administrators have the authorization to make security changes, so the ACL will allow them to do so.

    स्रोत : www.onelogin.com

    Authentication vs. Authorization

    Explore the differences between authentication and authorization.

    Authentication vs. Authorization

    While often used interchangeably, authentication and authorization represent fundamentally different functions. In this article, we compare and contrast the two to show how they protect applications in complementary ways.

    What are authentication and authorization?

    In simple terms, authentication is the process of verifying who a user is, while authorization is the process of verifying what they have access to.

    Comparing these processes to a real-world example, when you go through security in an airport, you show your ID to authenticate your identity. Then, when you arrive at the gate, you present your boarding pass to the flight attendant, so they can authorize you to board your flight and allow access to the plane.

    Authentication vs. authorization

    Here's a quick overview of the differences between authentication and authorization:

    Authentication Authorization

    Determines whether users are who they claim to be Determines what users can and cannot access

    Challenges the user to validate credentials (for example, through passwords, answers to security questions, or facial recognition) Verifies whether access is allowed through policies and rules

    Usually done before authorization Usually done after successful authentication

    Generally, transmits info through an ID Token Generally, transmits info through an Access Token

    Generally governed by the OpenID Connect (OIDC) protocol Generally governed by the OAuth 2.0 framework

    Example: Employees in a company are required to authenticate through the network before accessing their company email Example: After an employee successfully authenticates, the system determines what information the employees are allowed to access

    In short, access to a resource is protected by both authentication and authorization. If you can't prove your identity, you won't be allowed into a resource. And even if you can prove your identity, if you are not authorized for that resource, you will still be denied access.

    स्रोत : auth0.com

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