The Importance Of Access Control In Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks can expose sensitive information about employees, customers, and financial assets. Protecting these assets through access control can reduce a business’s risk of a data breach and the impact of one in the event of a cyberattack. Physical and logical access control systems work to limit who can access what information. This helps mitigate the risk of lateral movement within an organization, a common tactic for attackers.

Access Control In Cybersecurity


Access control is a security framework that limits users’ access to data, networks, and devices by verifying their identity. It consists of two main components: authentication and authorization. Authentication checks whether an individual is who they claim to be; the commission determines what they can do with the data, including read, write, and delete.

It’s essential to consider the importance of access control in cybersecurity because malicious actors can steal information from companies’ networks if they are not adequately protected. A lack of access controls also increases the risk of compliance issues such as HIPAA or PCI DSS requirements violations.

Authentication can be achieved through multiple methods, such as passwords, pins, security tokens, and biometric scans. Multifactor authentication (MFA) adds another layer of security by requiring more than one verification method. Once a user’s identity has been verified, access control policies determine their permission level and when they should be granted.

There are several different types of access control models, including Access Control Lists (ACL), Role-Based Access Control policies (RBAC), and Discretionary Access Control (DAC). These systems use rules and procedures to determine an object’s accessibility based on users’ identities, roles, methods, and environmental conditions. Organizations must choose the appropriate model based on data sensitivity and operational needs.


Authentication is the core component of access control that formalizes who is allowed to use certain apps, data, and resources in your business. It consists of two parts: verification, which checks to see if the user is who they say they are, and authorization, which determines whether the user should have access to specific assets based on their privilege level.

Without strong authentication, a cyber attack could be successful. To prevent this, organizations should invest in systems that verify the identity of users attempting to log in. This includes various authentication methods, such as biometrics (like fingerprints or iris scans) and security questions. It also contains rules prohibiting access during specific times of the day or week and requiring password changes and device wipes.

Access control is essential for any organization whose employees connect to the internet. This is especially true for companies outside the office, such as those using VPNs to give remote workers secure network access. It also helps meet compliance regulations like HIPAA and Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2), which require businesses to have strict policies around customer data that anyone can access. Without solid access controls, malicious actors could gain access to that data, leading to a massive data breach.


When it comes to protecting your business, access control is a critical component. Physical access control limits entry to campuses, buildings, and rooms, while logical access controls limit connections to computer networks, system files, and data. With robust access control policies, your business can avoid confidential information falling into the wrong hands.

Access control solutions verify identities and grant permissions based on specific rules, roles, and relationships to minimize this risk. They do this by using a combination of authentication and authorization. Authentication verifies that the entity seeking access is who they claim to be, while authorization determines whether or not they should have access to that information, he adds.

For example, a sales employee will have access to systems that enable them to do their jobs but will need access to backend servers or software IT uses to manage the company network. This security strategy, known as the principle of least privilege, helps ensure employees can access only what they need to do their jobs, reducing the surface area for attacks.

Access control can be categorized as Discretionary Access Control (DAC) or Mandatory Access Control (MAC). In a DAC model, the owner of the data sets access policy. In a MAC model, the security administrator enforces access control through rules and relationships that specify who can do what and when.


Once an authenticated user has been granted access to your system, it’s time to determine the permissions they are allowed to have. This part of security is called authorization and is the key to protecting your business from cyberattacks and keeping sensitive data out of the wrong hands.

A common way to control permissions is through a role-based model known as RBAC, which grants access based on an employee’s position within your company. This can help prevent employees from having unauthorized access to sensitive data unrelated to their job. It’s also possible to use attribute-based access control models, which grant access based on an individual’s location or environmental conditions.

Access Control In Cybersecurity

These controls are necessary because hackers often use stolen credentials to gain entry into your system and then attack from there. They can do more damage if they have privileged credentials and are harder to track. For example, if a hacker has the login for an admin account, they can do things like delete files, run ransomware and even access user email to send spam.

In addition to network access control, a physical security plan also uses access control to restrict physical access to systems, data, and other assets. This can be accomplished through various methods, including passwords, pins, security tokens, biometric scans, and other tools.