User role and access management manage who can view and edit information within a software platform. This allows teams to collaborate effectively while maintaining control of sensitive information.
A variety of systems can perform this process. The most common methods include RBAC, ABAC, and PBAC.
The user access management roles and responsibilities are about more than just assigning permission levels individually. Instead, companies often grant users access to company assets through group roles based on their job functions and responsibilities. These role-based policies make it easier to monitor the activity of users as well as eliminate error-prone manual processes.
In addition, granting permissions by role type rather than individually saves user provisioning and de-provisioning time. Roles also allow companies to define, monitor and limit user access to company files and applications at scale and to meet regulatory security and privacy compliance requirements.
Identifying, discovering, and bringing under management privileged accounts, credentials, and assets is another key component of an IAM solution. These might include local administrative accounts, domain admin accounts, root (Unix/Linux) accounts, sysadmin (Windows) accounts, application and database accounts, directories, servers, software, hardware devices, services/daemons, and firewalls.
Privileged account and session management solutions should monitor these privileged accounts for suspicious activities such as brute force attacks, password spraying, social engineering, etc. They must also record and track privileged activity to establish baselines of normal behavior and alert to deviations that meet pre-defined risk thresholds. This data should also be integrated with other risk data to provide a three-dimensional view of privilege risks in the context of overall security risks.
As the name implies, permissions grant access to a resource such as a file, folder, or project. Admins use them to define user rights and provide the correct privileges for each role in the system. For example, a user with full access can modify projects and folders, add tags, edit tasks, delete tasks and users, create groups, and more. The type of access a company selects will depend on its need for flexibility and granularity with user access management.
Inheritance allows permissions to be automatically inherited by objects within a container, such as a folder or a project. This simplifies the administration process since administrators don’t need to assign each object’s permissions individually. Inheritable permissions are marked as such in the permissions window.
It’s important to differentiate permissions from privileges. Many people mistakenly assume that permissions and privileges are linked, but this is not true. The authorization server grants applications scopes based on the user’s privileges, and the application can only exercise those granted privileges.
User role and access management (user permissions) allow companies to grant users permissions based on their specific roles. This approach helps reduce the risk of unauthorized actions and ensures that users have the minimum privileges necessary to perform their jobs well. It also saves companies time in user provisioning and de-provisioning, provides a clearer view of what each employee can access, and ensures compliance with data privacy and security regulations.
For example, a company may set access permissions for a network firewall based on job function and department. A sales rep would need access to the firewall configurations, but a junior-level security analyst would.
Other types of user access management include flat role-based access control (RBAC), hierarchical RBAC, and policy-based access control. These methods differ in their level of granularity and flexibility, but all have the same goal: to provide each individual with the minimum access required for their role. RBAC is the most basic and straightforward type of access management. It gives each person a pre-defined access role based on static factors, such as office location, job title, and department. Hierarchical RBAC is more advanced, granting higher-level employees the same permissions as their subordinates. Policy-based access control is more flexible and provides more fine-grained controls, such as geographic or time-based access.
Role-based access control and authorizations are the tools that ensure people have the privileges they need to perform their jobs effectively. This is done by setting permission levels at the role level so that when a change happens, it impacts all users with that specific role.
For example, a reviewer’s access to a software suite could be changed so that they can see everything but edit nothing. This would impact every person who has been assigned the reviewer role in that particular software.
A streamlined process: When permission levels are externalized, admins can manage the entire user management chart from one location. This reduces the time and effort needed to modify permission levels across multiple systems, applications, and microservices.
Increased security: As a result, fewer passwords must be managed, and less sensitive information is vulnerable to breaches. It also minimizes the impact if a breach does happen by limiting the “blast radius” of the damage.
A centralized system also makes it easier to meet regulatory compliance by providing audit trails, monitoring and alerts, and secure storage of all access data. Moreover, some UAM solutions enable you to integrate this access information with other systems and tools. For instance, many allow you to quickly view a list of all users and the apps they can use in your organization.