Controlled access to data is essential for businesses that have private or confidential information. Any company that has employees connected to the internet must have robust access control measures in place. Daniel Crowley, IBM’s X Force Red team head of research, explains that access control is a means to restrict access to specific people and under certain conditions. There are two key components: authorization and authentication.

Authentication is the process of verifying that the person to whom you are trying to gain access to is who they say they are. It also involves the verification of passwords or other credentials that must be supplied prior to granting access to an application, network or file.

Authorization is the process of granting access to specific areas based upon specific roles within a company like engineering, HR, marketing and more. The most effective and common way to limit access is to use access control based on role. This type of access involves policies that determine the required information for certain tasks in business and assign permissions to appropriate roles.

If you have a standard access control policy it is much easier to monitor and control changes as they occur. It is essential that policies are clearly communicated with employees to make them aware of how to take care when handling sensitive information. It is also recommended to have a procedure in place for removing access to employees who quit the company, change their roles, or are terminated.