Who Has Access to your Company Data?

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Whether you own a business, are an individual or are part of a Government sector, chances are you have faced the common challenge of keeping across when, where and who has access to your company data.

Although we live in a time in which information has never been easier to access and collaboration online has never been easier to organise and manage, we still need to remain proactive and vigilant regarding enabling our employees to access company data.

So, “how do I achieve peace of mind?” you might be asking. The answer begins with something called access control. Simply put, access control is a process of confirming that users are who they say they are. As a result, they are given access to only the necessary data they require to carry out the key responsibilities of their role.

Access control comprises two primary components being authentication and authorisation. Now, you may be thinking that these two components are much the same, however, this is a common misconception made by many. 

What is Authentication?

Authentication is a technique used when carrying out verification methods to confirm the user’s identity. Examples include multi-factor authentication in which users are required to provide two or more verification factors to gain access (i.e. randomly generated shortcodes across two devices) or an increasingly popular method, being facial recognition of the user.

What is Authorisation?

Authorisation is much more straightforward and is more of an internal process. Once users have passed the authentication step, the documentation and data access is confirmed in the organisation’s back end. The employee is granted permission to view and edit only what is necessary. For example, suppose your marketing team wishes to access company data. In that case, you will most likely want to give them access to marketing materials, branding guidelines, marketing budget planning templates, and collaboration documents between teams relating to campaign strategy and execution.

It would be no use giving your employees access to the company’s financial or operational documents as not only is it irrelevant to their role, but the larger the number of employees who have access to sensitive documentation, the greater the likelihood a phishing attempt reaches one of them.

So What’s The Bottom Line?

However you and your organisation choose to implement access control is up to you, however, regardless of the initiative, you need to constantly monitor how it is being delivered both concerning your company security policy and operationally to discover and be proactive in finding any security holes.

As we continue to shift into a World without borders, traditional office correspondence and face-to-face contact, your network’s access and company data practices must remain dynamic and fluid by supporting user identity and various application-based use cases.

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