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Access Control in Computer Network

Access control is a security strategy that controls who or what can view or utilize resources in a computer system. It is a fundamental security concept that reduces risk to the company or organization. In this article, we are going to discuss every point about access control.

What is Access Control?

Access Control is a method of limiting access to a system or resources. Access control refers to the process of determining who has access to what resources within a network and under what conditions. It is a fundamental concept in security that reduces risk to the business or organization. Access control systems perform identification, authentication, and authorization of users and entities by evaluating required login credentials that may include passwords, pins, bio-metric scans, or other authentication factors. Multi-factor authentication requires two or more authentication factors, which is often an important part of the layered defense to protect access control systems.

Authentication Factors

For computer security, access control includes the authorization, authentication, and audit of the entity trying to gain access. Access control models have a subject and an object.

Components of Access Control

How Access Control Works?

Access control involves determining a user based on their credentials and then providing the appropriate level of access once confirmed. Credentials are used to identify and authenticate a user include passwords, pins, security tokens, and even biometric scans. Multifactor authentication (MFA) increases security by requiring users to be validated using more than one method. Once a user’s identity has been verified, access control policies grant specified permissions, allowing the user to proceed further. Organizations utilize several access control methods depending on their needs.

Types of Access Control

Different access control models are used depending on the compliance requirements and the security levels of information technology that is to be protected. Basically access control is of 2 types:

Challenges of Access Control

Types of Authentication Mechanism

Difference between Authentication and Authorization



Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user.

Authorization determines the extent of access to the network and what type of services and resources are accessible by the authenticated user.

It is done before the authorization process.

While this process is done after the authentication process.

It needs usually the user’s login details.

While it needs the user’s privilege or security levels.

The authentication credentials can be changed in part as and when required by the user.

The authorization permissions cannot be changed by user as these are granted by the owner of the system and only he/she has the access to change it.

Authentication determines whether the person is user or not.

While it determines What permission does the user have?

The user authentication is visible at user end.

The user authorization is not visible at the user end.

The user authentication is identified with username, password, face recognition, retina scan, fingerprints, etc. 

The user authorization is carried out through the access rights to resources by using roles that have been pre-defined.


Access control is an essential part of computer networks. They contribute to limiting access to network resources and preventing unauthorized access. Firewalls, biometric authentication, password policies, RBAC, ABAC, MFA, VPNs, intrusion detection systems, and data encryption are examples of access control measures. Organisations can assure network security and protect themselves from security threats by using access control.

Frequently Asked Question on Access Control – FAQs

What is the role of access control lists (ACLs) in network security?

Access control list is a set of rules defined for controlling network traffic and reducing network attacks. ACLs are used to filter traffic based on the set of rules defined for the incoming or outgoing of the network

What are some best practices for implementing access control?

Some best practice for implementing access control are User Identification, Authentication, Auditing and Monitoring etc.

What are some challenges in access control implementation?

Some challenges include Policy management, Excessive permissions and exceptions, Monitoring and reporting, Access control models.

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