Computers & Technology

Four Common Access Control Challenges You Might Face

It can be surprising to learn that insider threat, whether intentional or unintentional, accounts for about 75% of security breaches. This means that the people that you trust most with your company’s data, be it employees or partners, could easily lead to a security breach. As they try to access your systems, some might use unsecured connections, open phishing emails and even expose their passwords to cybercriminals.

Access control can be a valuable tool when it comes to lowering the chances of a breach. By combining both authorization and authentication, you can ensure that anyone trying to access your data has the permission to see what they are looking for. While access control will help keep the bad guys away, the modern security landscape makes the task a little bit challenging.

Here are some few challenges that you might have to brave:

The Persistence Challenge

Although most security professionals agree that access control is paramount, not everyone is on the same page when it comes to applying it. Employees and other authorized individuals will typically access data from your servers and cloud application in their offices, coffee shops, homes and even on buses. Additionally, data is accessed on multiple devices including tablets, smartphones and smart speakers among other IOT devices.

For your access control policies to thrive in this dynamic world, you need to embrace consistency in your policies across all channels. Of course, some log analysis could help point out any vulnerability in your policies, but without consistency in how the policies are applied, one of the ignored devices or access environments could be a gateway for an attack.

The Authorization Challenge

Traditionally, high-profile security breaches resulted in passwords being sold on the dark web. This has led to security personnel paying attention to their authorization methods with both multifactor and biometrics-based authorization taking center stage, according to Tech Beacon. However, it is still possible to mess up in the process.

It can be a challenge to determine and constantly monitor aspects such as who has access to what systems, how they access them and under what conditions they can access the data. Weak authorization protocols can breed loopholes in your security strategy that need to be identified and done away with. The trick is to perpetually monitor your policies both to identify vulnerabilities and uphold compliance with your set policies.

Using Adaptive Dynamic Access Control Features

In case a breach only affects a single employee’s account, your access control strategies should account for a method in which you can isolate the affected account to avoid spreading harm to the rest of your organization. Similarly, your access control technologies should be dynamic enough to help in safeguarding your applications both in the private and public cloud environments.

Since your access control policies may change based on the risk factor, your technologies also need to adapt accordingly. One way to embrace flexible access control policies is to integrate your technologies with AI and machine learning. This way, threats can be identified in real time, and your systems can adapt to new changes.

Choosing the Best Access Control Model

Organizations have to choose the model that suits them most with regard to the sensitivity of their data and the data access requirements. Traditionally, mandatory access control (MAC) and discretionary access control (DAC) were the most common models. While MAC allowed access based on the level of clearance, DAC allowed access based on who the organization chooses to offer access to.

Today, role-based access control (RBAC) and attribute-based access control (ABAC) are the most common alternatives. RBAC governs access to a system based on the need for access according to the role of the requester while ABAC governs access depending on the attributes of the requester’s situation such as the time of day and location. You should choose a system that matches with your security goals.


Security optimization starts internally. The more control you have on data access, the easier it will be to steer away from insider security threats. Consider making the above adjustments to overcome the common access control challenges.