There are a lot of interesting technical terminologies we come across when browsing through the internet. A lot of these are pretty self-explanatory and are used in ways that ensure the context is enough to explain the meaning of those terminologies without the reader having to explicitly look up any of these terms.

Although, most of these have much more nuance and intricate meanings hidden inside the generic-sounding words that represent the terms. We will look at two such detailed technical terminologies – Authentication and Authorization.

Authentication and Authorization are both related yet distinguishable identity validation processes that are used in the domain of Identity and Access Management (IAM). Authentication identifies a user whereas Authorization gives a user appropriate grants considering user privilege.

 

Simply put – Authentication is the “Identity” and Authorization is the “Access” of “Identity and Access Management” (IAM).

 

What is Authentication?

Authentication is the process that identifies the identity of an oncoming user. This is the root step of all of Identity Management.

Identification of identity is simple – a set of credentials are accepted from a user and he/she is authenticated if those credentials are correct.

Sometimes, there can be another layer to this authentication, and the user might need to pass through a more complex but secure authentication process than just simple credentials passing – this may include a time bound OTP, a set of questions, a hardware token, biometrics etc.

Here is a list of multiple Authentication methods which miniOrange supports –

  1. OTP over SMS / Email
  2. Google / Microsoft / miniOrange Authenticator
  3. Yubikey Hardware Token
  4. Soft Tokens
  5. Push Notifications
  6. Out of band SMS / Email
  7. OTP over a voice call
  8. Security Questions

 

What is Authorization?

Authorization is the process that determines what level of access a user will get to critical resources of the organization. Authorization encircles upon the role of an individual within an organization or a group. Considering an example, the employee who belongs to the Accounts and Finance team will be authorized to only Account-related tools and applications, and not to the Sales and Business-related tools. 

Authorization of a user is very important, as most web resources today are to be selectively shared amongst user bases, and most online business models also run this way. That is the reason why it is one of the most crucial steps when talking about access management.

Authorization can only be granted after Authentication.

 

 

Authentication vs Authorization

 

Difference between Authentication and Authorization

Authentication and Authorization are widely known for their similarities, as they fall under the same umbrella of Identity and Access Management (IAM) processes, but they are often misunderstood for their differences.

Consider this scenario –

When a college student walks into their campus, they have to showcase their identity card at the gate to get authenticated as a student of the institution.

When the student is authenticated, they walk towards their pre-allocated building, towards their floor and their classroom. This is where Authorization is in play, the student does not have access to the professor’s cabin or the principal’s office. 

This is the difference between authentication and authorization.
Authentication works by directly engaging systems with their users and enabling transactions of credentials between the two.

Authorization works by preloaded configurations within the system and how they internally interact with the identities of all users.

 

Implementing Authentication and Authorization – Identity and Access Management (IAM) with miniOrange

We have seen the little differences as well as the big markers that identify Authentication, Authorization, and their workings. We also looked at the flow in which both of these technical concepts are usually implemented to ensure a more efficient path towards our end goal – which is internet security.

 

Aside from the regular ways of implementing Authentication, there are more specialized ways where Authentication and Authorization come into frame when considering security in Identity and Access Management (IAM).  

  1. Single Sign-On : SSO is a fantastic solution to easily reduce time and costs for accessing various interrelated resources on the internet. SSO is used by internet users across the globe to increase security and efficiency.
  2. Multi Factor Authentication : MFA is an exceptional security measure all internet users can take to drastically increase their account security. miniOrange provided 15+ MFA methods to help enable this for you.
  3. Adaptive Authentication : Adaptive Authentication in a nutshell simply implies an Authentication process that adapts according to the situation – you can set this up to kick in based on predefined IP restrictions, Location restrictions, Time Zone restrictions, Device restrictions, etc. You can read more about this on our Adaptive Authentication landing page – Link

 

Conclusion

Being in a high-paced cyber world, it’s an important need for enterprises to adopt Security Solutions. It is even more important to choose an appropriate Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution for implementing and overseeing the Authentication and Authorization of your users. miniOrange provides a wide array of solutions that efficiently and securely enable Identity and Access management for you. But before choosing any cloud Security Service provider, you should confirm they handle your information in a  confidential manner, with the simplest technical support at a budgeted price. You can go to miniorange.com/businessfreetrial to try out our IAM solutions for free for a month, to enable you to make better and more well-informed decisions.

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