Keeping sensitive data secure is a top priority for enterprises today due to the need to comply with cybersecurity standards and controls, as well as to keep information secure from data breaches and bad actors. This need to protect needs to be balanced with the need to share information internally and externally, which has become a necessity in today’s globalized business environment.
The key to keeping sensitive data out of the wrong hands is authorization. Authorization is a part of the access control equation, and it is the process by which a server determines if the user has permission to use a resource or access a file. This decision is made based on attributes or characteristics of the user, the data, or the environment, such as group, department, employee status, citizenship, position, device type, IP address, or any other factors which could affect the authorization outcome
Implementing and enforcing identity-aware authorization can become a substantial task when you must consider the various attributes of each employee and their access to company assets stored in different locations across several applications, on-premises and in the cloud.
Regardless of the structure of your organization’s cybersecurity architecture, you will need a way to coordinate your authorization between services while that authorization remains externalized. You will need the ability to ensure that each access request being made is being done so by the authorized user with all the correct attributes – this is where employing authorization as a service becomes beneficial.
Authorization as a service means using a third-party service to handle authorization in your applications. Instead of manually changing individual authorization policies when there are changes in the company, authorization as a service allows you to centrally manage authorization across your applications. To do so, you’ll need to share authorization data across services. This is critical as sometimes data from two sources is needed to make an authorization decision.
Having a common authorization service makes development faster and simpler because it is not necessary to re-implement authorization in each service – it can be integrated across apps.
Using an authorization service makes administrative tasks more streamlined due to the fact that changes to your authorization logic are made centrally. Not only is this faster, but it reduces the likelihood of error that arises when changes are made in each of the individual apps.
Finally, centralized authorization services can improve compliance and governance by ensuring access policies and security controls are consistently enforced across applications.