Introduction

The Internet revolutionized working culture across sectors. It opened up avenues to do our work faster and more efficiently. At the same time, it also exposed vulnerabilities in our system to malicious characters. With cybercrime increasing day by day, it has become essential to be aware of ways to keep our data safe and secure. Data is crucial today, as it can be used to gather information on individuals by hackers. Once the data in their hands, it can be used to do financial and personal damages even before we realize it.

Smartphones have enabled us to access data at our fingertips. Web browsers are enormously used by everyone. This has been an ideal source of target by individuals to steal our data. As a web user, it is important to learn about the risks linked involved. Organizations are investing billions of dollars in cybersecurity. As per Forbes, data security is expected to grow by 7.2% making it a 2.8 billion dollar market in the year 2020. This is an indication enough to know how vital data security is for organizations. Cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated and are finding new ways to get data. 

Authentication and Authorization are two words that are used while conversing about data access The need has arisen to know what exactly is Authentication and Authorization.   It has become essential to understand the difference between Authentication and Authorization as data security is vital. In this article let’s take a look at authorization vs authentication to stay safe from cybercrime.

  1. Definition of Authentication and Authorization
  2. Example of Authentication and Authorization

1. Definition of Authentication and Authorization

A) Authentication

The authentication is a process wherein the identification of the user is verified while accessing the system. For example, username and password check while accessing one’s mail account or bank account online. 

The shared information such as username and password during the authentication process is validated with the data in the system. On successful validation of the data from the system, the user is allowed to access their account. Login ID and password is a common process for validation of the user identity. There are other ways to authentication also such as fingerprint impression, voice recognition, or iris scans. This is known as single-factor authentication.

If you are logging into a bank account, simple user Id and password details are enough. If in case you are using the phone banking option you will be subjected to another authentication process wherein you will need to validate with your details to go ahead. This is known as two-factor authentication. 

The most advanced method of authentication is multi-factor authentication which needs two or more security levels to access your account. This is commonly found in banks, financial organizations, and legal agencies.

Authentication is the first step in identity recognition. With login credentials, users can establish contact with the system. The system in turn validates the given information against the data already stored in it. On successful validation, the system gives access to your account only. In case validation fails, the user will not be able to access their account. Every system has a maximum number of attempts that are provided to login to the system. If the maximum number of attempts is done for the day the account gets locked. The user needs to try again after some time or reach out to phone banking for two-factor authentication.

B) Authorization

Authorization always follows authentication. Authorization is a process wherein users are given access to resources in the system. This applies to personnel working in the respective organization. For example, authorization privileges for bank officials in different bandwidths to access data. Authorization is a security process to define the access level to the users. 

Authorization defines whether the logged-in person can access the resources fully or partially based on the rights or privileges set to him/her by system security. In this process permission/right can be granted to the user.

For example, certain bank officials can just view preliminary data of the customer such as name, address, age, and profession. The higher bandwidth professionals can view their PAN/ Aadhar and other confidential details. 

The type of authorization can vary. In certain organizations, the authorization might be set at the system settings levels for the employee or it might be password-based. 

The access control/privilege/right in computer systems follows below two steps.

  1. Privilege/Right definition phase.
  2. Privilege/Right permissible phase.

The privilege definition phase is wherein the users are enlisted with privileges/rights. Defining privileges are at the system level. Personnel from a higher level in the organization can set privileges to employees. The users are listed with respective privileges. When the user with privileges/rights logs in, the user is verified and access is provided to resources authorized. 

2. Example of Authentication and Authorization

Authentication is when the user logs in to mail, shopping, or flight booking sights. Here the validation is for establishing the identity of the person. 

Once the user arrives at the airport, the second level of authentication happens while collecting the boarding pass. The flight tickets are used for the second level of authentication. 

On arriving at the terminal to board the flight is when authorization comes into the picture. Airport personnel checks if the user’s details on the flight ticket are the same as the one in their database. Only on authorization can the user board the flight.

Though authentication and authorization validate while giving access to data, they are different processes. The difference between authentication and authorization in the tabular form below lists the differences between the two. 

Authentication Vs Authorization

Serial NoAuthenticationAuthorization
1The first step to access the systemAuthorization always follows Authentication. 
2Authentication determines whether the person logging is a valid user or notAuthorization determines whether the person has permission to access the resources or not
3The user is verified with provided detailsHere the user’s privileges are verified before giving access to resources
4The authentication process usually needs the user’s login and passwordThe authorization process to access resources is set at the system level
5Everyone uses the authentication process to access their bank accounts onlineThis applies to people working in an organization only. The privilege/rights given varies amongst the personnel. 

Authentication and Authorization are initial steps taken to keep data safe. Both the processes together keep the data organized and aids in catching any kind of unusual activity. The appropriate authentication process can prevent cybercriminals from getting hands-on data.

Conclusion:

Data security is far more important today as we are going cashless now. The words authentication and authorization are used extensively in cybersecurity. Though they are different in concepts they are interlinked and are critical to web service infrastructure. If the user cannot prove his identity with his/her login credentials then access is denied. If the user is not authorized to a certain resource within the system then also the access is denied. These terms are crucial to understanding the aspect of cybersecurity and also to keep data safe.

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