Access Control in Cloud Computing
Access control regulates who can view or use resources in a computer network. A security measure, it reduces risks for users and organizations. Learn more about access control in cloud computing and the key things you should know about it.
The Purpose of Access Control in Cloud Computing
In cloud computing, access control authenticates and authorizes users to ensure that they have access rights to use a system.
Remember that cloud computing transfers and stores information over the internet. Without access control, anyone would be able to access that information.
On one level, access control involves passwords, security tokens, or biometric scans. In short, all the security measures that can be built into front-end user software.
On a deeper level, access control relies on electronic access control systems including card readers and control panels to secure the physical facilities that host cloud computing data centers.
For maximum security, access control often employs a layered approach to securing hardware and software. This approach involves multifactor authentication. It requires users to pass through several verification methods.
How Access Control Works in Cloud Computing
Access control can be physical or logical. Physical access control governs the security of the computers and the facility housing them. Logical access control refers to the security of the data and the data systems that the computing environment uses.
Physical access in cloud computing is the responsibility of the cloud service provider who maintains the backend of the service. End users don’t have to worry about this since they don’t come into contact with the backend—the hardware infrastructure that powers up the cloud.
With logical access control, however, things are a bit different. On one level, the cloud service provider enforces access control to ensure that only its customers can access the computing resources it provides. But then businesses or organizations that use cloud services may have to enforce logical access control in turn.
For example, a business that buys a Software as a Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution from a cloud provider will have to enforce access control internally to ensure that only employees who need access to cloud data get it. What’s more, data access may have to be restricted to work computers.
Access Control Models in Cloud Computing
Organizations use different access control models or mechanisms to determine who can access cloud services and data, and when, where, and how they can do so. The best-known access control models include:
- Role-based access control – This model restricts access based on groups or individuals with defined business functions such as technician, engineer, or executive.
- Rule-based access control – With this model, conditions such as the location of the user or the device he or she is using restrict access.
- Attribute-based access control – This method determines access based on an evaluation of different policies, rules, and relationships.
Organizations often combine these methods to increase the security of a system.
The Wrap Up on Access Control in Cloud Computing
At the end of the day, access control is a way to ensure that only authorized and authenticated users can access cloud resources. It’s an important way to keep a system secure and safeguard data. Businesses who use cloud computing need access control measures to reduce security vulnerabilities. Without these in place, they can be at risk.
Cloud Computing Security Resources
Here is a list of resources when evaluating security in cloud computing:
- Google Cloud – Google Cloud’s security model, world-scale infrastructure, and unique capability to innovate will help keep your organization secure and compliant.
- AWS Cloud Security – gain the control and confidence you need to securely run your business with the most flexible and secure cloud computing environment available today.
- Microsoft Cloud Azure – Reduce costs and complexity with a highly secure cloud foundation managed by Microsoft.