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7 myths about dynamic authorization

Learn about some common myths surrounding dynamic authorization, ABAC, and why it matters for 2002 and beyond.

In today’s technology landscape, dynamic authorization checks a lot of the boxes when it comes to aligning your business goals with modern access management guidelines and best practices.

But, as with any type of technology, there are some myths out there about the what, why, and how of dynamic authorization.

We’re going to tackle a few of them here to help demonstrate that including dynamic authorization as part of your access management strategy is vital in meeting your current threats and challenges – as well as preparing for what’s ahead.

A recent Forrester report predicts the following for cybersecurity in 2022:

  • Sixty percent of security incidents will result from issues with third parties.
  • Security brain drain sets in as one in 10 experienced security pros exit the industry.
  • At least one security vendor collapses in an Enron-Theranos-esque scandal.

The sense of urgency for organizations to modernize their approach to cybersecurity continues to be felt globally.

Even the White House has become more actively involved in applying pressure in tackling threats to data and systems, including changes to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines.

But first, a refresher…

Dynamic authorization is defined as a service that externalizes access control decisions to a decision point that interrogates an information point, typically a directory, to determine a user’s access rights based on a centrally-managed policy.

Attribute-based access control (ABAC), defines an access control paradigm whereby access rights are granted to users through the use of policies which combine attributes together.

Now let’s look at some of the myths surrounding dynamic authorization and learn why such a solution is critical to your access management strategy.

7. Using dynamic authorization will strongly hinder my system performance

A major concern from development teams is the performance of their systems.

It seems like every time you introduce someone new to ABAC and launch into a conversation about “a centralized server,” the conversation quickly halts to, “Woah, is this going to slow things down?!”

In short, the answer is no.

Axiomatics’ decision engine typically adds a minuscule amount of latency (single-digit milliseconds, actually).

We also have established best practices for optimizing performance and scalability for the entire authorization infrastructure.

Learn more: Five Ways to Prepare for an ABAC Program (product brief)

6. Dynamic authorization requires a customer to consolidate their authentication

Externalized authorization is a compliment to authentication and can be added even if you are already using multiple login credentials.

Axiomatics can enforce the use of stronger authentication credentials when accessing critical or sensitive resources and transactions, as well as help comply with industry compliance regulations.

Learn more: Externalized Dynamic Authorization in a [Micro]Services World (webinar)

5. Role-based access control is good enough for my organization’s needs

Formalized by NIST in 1992, role-based access control (RBAC) has long been a standard approach to managing access to critical assets and data, particularly for enterprises managing more than 500 employees.

Roles are still – and always will be – an integral part of a successful access control strategy, but to address critical enterprise needs (complex regulatory requirements, scalability, remote workforces) these roles must be extended using attributes and policies derived through ABAC.

Learn more: Four Role-based Access Control (RBAC) Limitations and How to Fix Them (article)

4. My developers can just write their own access control code when building the application

Maintaining logic built into an application is exponentially more costly and inefficient.

In addition to the up-front developer cost when creating the application, the ongoing costs for making changes in the future can be quite significant as each developer likely has their own specific way of coding, which doesn’t easily scale.

Learn more: ABAC as code – Applying Modern DevOps to Policy Authoring (webinar)

3. I don’t need dynamic authorization to implement an effective Zero Trust model

At the core of Zero Trust methodology is the mantra, “Trust nothing, always verify.” Dynamic authorization is a great way to implement the “always verify” piece of Zero Trust, as it goes above and beyond authentication (which addresses who you are) to ensure you have the right access to the right information and processes.

In fact, starting with dynamic authorization can be a great starting point to implement a Zero Trust project, as discussed in this blog article.

Learn more: Getting started with Zero Trust using dynamic authorization (video)

2. Roles and group lists are all I need for access control in our custom built applications

Dynamic authorization frees up your development team to focus on key initiatives and eliminates the need to write many extra lines of code to deal with complex access requirements.

In addition, your application may not have all the needed context available to properly make authorization decisions.

For example, the externalized authorization service can connect to almost any data source that provides additional user or resource context.

Learn more: Attribute Based Access Control Beyond Roles (article)

1. Implementing a dynamic authorization solution is too complicated

Sometimes, what we don’t know can seem daunting and overly-complicated, which certainly applies to integrating new processes and policies to your systems.

Our platform is built for seamless integration into your current environment and is designed to immediately enable you to:

  • Control complexity – Bring structure to access control management in large teams, distributed across multiple regions and IT environments.
  • Collaborate securely – Share data to promote collaboration, innovation, business growth while ensuring users only see appropriate data and processes
  • Reduce costs – Reduce IT security coding costs and resource requirements.
  • Simplify reporting – Get full transparency of data access rights.

But, as with all projects, it all begins with proper planning and collaboration, as outlined in the following infographic:


Learn more: 5 ways to get started with Dynamic Authorization (datasheet)

More reasons to make dynamic authorization your priority

Take a deeper dive into dynamic authorization and how it works within your data security and access control ecosystem by checking out these resources:

Also watch recent and coming episodes of our YouTube series, Dynamically Speaking, which includes insights in utilizing dynamic authorization within your organization.

For more context and a review of our solution, or request a demo with one of our experts.

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About the author

The world’s largest enterprises and government agencies continually depend on Axiomatics’ award-winning authorization platform to share sensitive, valuable and regulated digital assets – but only to authorized users and in the right context.