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What is Authorization as a Service? (AaaS)

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.

What is Authorization as a Service (AaaS)?

Authorization as a Service (AaaS) refers to using third-party service technology to manage authorization in all of your applications. Instead of manually changing individual authorization policies when there are changes in the company, AaaS technology allows you to centrally manage authorization across your applications.

How Does AaaS Work?

Authorization is a vital 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 is based on the characteristics of the user, the data, or the environment. These characteristics include variables such as group, department, employee status, citizenship, position, device type, IP address, or any other factors which could affect the authorization outcome.

One of the best ways to implement AaaS is through the employment of attribute-based access control (ABAC) technology. ABAC weighs the user’s attributes, or characteristics like the ones previously mentioned, against the access requirements for a particular access request.

Why is AaaS Important?

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 authorization requests 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.

Because AaaS allows you to centrally manage authorization, it makes development faster and simpler because it can be integrated across apps meaning that it’s not necessary to re-implement authorization technology into each service your company uses. In turn, it also makes administrative tasks more streamlined since 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 rather than in a centralized control center.

Another major benefit of the centralized management platform an authorization service provides is the ability to detect cases of compromised credentials. Because the platform monitors and tracks user activity, suspicious behavior is easy to spot.

Overall, centralized authorization services can improve compliance and governance by ensuring access policies and security controls are consistently enforced across applications. Learn more about why centralized policy management is an essential component of a successful Zero Trust implementation in our blog.

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