Definition of Authorization

Authorization is a security process that determines the permissions and access rights of users within a system or network. It helps to ensure that individuals can only access the resources they are authorized for, based on their roles or privileges. Authorization typically follows authentication, which confirms the identity of the user.


The phonetics of the keyword “Authorization” is: /ˌɔːθərɪˈzeɪʃən/

Key Takeaways

  1. Authorization is the process of granting or denying a user access to specific resources or actions based on their identity, role, or permissions.
  2. Authorization often relies on authentication, which is the process of verifying a user’s identity. Only authenticated users should be authorized for certain actions.
  3. Implementing authorization can be done through various methods and protocols, like Access Control Lists (ACLs), Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), and OAuth, ensuring secure access to resources and data in an application.

Importance of Authorization

Authorization is a crucial aspect of technology and cybersecurity, as it determines the level of access individuals or systems have to specific resources or information within a digital environment.

By establishing a set of permissions and limitations, authorization greatly contributes to maintaining the overall security, privacy, and functionality of digital systems.

Implementing well-defined authorization procedures helps organizations safeguard sensitive data, prevent unauthorized access, and protect user identities.

Furthermore, robust authorization measures are vital for compliance with various data protection regulations and ensuring the trustworthiness of an organization’s digital ecosystem.


Authorization plays a crucial role in any technological system where restricted access and control is vital for maintaining security and privacy. Primarily, its purpose is to ensure that only those individuals who have the necessary permissions can perform certain tasks, specifically within the digital domain. This procedure typically comes into effect after users have been successfully authenticated, meaning their identity has been verified, right after which, each user is granted a certain level of access to resources such as programs, data, or files.

Consequently, authorization proves to be useful in defining the scope of user roles within a system, thus preventing unauthorized users from tampering with sensitive information or executing actions they are not meant to. Businesses, organizations, and even individuals rely on authorization mechanisms as an essential component of their security strategies. For instance, in the workplace, different employees might have different levels of access to files or network systems, depending on their roles and responsibilities.

This can range from read-only permissions to the ability to modify or delete data. Furthermore, authorization mechanisms can also be employed to restrict access to certain sections of a website or an application, acting as a virtual barrier to privileged information. Moreover, as the digital landscape evolves and data security becomes imperative, implementing robust authorization methods to protect sensitive information becomes indispensable in ensuring the overall stability and integrity of the digital framework.

Examples of Authorization


0: OAuth

0 is an industry-standard protocol for authorization used by numerous web applications, such as Facebook, Google, and GitHub. It enables third-party applications to access a user’s protected resources (e.g., their account information) without requiring them to disclose their credentials. For example, a user might allow a photo sharing app to access their Google Photos albums without revealing their Google email and password.

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): RBAC is a popular approach for managing authorization in enterprise systems. With RBAC, users are assigned to roles with specified permissions, allowing them to perform certain actions within a system. An example of this can be seen in a company’s HR system, where HR employees have access to employee data, while regular employees can only access their personal information and submit time-off requests. RBAC centralizes and simplifies the management of permissions, ensuring that the right people have access to the proper resources and functionalities.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): 2FA adds an extra layer of security in addition to a user’s password, providing stronger access control. A common example is banking websites or mobile applications, which often require users to enter a unique code sent via SMS or generated by an authentication device. By incorporating 2FA, users must prove their identity through this second form of verification, making it significantly more difficult for unauthorized parties to compromise their accounts.

Authorization FAQ

What is Authorization?

Authorization is the process of determining what a user is allowed to do or access within a system or application. It is often paired with authentication, which verifies the user’s identity. Once a user is authenticated, authorization rules are applied to determine the level of access they have to resources and actions within the system.

How does Authorization work?

Authorization works by checking the permissions and access levels associated with a user’s account or role within the system. This often involves evaluating the user’s credentials, such as groups or roles, against the security settings defined for resources, such as files, databases, or web pages. If the user’s account meets the necessary requirements, they are granted access to perform the requested action or view the requested resource.

What are some common authorization models?

There are several common authorization models, including Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC), and Discretionary Access Control (DAC). Each model has its advantages and disadvantages, allowing organizations to choose the model that best fits their security requirements and operational needs.

How is Authorization different from Authentication?

Authentication is the process of verifying a user’s identity by checking their credentials, such as a username and password. Authorization, on the other hand, is the process of determining what actions a user is allowed to perform within a system or application. While authentication typically occurs before authorization, both are essential components of a comprehensive security strategy.

What are some common tools and technologies used for Authorization?

There are various tools and technologies available for implementing and managing authorization, including OAuth, OpenID Connect, SAML, and LDAP. These solutions provide standardized methods for handling access control and can be integrated into various applications and systems, simplifying the management of authorization policies across multiple platforms.

Related Technology Terms

  • Access Control
  • Authentication
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
  • Security Token
  • Permission Management

Sources for More Information


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