Rakesh Soni is CEO of LoginRadius, a leading provider of cloud-based digital identity solutions.
In online protection systems, authentication and authorization play an important role. They confirm the user’s identity and grant your website or application access. In order to decide which combination of web tools best fits your security needs, it is important that you notice their differences.
One thing that can make employees productive is the streamlined process of authentication and authorization. Besides, it doubles as a valuable layer of protection against vested interests who might be out to get your data.
So, what are these processes? To put it simply, during authentication, the user is made to assert their identity before they are allowed access to company data. Authorization is the event of validating a user’s role, permissions, and privileges within the database.
You’ve probably heard of security authentication and authorization if your business or company is looking at better security options for your website or application. While these words are sometimes used interchangeably, in fact, they are very different. To provide the best user experiences for each, knowing the main differences in security authentication vs. authorization is important.
1. What is Authentication?
Authentication, to put it plainly, is the mechanism that establishes the identity of a user and provides access to confidential information.
This is achieved typically through a username and password. The user enters their username, which enables their identity to be checked by the device.
Types of Authentication
- For verifying a user, an easy way is to get them to type in the right password corresponding to their username.
- For a password-less experience, users and companies can opt for verification via an OTP or a magic link that reaches the mobile phone when they request to be verified.
- If the company is looking for enhanced security, a security question or an additional PIN can be asked from the user to verify them.
- Single sign-on, a way to get access to multiple apps with one set of credentials, and verification using social media profiles are other authentication methods.
2. What is Authorization?
Authorization is the next step in the process of signing in, which decides what a user can do and see on your website. When a user’s identity is checked through the method of authentication, authorization decides what permissions they have.
Types of authorization
- Digitally signed XML documents power the Standard Single Sign-On format means of authorization.
- Users can access what they need based on the role they perform by means of the role-based access controls.
- JSON web tokens, which are an open standard, provide users with the authorization they require through public/private key pair.
- Another especially easy way to gain access to the required resources involves letting the API authenticate and gain access in a method known as OAuth authorization.
- The authorizing server’s authentication can further be obtained by the OpenID authorization method.
Difference Between Authentication vs. Authorization
In parallel, authentication and authorization are also discussed. Key distinctions between the two, however, are crucial to remember. One stage can’t be done without the other in the login process as a whole. Even so, authentication still needs to come first.
Together, authentication and authorization can be a potent tool in a company’s arsenal to guard against predatory behavior and also enhance employee productivity.
Check the infographic created by LoginRadius to learn more about the authentication vs authorization definition, differences, and techniques.