Your company is growing, fast. As a result, dozens of new employees are being onboarded every month, and you’re constantly adding new customers, vendors, and partners to your digital Rolodex. But how can you effectively manage all of these individuals without compromising your organization’s security?
To navigate your organization’s growth and keep it scalable, you need the right infrastructure in place to precisely and efficiently grant new users access to the tools and permissions they require to do their best work. One of the tools that can help you in this is role-based access control or RBAC.
What exactly is role-based access control?
RBAC is a method of restricting (and granting) network and application access based on assigned user permissions, which differ according to the user’s role within your organization. In other words, RBAC empowers IT to quickly control which applications or features users have access to at a high level, as well as assign granular application-level access controls.
Each group has its own permissions; however, users are not restricted to just one group—they can belong to several groups to ensure they have access to exactly the tools and permissions they need.
Benefits of an intelligent RBAC strategy
A fast-growing company is just one problem that RBAC solves for, but there are many reasons beyond scalability as to why all companies, large and small, stable and growing, can benefit from RBAC.
- Pre-established authorization policies reduce the likelihood of mistakes resulting from human error
- Teams can easily determine exactly who has access to what at any point in time
- Members of your extended enterprise (contractors, temps, partners, vendors, and customers) can be easily accommodated with the appropriate level of access
- IT can spend less time granting and restricting user access on a case-by-case basis and more time focusing on new and innovative services
Defining your RBAC strategy
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when defining your RBAC’s categories of access is the importance of assigning the fewest number of permissions possible in order for users to do their work effectively. Yes, there will be special circumstances in which a single user requires additional permissions because of the specificity of their role, but general permissions should be assigned based on the average user in each role.
With that in mind, consider the following when defining your RBAC strategy:
- What do users need access to? Draft a comprehensive list of all software, hardware, and apps your users need access to. Using a platform like Okta can simplify this step, since it integrates with over 6,000 apps so everything is centralized.
- What does the average role require? Consider what team members do on a daily basis to determine if there are any apps and software missing from the list you’ve created.
Next, write and implement your policies in your tool of choice. In Okta, you can do this easily with just one API call or a few clicks in the admin console.
Of course, your job doesn’t end there. Your RBAC policies will likely require tweaks and updates based on user feedback. Keep a close eye on the changes, and make adjustments as needed to ensure both a great user experience and the least amount of IT strain and intervention.