Difference Between Authentication vs Authorization
The following article provides an outline for Authentication vs Authorization. The act of validating the users are the same which they are claiming to be is called authentication. This is the very initial stage of any security process. A basic example of authentications is providing someone with permission to download a file from the server after providing the credentials or providing access to individual users to an application. On the other hand, in the process of system security, the process of providing access to a specific resource or function is called authorization.
Authorization and authentication are often used interchangeably with client privilege or access control. In the most of secure environments, authorization has to be the second after authentication. First of all, users have to prove their identity that they are genuine before providing them with the grant by the organization’s administrators to access the requested resources.
Head to Head Comparison Between Authentication vs Authorization (Infographics)
Below are the top 6 differences between Authentication vs Authorization:
Key Difference Between Authentication vs Authorization
Let us discuss some of the major key differences between Authentication vs Authorization:
The process of authentication can be completed through:
- Passwords: User credentials like passwords and user Ids are one of the most common authentication factors. If the user provides their username and password, which matches the credentials stored in the system, then the system allows access to the user, assuming they are genuine.
- One-time passwords: One-time passwords are pins that are provided to the user through some communication channel authorized by the user themselves previously. It grants access to the user only for a transaction or session.
- Authentication apps: In some cases, the system generates a security code that can be accessed through a third-party app used for access to the system.
- Biometrics: In this case, the user has placed their finger or has to go through an eye scan for gaining access to the system.
There are also some cases where the system needs to verify the user through multiple authentication factors for allowing access. This is called two factor or multi-factor authentication, and it is generally used for increasing the security beyond passwords.
- Now a days, organisations are going passwordless and are providing modern authentication techniques through one time passwords, also called as OTPs or single sign-on, also called SSO or two factor or multi-factor authentication or biometrics for authenticating the users and to have security beyond passwords which can easily be hacked now a days.
- Authorization generally comes after the user has been successfully verified and authenticated. Authorization is nothing but allowing the user full access or partial access to a particular resource, funds or database, or it can also be some critical information.
- If we take an example of an organization, once an employee gets verified through user ID and password or other factors like biometric, then the next step is to authorize the user that what are the things they can access or what are the actions they can take in the system.
- Identity access management administrators have to understand the gist of using both authentication and authorization wisely and how to differentiate between them.
- The most wisest thing to do is to implement authentication with the perfect authorization techniques to have the best security to protect the organization from identity thefts, hacks or cyber-attacks. Combining these two also ensures the smooth flow of work and information in the organization, making the organization more productive.
Popular authorization techniques are:
- Role-based access controls (RBAC): This authorization technique is implemented for user to system or system to system privilege management.
- JSON web token (JWT): This is also one of the most common authorization technique; it is used for the secure transmission of data between users, clients and parties and the parties are authorized using private key pair.
- SAML: This authorization technique is a Single Sign-On format, also called SSO, in which the authentication information is transferred through XML documents which are signed digitally.
- OpenID authorization: This authorization technique verifies the user on the basis of the authorization server’s authentication.
- OAuth: This authorization technique enables an API for authenticating and providing access to the user for the requested resource or action.
Authentication vs Authorization Comparison Table
Let’s discuss the top 6 comparisons between Authentication vs Authorization:
|Authentication is the very first step of a security system; it validates the identity of the user by verifying their credentials.||Authorization must follow authentication in a system security environment. It grants or denies the access to different resources, actions or functions.|
|Authentication is the process of verifying the credentials using passwords, apps, biometrics or one time passwords; if the user’s credentials match the stored information in the system, then only the user will get access.||Authorization is the process of providing access to the user for different resources or actions through several settings which are maintained by the security team.|
|In the process of authentication, the data moves through ID tokens for maintaining security.||On the other hand, in the process of authorization, the data moves through access tokens for maintaining security.|
|Authentication verifies if the user is the same person who they are claiming to be.||Authorization validates the privileges and permissions granted to the user for accessing the files, resources or for doing an action which they are trying to do.|
|Authentication is done before the process of authorization.||Authorization is done after the process of authentication.|
|Example: A user has to provide their user credentials before logging in to the organizational emails, the system matches the credentials with the stored credentials, and if there is a match, then only the user can log in.||After authenticating themselves, if the user has to access a certain resource or function, then they have to authorize themselves, which is done by the security teams.|
On the basis of this article on authorization vs authentication, we understood the most important concepts of a security environment. We understood the basics of authentication and authorization and also how they differ from each other, being equally important in a system security environment.
This is a guide to Authentication vs Authorization. Here we discuss key differences with infographics and comparison table, respectively. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –