With security and data protection at the forefront of every business owner’s mind, it is no surprise that managers are increasingly seeking out ways to safeguard their organisation and reduce the risk of everything from corporate and cybercrime to unauthorised access and data breaches. One such method that can address all of these issues, and more, is role-based access control.
What is role-based access control?
Role-based access control (RBAC) allows permissions to be set as to who is authorised to access the various physical locations, systems, controls and assets of a business.
Via individually assigned permissions, it is possible to restrict what a member of staff can access. Here are some common working examples:
- Facilities managers are given full control over building-wide climate and lighting control, whilst staff are only permitted to control their own personal workspace environments.
- Visitors to a building are provided with temporary access to set zones, for example, the reception area and a particular meeting room.
- Server rooms are restricted to access only by IT managers.
- Rooms where sensitive data is held, hazardous items are stored or where dangerous procedures are carried out are only accessible by trained, qualified or specialist personnel.
- Technology platforms, such as smart building control dashboards and their associated data, are only available to facilities managers.
- Access to web analytics, the company website content management system and online advertising accounts is limited only to marketing personnel.
- Only finance department staff have access to online accounting software.
- Personnel management systems and files are only accessible by HR staff.
Role-based access control is granular, allowing permissions to be set at any level. So you could, for example, set a management tier with higher levels of access, and a contributor tier, providing basic access. This is commonplace with the likes of customer relationship management (CRM) software, where some team members will only need to view information, whilst others will have the ability to edit, and others still will hold permission to add, amend or delete fields and data.
What are the benefits of role-based access control?
RBAC has the potential to reduce employee downtime, improve productivity and make it easier to set access policies organisation wide. Here are just some of the benefits of role-based access control:
Provides an audit trail
One of the benefits of role-based access control is that it provides an audit trail. This is particularly useful in regards to physical security and monitoring, where it is possible to see which members of staff, visitors or contractors, etc. entered specific parts of a building, and when. This ability can also be applied to tracking who from the team has accessed systems and networks, which could provide vital evidence in the event of an error or breach.
Reduces administrative burden
RBAC negates the need for numerous password changes every time someone changes their role. Instead, role-based access control makes it possible to add or switch roles quickly and implement them in one go globally across all relevant systems, applications and platforms. It also reduces the potential for error when assigning user permissions, and makes it more straightforward to provide outsourced contractors with pre-defined roles, rather than allocating permissions on an individual basis. This is one of the most useful benefits of role-based access control.
With a role-based access control system in place, it becomes much easier to meet regulatory and standards requirements. Whether it’s data protection, privacy, accessibility or industry-specific regulations, with RBAC, you can keep everything under tight control. This is especially beneficial in the regulated sector, where it is doubly important to manage how data is being accessed, used and stored, due to its extra-sensitive nature.
What to consider when implementing role-based access control?
Before you implement RBAC, you should run through the following steps:
- Create a list – make a list of everything in your organisation that requires a password, pin code or proof of identity to access. This could include certain areas of your premises; making international calls, and applications, systems, software, platforms and networks. Then against that list, record who already has access, and at what level.
- Define current roles – set out what each individual team member does and what level of access they should have to the various items in your first list. This can be done on an individual, team or status basis.
- Set a policy – set down in writing your policy for access across your organisation so that all current and future employees are clear on it, and there is no cause for misunderstanding or conflict.
- Monitor and adapt – it is important to keep your RBAC policy fluid so that it evolves with your business and any changes to your premises, technologies, management processes and security risks, as well as new legislation and regulatory change. Be sure to monitor how well your role-based access control system is working, and be open to feedback from your workforce.
Reap the benefits of role-based access control, courtesy of Smart Spaces
Smart Spaces is an Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence powered platform that has been created with a view to improving day to day life in the workplace, benefiting building owners, employers, employees and visitors alike.
The Smart Spaces platform makes it possible to automatically control various elements of a building management system, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
Smart Spaces can also be used to manage building security, courtesy of role-based access control. By interfacing with the building security system and geofence-based access control, it offers swift, straightforward and secure permission-based access for building occupants, visitors and contractors.
What’s more, with single sign-on smart access control, you only need use one password to access everything, the benefits of which are far reaching. Users no longer have to remember multiple passwords; fewer login credentials means a reduced risk of cybercrime, and IT helpdesks no longer have to spend so much time dealing with forgotten password reset requests.
To learn how Smart Spaces could enhance your building’s security courtesy of role-based access control, you are welcome to get in touch or request a demo.