Unlocking Access Control: A Beginner’s Guide for 2023


Access control is a critical aspect of cybersecurity that plays a pivotal role in protecting sensitive information and resources within organizations. As an IT manager, understanding access control and its various components is essential for maintaining a robust security posture. 

The shift towards digital transformation has significantly changed how organizations operate. Previously, IT teams used network firewalls to protect their organization’s on-premises applications, letting in authorized users and keeping out malicious ones. However, the advent of cloud computing disrupted this paradigm. 

In the current hyper-connected ecosystem, it is essential to understand the various elements and forms of access control to enhance security measures. Doing so can fortify their defenses in the face of evolving technological threats.

Access control refers to the practices and technologies used to manage and regulate user authentication and authorization to systems, applications, and resources. It ensures that only authorized individuals or entities are granted access while preventing unauthorized entry by malicious actors. You can establish a layered defense mechanism by implementing access control, protecting critical data and assets.

Importance of Access Control in Various Domains:

Access control is critical in different domains. Some of them are:

  • Information Technology (IT): Access control is crucial in IT to protect sensitive data, networks, and systems. By implementing strict authentication and defining access privileges based on roles or attributes, organizations prevent unauthorized access, reduce data breach risks, ensure regulatory compliance, and preserve IT infrastructure integrity.

  • Physical Security: Access control goes beyond digital realms and secures physical environments. It restricts entry to secure facilities, manages visitor access, and safeguards sensitive areas. Technologies like smart cards, biometrics, and surveillance systems provide essential protection against unauthorized personnel.

  • Healthcare: Access control maintains patient privacy and secures electronic health records (EHRs) in healthcare. By implementing access control measures, authorized personnel can access patient information, minimizing data breaches, and complying with privacy regulations like HIPAA.

  • Finance and Banking: Access control is paramount in finance and banking to safeguard financial data and customer information. Robust measures like multi-factor authentication protect customer accounts, prevent unauthorized transactions, and mitigate identity theft and fraud risks. Compliance with regulations such as PCI DSS is also ensured.

Purpose of Access Control

The primary purpose of access control is to protect valuable assets, whether digital or physical, by ensuring that only authorized individuals have access. By implementing access control mechanisms, you and your teams can:

  • Safeguard sensitive data and resources from unauthorized access, reducing the risk of data breaches and intellectual property theft.

  • Mitigate insider threats by controlling access based on job roles, responsibilities, and clearance levels.

  • Ensure compliance with industry regulations and privacy laws.

  • Enhance overall security posture and protect against evolving cyber threats.

  • Establish audit trails and accountability by tracking user activities and maintaining a record of access attempts.

Core Principles of Access Control

The core principles of access control, namely authentication, authorization, and auditing, play crucial roles in maintaining a robust access control framework. 


Gone are the days of relying solely on passwords to keep your systems secure. Enter multi-factor authentication (MFA), the game-changer in identity verification. By combining multiple authentication factors like passwords, smart cards, tokens, and biometric data, MFA creates an impenetrable fortress against unauthorized access. With MFA, even if one layer is compromised, the fortress remains impenetrable.

Moreover, adaptive authentication takes this a step further. It dynamically adjusts the level of authentication based on risk factors such as user behavior, device characteristics, and network information. With adaptive authentication, your access controls evolve in real-time, adapting to emerging threats and ensuring that only legitimate users gain entry.


Roles and groups are no longer sufficient to define access privileges. It's time to embrace attribute-based access control (ABAC) for unmatched granularity. ABAC allows you to establish access policies based on user attributes, environmental conditions, and resource characteristics. Want to restrict access to sensitive data only during certain hours or from specific locations? ABAC empowers you to do just that.

To further fortify your defenses, just-in-time (JIT) access and privileged access management (PAM) practices are your secret weapons. JIT access ensures that users are granted access only when needed, reducing the attack surface and mitigating the risk of compromised credentials. PAM enables you to tightly control privileged accounts, ensuring that only authorized personnel can execute critical actions. By adopting JIT access and PAM, you gain unparalleled control and minimize the risk of unauthorized activity.


Auditing is not merely a compliance checkbox; it's your window into your system's health and security. Advanced log analysis tools armed with machine learning algorithms offer a proactive approach to security. They detect patterns and anomalies in log data, allowing you to identify potential threats or policy violations before they wreak havoc.

To achieve a comprehensive view of your security landscape, harness the power of security information and event management (SIEM) solutions. These sophisticated systems collect and correlate log data from various sources, providing real-time incident detection and response. With SIEM, you can thwart attacks before they gain traction, safeguarding your organization's vital assets.

Remember to implement a centralized logging system with clear log retention policies, ensuring the integrity and availability of your audit trails. Encryption and tamper-evident measures add an extra layer of protection against unauthorized tampering.

Access Control Best Practices 

Let's explore some best practices that can help you ensure a secure and efficient IT environment.

Implementing the principle of least privilege

The principle of least privilege (PoLP) should be at the core of access control practices. It involves granting users the minimum permissions necessary to perform their tasks effectively. By implementing PoLP, IT teams can reduce the risk of unauthorized access, limit the potential damage caused by insider threats, and minimize the impact of security breaches.

To further enhance this practice, you and your teams should regularly review and update user privileges based on their roles and responsibilities. This ensures that access rights remain aligned with your business needs and reduces the risk of privilege creep, where users accumulate unnecessary privileges over time.

Establishing a systematic process for access control review & audit

Access control reviews and audits play a crucial role in maintaining the effectiveness of security measures. By establishing a systematic process, IT teams can regularly evaluate and monitor access controls to identify any vulnerabilities or weaknesses. This includes reviewing user permissions, group memberships, and access logs to detect any unauthorized or abnormal activities.

To improve this practice, you should consider implementing automated tools or solutions to streamline the access control review process. These tools can help identify and flag any discrepancies or violations, enabling prompt remediation actions.

Implementing separation of duties to prevent unauthorized access

Separation of duties (SoD) involves distributing critical tasks and responsibilities among multiple individuals to prevent a single person from having complete control and authority. By implementing SoD, IT teams minimize the risk of unauthorized access and fraud, as collusion between multiple parties becomes more challenging.

To strengthen this practice, you should clearly define and document the roles and responsibilities of each user. This ensures that no single individual possesses excessive privileges or can bypass necessary checks and balances. Regularly reviewing and updating these role definitions further enhances the effectiveness of SoD.

Employing strong authentication & authorization mechanisms

Robust authentication and authorization mechanisms are fundamental to access control. IT teams should employ multifactor authentication (MFA), which combines multiple factors like passwords, biometrics, and tokens, to verify user identities. This significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access, especially in the event of compromised credentials.

Additionally, you should implement granular authorization policies based on the principle of least privilege. This ensures that users only have access to the resources required to fulfill their specific roles and responsibilities. Regularly reviewing and updating these authorization policies is essential to maintain the integrity of access controls.

By combining robust authentication and authorization practices with IGA solutions, you can achieve a higher level of security and efficiently manage access rights throughout your infrastructure. One such solution is Zluri. This comprehensive approach helps protect sensitive data, mitigate risks, and safeguard against potential security breaches. How? Let’s find out. 

Leverage Zluri’s IGA for Enhanced Security: Streamline Access Control Management & Compliance

With Zluri's comprehensive IGA solution, your IT admins gain the necessary measures to combat the challenges posed by escalating security risks effectively.

Discover the abundant advantages of Zluri's access control capabilities:

Data discovery made effortless: Unleash Zluri's data engine

Zluri's advanced data engine offers a powerful solution for IT managers like you seeking to boost productivity. Utilizing its five discovery methods, including single sign-on and identity providers, finance and expense management systems, direct app integration, optional desktop agents, and browser extensions, Zluri enables seamless analysis of critical SaaS apps and user data. You can easily identify application access, track active users, manage granted permissions, and even identify crucial organizational users.

Zluri's data engine incorporates automation to lighten your team's manual burden. The platform automatically identifies managed, unmanaged, and shadow IT apps, saving time and valuable resources. This results in a well-organized SaaS app ecosystem and accurate user access records, allowing your team to focus on strategic initiatives and increase efficiency.


Facilitate access management with Zluri's user-friendly approach, ensuring the right employees have appropriate permissions for their service accounts. This streamlined process expedites access control and empowers your IT team to govern and maintain a secure access environment in alignment with your organization's security policies and compliance regulations.

Simplify user lifecycle management with Zluri's automation engine

As an IT manager, ensuring robust security and compliance within your organization is a top priority. Streamlining user lifecycle management, including access provisioning, role changes, and access revocation, is crucial for maintaining a secure environment for your SaaS app data. Zluri's cutting-edge IGA platform offers innovative solutions to optimize these processes and elevate your access control management to new heights.

With Zluri'sautomation engine, you can simplify the task of manually managing access permissions. By automating access provisioning and deprovisioning, you can bid farewell to time-consuming, error-prone manual processes. Rest assured that authorized employees receive the right level of access to necessary SaaS apps and data, reducing risks associated with over-provisioning and unauthorized access.

1. Revolutionizing User Access Provisioning with Zluri: Boosting IT Productivity and Strengthening Security

Zluri introduces a groundbreaking solution that transforms user access provisioning, revolutionizing the onboarding process and freeing your IT team from time-consuming tasks. By ensuring that only authorized employees receive the precise level of access to essential SaaS applications and data, Zluri minimizes the risk of security vulnerabilities caused by human errors or over-provisioning.

The intuitive interface enables your IT teams to create customized onboarding workflows based on new employees' job entitlements, roles, positions, and departments. This newfound efficiency allows your team to securely grant access to multiple new hires at once, streamlining the process effectively and securely.

Gone are the days of complex workflow design; Zluri's user-friendly interface lets your IT team configure access privileges with just a few clicks, aligning them with job roles and responsibilities. Experience the remarkable increase in efficiency and heightened employee productivity as Zluri's powerful workflow capabilities ensure the right access for the right users while maintaining the utmost security for your SaaS app data.

To streamline the onboarding process using Zluri, follow these straightforward steps:

Step 1: Access Zluri's workflow module and choose "Onboarding" from the dropdown menu. Click on "New Workflow" to begin creating your onboarding process.

new workflow

Step 2: Easily select the user(s) you want to onboard by using the search bar or manual selection. Click "Continue" to proceed.


Step 3: On the left side, explore the recommended apps and select the necessary ones for the user. Tailor the onboarding process by defining desired actions for each application.


Step 4: Customize actions by selecting "Edit Action" and providing required details. You can even schedule these actions to be executed on the day of onboarding. Once finalized, save the actions by clicking "Save Task."


Step 5: To ensure future efficiency, preserve the workflow by selecting "Save as Playbook." Name your playbook in the prompted dialogue box and click "Save Playbook." Your onboarding workflow is now ready to be utilized.


Note: Zluri's exceptional reusability and flexibility through playbooks empower you to create a seamless onboarding process that promotes consistency across your entire organization. By harnessing Zluri's playbooks, you establish a strong foundation for effective onboarding, ensuring new employees feel a sense of belonging and engagement from day one.

This not only contributes to higher productivity and reduced turnover but also fosters a more cohesive and successful work environment. With Zluri's playbooks, you can confidently streamline your onboarding procedures, setting the stage for future efficiency and success in your organization.

Streamlining Employee Deprovisioning with Zluri: Boosting IT Productivity and Strengthening Security

Zluri simplifies the process of employee deprovisioning, empowering you to manage tasks efficiently and confidently. Through Zluri's intelligent solution, valuable time and effort are saved while ensuring robust security measures for your organization's data. With Zluri's comprehensive offboarding playbook, the entire deprovisioning process becomes effortless and highly effective. 

Automatic revocation of access to devices, apps, and systems takes place promptly when an employee departs, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information and enhancing data security. In addition, Zluri takes care of data backup and transfer to a new owner, mitigating the risk of losing critical information during deprovisioning. This ensures a seamless transition even after an employee leaves, as important data is securely handed over to the appropriate personnel.

Zluri further simplifies the revocation of employee licenses and eliminates their single sign-on (SSO) access, effectively blocking ex-employees from using organization applications. This added layer of security prevents potential misuse of company resources and safeguards data.

By embracing Zluri's straightforward approach to employee offboarding,  your team can ensure consistent and secure deprovisioning for all departing employees. This efficiency allows HR and IT teams to handle departures with ease, reducing administrative burdens and instilling confidence during sensitive situations. Zluri empowers to achieve effortless user access deprovisioning, leading to increased productivity and heightened security.

To streamline the Offboarding process with Zluri, follow these straightforward steps:

Step 1: Access Zluri's user-friendly main interface and head to the workflow module. Simply choose the "Offboarding" option from the drop-down list, and click on "New Workflow" to begin.

Step 2: Choose the user(s) you wish to offboard by selecting "Select the user for offboarding." Once you've made your selection, click "Continue."

Step 3: Zluri provides recommended actions tailored to specific apps. Effortlessly choose from a range of suggested actions and execute them across the selected applications.

Step 4: To include additional actions, click "Add an Action." Fill in the necessary details and save the task by clicking "Save Task.".

Step 5: Finalize the workflow by saving it as a playbook. Provide a name, click "Save Playbook," your offboarding workflow is now set and ready to go.

Note: By leveraging this automation capability, your deprovisioning procedures will be optimized, ensuring fast and precise access revocation for a smooth offboarding experience. Embrace the power of Zluri's playbooks to streamline your operations and enhance efficiency.

Keep in mind that Zluri's playbooks offer immense potential, allowing you to create customized workflows with actions triggered by specific conditions. Tailor automation to suit your organization's distinct needs and processes, with endless possibilities.

2. Simplify Access Request Management with Zluri: Empowering Your Organization's Security and Efficiency

Simplifying access permissions during employee transitions ensures smooth operations while safeguarding sensitive data. Zluri introduces the revolutionary Employee App Store (EAS), a self-serve model that transforms access request management into an efficient and secure process. Say goodbye to manual permission management! Zluri's EAS enables team members and approvers to review and approve access requests tailored to specific job roles effortlessly. 

This granular approach ensures employees have the necessary access, preventing unauthorized entry to sensitive information. With Zluri, you gain unparalleled control over access privileges within your organization's boundaries. Utilizing cutting-edge technology, you can effortlessly protect critical data, mitigating the risk of unauthorized access and retaining complete control over resources available to employees.

The EAS operates on a robust approval system with three distinct levels: app owners, reporting managers, and IT admins. This multi-tiered approach allows higher authorities to override decisions made by lower-level admins or managers, facilitating swift and decisive action when necessary.

Clear explanations and comments accompany approvals and rejections, ensuring employees understand the reasoning behind each decision and promoting collaboration within the access management process.

Further, Zluri's intelligent solutions empower approvers to modify specific access requests, tailoring permissions precisely to your organization's unique requirements. Zluri's IGA solutions offer a comprehensive "changelog" feature to keep all stakeholders informed, allowing users to track updates, including approvals, rejections, and changes to license duration or tiers.

The changelog captures valuable insights, including comments from any admin, promoting a collaborative and well-informed approach to access management. With Zluri's EAS, managing access requests becomes efficient, transparent, and secure, empowering your team to confidently navigate employee transitions.

3.Streamline access certifications & boost productivity with Zluri's IGA solution

Zluri's IGA solution revolutionizes access certifications by embracing automation to its fullest potential. In the fast-paced corporate landscape, time is of the essence, and our groundbreaking approach simplifies and expedites the access review process. No more tedious manual reviews that burden administrators - with Zluri's IGA solution taking care of the bulk of the process, your team can now focus on critical tasks.

Experience an astounding tenfold increase in review efficiency as Zluri's IGA solution swiftly handles access assessments, bidding farewell to the days of slow, laborious reviews. Embrace the power of automation and elevate your team's productivity with Zluri's IGA.

Zluri's Unified Access: A Holistic Approach to Digital Identities

Zluri's IGA solution revolutionizes access management by providing organizations with a comprehensive view of their digital identities. By consolidating user access-related information from various sources into an intuitive platform, Zluri eliminates the complexity of managing multiple directories or identity repositories. 

This ensures that understanding access privileges and user activity becomes effortless, resulting in a seamless and secure user experience.

  • Access Directory: One of the cornerstones of Zluri's IGA solution is its powerful Access Directory. This feature efficiently captures and organizes user information from a wide array of sources across the organization. By centralizing this data, Zluri ensures that every user's identity and associated access privileges are meticulously recorded and maintained in a single, easy-to-access platform. 

    This comprehensive view of user identities reduces the risk of incomplete or inaccurate records, eliminating potential access blind spots. Organizations can now confidently review and manage access privileges, fostering compliance with security policies and regulations.

  • Centralized Access Privileges Management: Zluri's unified access approach empowers administrators with unprecedented visibility and control over user access privileges. Instead of dealing with fragmented access management systems, Zluri brings all access-related information together, enabling admins to effortlessly monitor and modify access rights across the entire organization. 

    This centralized management not only streamlines administrative tasks but also enhances security. Administrators can quickly identify any discrepancies or suspicious access patterns, ensuring that users have the appropriate level of access based on their roles and responsibilities. By maintaining a well-aligned access landscape, organizations fortify their defense against potential data breaches and insider threats.

  • Real-time Activity Tracking and Alerts: Zluri's IGA solution goes beyond traditional access management by adopting a proactive security approach. It continuously monitors user activity in real-time, tracking actions and interactions with sensitive data and systems. This meticulous monitoring extends to access attempts and user behavior, allowing the system to detect unusual or unauthorized activities.

    The system's vigilant alert mechanism provides immediate notifications to admins when it detects anomalous behavior, enabling swift responses to potential security incidents. By taking a proactive stance, organizations can mitigate risks before they escalate into significant breaches, safeguarding critical assets and maintaining business continuity.

Automated Reviews: Empowering Efficiency and Security through Automation

Traditional manual access review processes have long been a source of frustration, hindering productivity and exposing organizations to security risks. However, Zluri's IGA solution brings a transformative approach with its cutting-edge automated review capabilities. 

By seamlessly integrating automation into access management, Zluri's IGA empowers your team to operate with greater efficiency, reducing human errors, and reinforcing security measures.

  • Access Rules and Policies: With Zluri's IGA, you gain full control over access rules and policies, allowing them to customize access based on roles, responsibilities, and specific business requirements. Automation plays a pivotal role here, enabling to conduct instant reviews and validations of user access against pre-established criteria. 

    This not only streamlines the review process but also eliminates any ambiguity, ensuring that access is only granted to authorized personnel. By enforcing such stringent controls, Zluri's IGA significantly bolsters security and mitigates the risk of unauthorized access.

  • Scheduled Certification: Zluri's IGA takes a proactive approach to access management with its forward-thinking scheduling feature. The system automates reviews at regular intervals, ensuring that access rights remain up-to-date and aligned with evolving security policies and best practices. 

    By conducting periodic certifications, you can maintain a consistent and compliant access environment, reducing the potential for security gaps to emerge over time. This continuous monitoring and updating of access privileges contribute to an optimized security posture.

  • Auto Remediation: In the event of security vulnerabilities or potential threats, Zluri's IGA solution shines with its efficient automated remediation actions. The platform offers a range of automated responses, such as revoking access, notifying users and managers, or initiating access request workflows for approvals. 

    This swift and automated response to security incidents ensures that potential risks are mitigated promptly, minimizing the window of opportunity for cyber threats to exploit any weaknesses. By relying on automated remediation, your team can maintain a proactive defense and reinforce their overall security strategy.

    Through seamless automation integration with access reviews, Zluri's IGA significantly streamlines the entire process, freeing up precious time and resources that can be redirected to more critical tasks. By minimizing manual intervention, the system effectively reduces the likelihood of human errors, ensuring accurate and consistent access reviews.

    Furthermore, the automated approach empowers you to maintain high-security resilience. Scheduled certifications proactively review access permissions continuously, enabling you to stay ahead of potential security risks and compliance issues.

    Zluri's IGA solution dramatically reduces the burden of access reviews through the power of automation. The platform automates key tasks and simplifies the overall workflow, resulting in a remarkable 70% reduction in manual efforts related to access reviews for your team. With Zluri's IGA in place, your organization can experience enhanced efficiency and security while focusing on core business objectives.

Explore how to automate user access reviews with Zluri’s ‘Access certification’ module: 

  • Step 1: To automate access reviews, access Zluri's main interface and navigate to the "Access certification" module. Within the module, select the option to create a ‘new certification.’

  • Step 2: Assign a name to the certification and designate an owner who will oversee the automated access reviews.

  • Step 3: Choose the preferred method of reviewing user access by exploring the options: Application, Users, and Groups.

  • Step 4: Opt for the "Application" review method if desired and add the relevant application(s) to be audited for users' access. 

  • Step 5: Select a primary reviewer and a fallback reviewer from the dropdown menu for the automated access reviews.

  • Step 6: Select the users to be included in the automated access reviews process and apply data filtering to refine the user selection based on certification requirements.

  • Step 7: Proceed to the next step and configure the actions to be performed during the automated access reviews, choosing from the provided dropdown list of actions.

    Note: If there are multiple applications to be included in the same certification, repeat the process of adding applications as needed.

  • Step 8: Specify the start and end dates for the automated access certification process, ensuring they align with recurring or scheduled certifications.

  • Step 9: Save the configuration as a template for future use by clicking on the "Save Template" option.

  • Step 10: Monitor the progress and updates of the automated access review process for the specific certification by regularly checking the "Review Stage" section.

    Thanks to Zluri's IGA handling most of the review process, your workforce can now redirect their valuable time and skills towards more strategic endeavors. So what are you waiting for? Book a demo now and experience it yourself! 


Mastering SaaS Vendor Management: A Comprehensive Guide-2023

Shadow IT in the SaaS World - A Complete Guide

Introducing Zluri's Modern Identity Governance & Administration platform for the cloud-forward world

SaaS Sprawl - The Ultimate Guide

SaaS Operations (SaaS Ops) - The Complete Guide


Mastering SaaS Vendor Management: A Comprehensive Guide-2023

An obese SaaS stack leads to SaaS wastage. It's a disease! It not only causes financial issues but also gives you security and compliance problems. That's why you must keep tight control on your SaaS stack. And it begins with managing your SaaS vendors. 

Shadow IT in the SaaS World - A Complete Guide

In this post, you'll learn about shadow IT due to SaaS apps. You'll also learn the most common types of shadow apps categories, shadow IT risks, and shadow IT benefits.

Introducing Zluri's Modern Identity Governance & Administration platform for the cloud-forward world

Zluri's Modern IGA solution helps companies mitigate security and compliance risks. Govern access to your SaaS for the entire user lifecycle through user provisioning, automated access reviews, and self-service access requests.

SaaS Sprawl - The Ultimate Guide

When an organization has a large number of SaaS applications in its SaaS stack, it gives rise to SaaS Sprawl.

SaaS Operations (SaaS Ops) - The Complete Guide

SaaS operations consist of procuring the right set of SaaS apps, managing access to these apps by users/departments, monitoring their usage, and offboarding them properly when they are no longer needed.

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