Authentication vs Authorization: What is the Difference? [Infographic]

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Authentication vs Authorization: What is the Difference? [Infographic]

Authentication recognizes users by verifying who they claim to be, whilst authorization is the process of determining the rights and privileges of a user.

· Security Zone ·
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When businesses move towards digital maturity in times of robust cloud-based systems and strict online protection, authentication and authorization are used in combination with each other (also, sometimes interchangeably).

Though both terms sound similar, they refer to entirely different security processes. Within the Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) scope, authentication verifies the identity of a user, Authorization validates when the user has access to execute a particular function.

Authentication, in other words, recognizes users by verifying who they claim they are, while authorization is the process of determining a user's rights and privileges.

Authentication and Authorization Defined

Authentication is the method of user authentication and confirmation of who they appear to be. A password is one of the most common and obvious factors for authenticating identity. If the user name matches the credential of the password, it means the identity is valid, and the system grants the user access.

Authorization takes place after successful authentication of the identity of a user. To get the job done, it's about offering full or partial access rights to resources such as databases, funds, and other critical information.

Authentication vs. Authorization Techniques

Here are the popular techniques of authentication vs authorization used by CIAM solutions.

However, note that in both authentication and authorization technologies such as JWT, SAML, OpenID Authorization, and OAuth are used.

Authentication Techniques

Password-based authentication is a simple authentication method that requires a password to verify the identity of the user.

Passwordless authentication is where a user is verified by OTP or by a magic link provided to the registered email or phone number.

2FA / MFA includes the authentication of a user and the granting of access to a device by more than one security level, such as an additional PIN.

Authorization Techniques

RBAC (Role-based access controls) can be implemented for privilege management of the system to system and user to the system.

JSON web token (JWT) is an open standard for data transmission between parties in a secure manner and users are authorized using a public / private key pair.

SAML is a standard Single Sign-On (SSO) format in which authentication information is exchanged via digitally signed XML documents

In the organizational context, centralized identity and access control systems will play a major role in providing efficient authentication and user authorization.

Check the infographic generated by LoginRadius to learn more about the authentication vs authorization definition, differences, and techniques.

Authorization vs Authentication infographic

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