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Access control to data is crucial when your business is storing sensitive or proprietary information. Any company that has employees connected to the internet must have robust access control measures in place. Daniel Crowley, IBM's X Force Red team head of research, explains that access control is a way to restrict access to a specific group of people and under certain conditions. There are two main components: authentication and authorization.

Authentication involves ensuring that the person you're trying to connect to is who they claim to be. It also includes the verification of a password or other credentials that need to be supplied prior to granting access to the network, application or file.

Authorization is the act of granting access to a specific job function within the company such as marketing, HR, or engineering. Role-based access control (RBAC) is one of the most common and effective ways to limit access. This kind of access is governed by policies that identify the data required for certain business tasks and assigns access rights to the appropriate roles.

If you have a standard access control policy in place it will be easier to monitor and control changes as they occur. It is crucial that policies are clearly communicated with staff to ensure that they be cautious when handling sensitive information. There should also be a procedure in place to revoke access to employees who leave the company, change their position, or are dismissed.