Guide: Access Control

Access Control 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Database Access Control

For organizations of all sizes, security is a top priority. If you work with sensitive data or expensive equipment, ensuring data security and safeguarding your company’s assets is critical to its success. In this regard, an access control mechanism in DBMS (Database Management Systems) can enable or prohibit user access to data and let your employees go where they need to go, and that is it.

Ultimately, access control in a DBMS can make your employees’ lives easier, save you money, and keep your workplace safe.

This article will tackle database access control in information security, particularly:

This is a part of our extensive access control guide.

What Is Database Access Control?

Database access control, or DB access control, is a method of allowing access to a company’s sensitive information only to user groups who are allowed to access such data and restricting access to unauthorized persons to prevent data breaches in database systems.


Database Access Control in DBMS includes two main components: authentication and authorization.


Authentication is a means of confirming a person’s identity when accessing your database. It is important to remember that user authentication is not enough to keep data safe. Authorization, which establishes whether a user’s level of access or data access control is appropriate, is an additional layer of protection. Ultimately, there is no data security without authentication and authorization.


Every company today that has employees who interact with data, and thus every organization, needs to establish data access control.

Examples of Database Access Control

After shedding light on the question “What is Access Control?” it is now important to note that these controls are in place to safeguard resources from unauthorized, illegal access and ensure that subjects can only access objects using secure, pre-approved procedures.


With that, the most well-known examples of Database Access Control include:

Discretionary Access Control (DAC)

The data owner grants access to DAC models. DAC is a method for assigning access rights based on rules defined by the user.

Mandatory Access Control (MAC)

In MAC, people are permitted access based on an information clearance, designed using a nondiscretionary paradigm. MAC refers to a policy that assigns access permissions based on central authority regulations.

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

RBAC uses fundamental security principles like “least privilege” and “separation of privilege” to give access depending on a user’s role. As a result, someone wanting to access information can only access the data required for their function.

Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC)

Each resource and user in ABAC receives a set of attributes. This dynamic approach makes a judgment on resource access based on comparing the user’s features, such as time of day, position, and location.

How Database Access Control Systems Work

Database Access Control Systems work on three sides: the user, the administrator, and the infrastructure.


  • The User: When an employee wishes to enter a restricted area, they must provide their credentials. An unlock request gets made at a card reader, which sends the information to an Access Control Unit, subsequently authorizing the user and opening the door.
  • The Administrator: An access control system has a management dashboard or portal on the administrative side. Office administrators, IT managers, and security chiefs can use the control portal to specify who has access to the premises and under what conditions.
  • The System Infrastructure: An access control system’s infrastructure includes electric locks, card readers, door status for traffic monitoring, and requests to exit devices, all of which report to the control panel and the server.

Best Practices for Database Access Control

Here are some of the Best Practices in employing a Database Access Control system.

Focus on Access to Sensitive Data

One of the realities of running a major company is collecting vast volumes of sensitive data, which is then kept and handled in databases. As a result, databases are a common target for cyberattacks.


As a result, it is critical to concentrate on data security. Begin by requesting that your IT department create a baseline of current access levels and policies. With this, you will be able to detect the flaws in your existing processes and catch any major offenders, such as someone who runs a business from their desk.

Data Encryption

Data in transit, or data in motion, is actively moving from one area to another, such as over the Internet or a private network. On the other hand, data at rest is information that is not actively moving from one device to another or from one network to another, such as information kept on a hard drive, laptop, flash drive, or archived or stored in another fashion.


Modern businesses must protect sensitive data both in transit and at rest, as cybercriminals develop new ways to compromise systems and steal data. Encryption is a popular tool for securing data in transit and at rest, and it plays a big role in data protection.

Education to all Data Stakeholders

It may come as a surprise, but an organization’s employees incur the biggest risks to its cybersecurity.


Although the biggest bearers of risks, a company’s employees also hold the greatest benefits to an organization’s cybersecurity. Through continuous education and a comprehensive security training program, employees can provide extra security by acting as another layer of defense.

Apply the Doctrine of Least Privilege

A good starting point for setting access controls is employing the Doctrine of Least Privilege, which essentially runs on the principle that one should not have access to it if one does not need to work with it.

Auditing and Monitoring

Auditing and Monitoring are good measures to ensure Database Access Control security. Since employees are more inclined to test access restrictions when no one is watching, companies can remind their employees that their data access activities get monitored.


Ensuring that your database is secure against malicious attacks is not an easy endeavor but necessary.


Although data breaches evolve with the evolution of security procedures, keeping an updated, healthy protocol can be beneficial in lowering the risk of being targeted by cybercriminals or successfully evading a breach attempt.

Satori Simplifies Database Access Control

Satori, The DataSecOps platform, provides a security layer for data access, whether it’s databases, data warehouses, or data lakes.

Last updated on

February 20, 2022

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