Guide: Access Control

Fine-Grained Attribute-Based Access Control

Security is a primary concern for any business, big or small. With easy access to a global market right from your home or office, even new companies need to establish a firm base of computer data security to grow with confidence.

Controlling access is a component of data security that determines who has access to data, to what data, and for how long. It is a basic notion in security that seeks to reduce companies’ or entities’ threat of exposure.

Automated access control systems focus on protecting:

  • Login details
  • Key card readers
  • Internal audits
  • Reports monitoring employee access to data
  • Secured corporate offices
  • Internally developed areas, such as data centers

All of these entities rely on access control systems to secure facilities. Logical access control systems are accountable for users’ and agencies’ recognition, verification, and authorization. This effective authorization solution is accomplished by analyzing required login credentials, including usernames and passwords, personal identification numbers, biometric scans, cryptographic keys, or any other authentication criterion.

This article provides a greater discussion on the topic of access control.

What is Fine-Grained Access Control?

The ability to grant or deny access to data assets, such as information and resources, based on numerous conditions and multiple claims to an individual data asset is referred to as fine-grained access control.

One of the most common uses for fine-grained access control is cloud computing, where many data sources get kept simultaneously. This type of access control assigns unique access control policies to each piece of data. This criterion is based on a wide range of particular circumstances. Two of the most prevalent functions are the individual asking for access and the operation planned to get taken upon the material.

Coarse-Grained Vs Fine-Grained Data Access Control

Compared to generalized data access control, which is referred to as coarse-grained access control, fine-grained access control uses more subtle and varied approaches to grant or deny access.

Why is Fine-Grained Access Control Important?

Regarding cloud computing, having the capability to store massive amounts of data simultaneously confers a significant advantage over the competition. However, this data can be diverse in nature, origin, and protection level, especially when considering the information security compliance rules and regulations that apply to consumer data or banking information.


Access constraints are altered by fine-grained access control policies to permit the secure exchange of numerous additional classified information resources. This greater level of control over data access is vital to remain compliant and secure. Accomplishing this goal necessitates using a fine-grained authorization solution that is both reliable and efficient.


Moreover, the data will not be made publicly available for sharing because there is no way to exclude sensitive details or complete entries based on the requirements applied at such a fine-grained level. If controlling access can only be set at the directory levels, the whole directory will stay off-limits even though it only consists of one of the several hundreds of documents for which a user does not have permission.

4 Types of Access Control to Combine with Fine-Grained Access Control

There are three main elements of fine-grained access control.

1. Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC)

An approach known as attribute-based access control or ABAC controls access rights by analyzing a collection of rules, regulations, and linkages using consumer attributes, systems, and environmental factors.

The attributes attached to individual users and pieces of data get considered when deciding who has access to what using a method known as attribute-based access control. These attributes could consist of a user’s position or several roles, but they could also contain their geolocation, the time of day, and other aspects. Data attributes might comprise a wide variety of information about the data itself, such as its kind, when it got created, or where it is stored, among other things.

2. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

Role-based access control approaches are used to classify users into roles and allow or prohibit access depending on the assigned roles, ignoring other considerations. The roles may be too broad or limited to scale. So, combining fine-grained access control with RBAC can fulfill some of the shortcomings of RBAC while still maintaining its efficiency.

3. Policy-Based Access Control (PBAC)

Policy-based access control integrates roles and attributes using adaptable and changing logical linkages. It is a fine-grained access control solution since it employs numerous attributes to evaluate if and how you may access information.

4. Just-In-Time Access Control (JIT)

Just-in-time is an agile method of granting and revoking temporary access as needed. In this case, authorization can be JIT in or on a need to know access to data. These temporary authorizations are simple to implement on dispersed data and enable automation of the process.

Combining ABAC with Fine-Grained Access Control

ABAC makes it simpler and more secure for users to design a comprehensive and intricate access control policy. Combing ABAC with fine-grained access control means you can establish multiple conditions or entitlements to restrict access; improving the ability to securely share data.

You can implement a rich set of standard operating procedures and authorization solution standards with the help of fine-grained authorization. The attributes can include various criteria, including time, location, role, number of roles, and action, on which access is predicated.


The following are some instances when fine-grained access control are necessary to maintain business rules. 

  • When reviewing and examining claims for loss of incentives. The following information is often visible on a business computer as part of the review process: claim adjusters, a contract owner’s identity, social security number, and salary. In this case, it is important to ensure that invoiced charges, typically part of the same dataset, remain obscured to prevent compromising the confidentiality of financial information.
  • Claims adjusters examining billed fees should not be privy to the wage data or the social security numbers of the individuals who have signed contracts.
  • Adjusters should only be able to view generic information regarding contract holders allocated to their agency, a division representative, or a contractor of the organization unless a specific case classification has gotten established.

These complicated business rules call for access restrictions that are of a finer grain. Even though the data resource is coarse, the constraints you must implement can be fine-grained.

Fine-Grained Attribute-Based Access Control with Satori

Fine-grained attributed-based access control can help companies comply with standards and regulations and ensure data security. Using these attributes you can ensure that authorization policies are detailed and specific to ensure security and compliance. 

Satori’s self-service data access portal provides fine-grained access control including dynamic data masking and row-level security across databases, data warehouses, and data lakes. 

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Last updated on

November 24, 2022

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