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Authorization is a process by which a system determines if the client has permission to use a resource or access a file.  It is usually coupled with authentication so that the server has the assurance of who the client is that is requesting access.  The type of authentication required for authorization may vary; only passwords may be required in some cases, but passwords and 2-Step Login will be required for tasks that require a higher level of user assurance.

Principle of Least Privilege

Individuals should be granted the least access sufficient to complete their University responsibilities. Individuals that are granted privileged access accounts should use the least privileged account for day-to-day activities; privileged accounts should only be used when the elevated privilege is required by the system or application.  For more information please see the Privileged Access Standard.

Updating User Access 

Authorization Methods

The University requires that the proposed solution meet the University identity access management Account Authentication Standard.  The following approved  methods of authorization are listed in preference. If a service does not apply good authorization practices then it is possible that all users in our directory servers (200,000+) will have access to the application.

  • Shibboleth Attributes
  • Using Active Directory Groups
  • Using 389 LDAP Groups
  • Local to the Application (If local authorization is used in any capacity, it must be approved by The Information Security Office)

Granting Access:

  • The Data Owner and Service Owner should agree on what criteria determines the membership of each user group.  For a high-level overview of possible populations and their classification please see EduPerson Codes (Albany).
  • If the application has different security roles, the Data Owner and Service Owner should agree on the access role a group receives.

Removing Access:

Appropriate procedures should be put into place to ensure the access is revoked when no longer needed.

  • The access of users should be evaluated and updated regularly against the eligibility criteria for a security role.
  • The Service Owner should determine if a retention period is needed and if so, what is it? E.G. Financial records may need to be maintained.
  • Do accounts need to be purged from the system?  E.G. Number of licenses consumed.

Access Review

User, privileged, and shared accounts should be periodically reviewed, at least annually.

Glossary of Terms

  • Access and Compliance Agreement - A document required by ITS and Internal controls to ensure you understand your responsibility when accessing the University resources and data.
  • De-Provisioning - The process of removing access from an individual when their status at the University changes and no longer makes them eligible.
  • Data Owners - The person who is responsible for a certain type or classification of data at the University.  E.G. The Registrar is responsible for student data.
  • Service Owner - The department or person who is responsible for the application and maintaining security for data contained therewithin.
  • Security roles - A grouping of access controls that is assigned to one or more individuals. 
  • User security - The ability to read or modify the information contained in an application E.G Update a student's grade within IAS.

For more information please see: