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Authentication vs. Authorization

Security processes that drive your Identity and Access Management (IAM) strategy. Discover the smarter way to authenticate.

What Is Authentication?

Authentication is one of many cybersecurity processes a company uses to protect company assets. The goal is to ensure a user's identity before granting access.

With authorization, users are enabled with permission to access certain functions or information. This layer of security is a way to grant employee access privilege while controlling access to critical resources. 

A company should provide authorization when a remote worker, employee, or client needs to receive access to a specific application or file. For example, a business may require their employees to have permission to download specific files from the company server but would want to restrict them from accessing more confidential financial files.

Another example, a business may want to allow individual users to have administrative access to an endpoint application, such as a Content Management System or a member portal. Businesses may also want to utilize authorization to restrict specific users from accessing confidential data. 

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How Authentication Works

Authentication works like a key in a locked door. Users need to prove who they are to be granted access. Authentication can be granted through login credentials, such as:

  • Usernames and passwords 
  • One-time pins and access tokens
  • Security questions
  • Authentication apps that rely on a phone number or email

This process can involve everything from simple two-factor authentication to more secure, adaptive and biometric multifactor authentication – fingerprint or eye scan. Once the user is authenticated (verified), the system grants access, unlocking that door.

What Is Authorization?

While authentication is the key that lets a user through the door, authorization requires establishing layers of cybersecurity to open or restrict certain areas once they get through that door.

With authorization, users are enabled with permission to access certain functions or information. This layer of security is a way to grant employee access privilege while controlling access to critical resources. 

A company should provide authorization when a remote worker, employee, or client needs to receive access to a specific application or file. For example, a business may require their employees to have permission to download specific files from the company server but would want to restrict them from accessing more confidential financial files.

How Authorization Works


When creating a secure environment for a company's network, applications, and data, authorization should come in right after the authentication process. Once user accounts are validated, then company administrators move them to the next security level by allowing the user to only access the correct resources.

Authentication vs. Authorization

There are many authentication systems available on the market, such as two-factor authentication. Similarly, there are many types of authorization available for businesses. Yet, company leaders often believe they must pick one of two options: authentication vs authorization. 

The truth is the two work hand in hand. Authentication confirms users are who they say they are, validating a user's identity. Authorization gives those authenticated users permission to gain access to a resource. When combined, they fortify every entry point of your business, ensuring all data remains protected.

With LastPass, your business can leverage authentication and authorization policies to create a thorough identity solution. 

Authenticate and Authorize Without Passwords

Identity and access management administrators must understand how to use everything from multifactor authentication to single sign-on to role-based access controls when developing their security infrastructure. Although this process seems complex, LastPass can help by offering a smart and simple cybersecurity solution.

  • Incorporate biometric and contextual authentication factors to better protect your company.
  • Provide employees, remote workers, and clients with a passwordless authentication user experience.
  • Authenticate users seamlessly across all devices to maintain workflow and productivity.
  • Secure every access point, from cloud and on-premises applications to VPNs and workstations, for successful authentication.
  • Ensure biometric data is encrypted at the device level and remains on the user’s device for greater privacy and security.
  • Offer customization to leverage numerous MFA methods for user- or group-level access control.
  • Deliver a centralized list of granular policies to control access rights at individual, group, and organizational levels.
  • Save time and money with a simple deployment process that doesn’t require professional services.
  • Automate provisioning with user directories like Microsoft AD and Microsoft Azure AD, for simple setup and minimal management.
  • Provides multiple authentication protocols and authorization plans to fit a company's size, security needs, and budget.
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Enhanced security and seamless access

Get started today with LastPass and add an intuitive multifactor authentication experience to your security infrastructure. It’s easy for admins to deploy, effortless for employees to adopt, and effective at protecting company assets from cyberattacks.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can create an all-in-one Identity and Access Management plan with LastPass.

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