Role Based Access Control (RBAC) – Minimal Access, Maximum Security


What is Role Based Access Control (RBAC)? – It is a method used to control access to computer systems based on the roles of individual users within a business. RBAC ensures that each user account on the network is only delegated the least amount of privilege to carry out their role.

RBAC solves the problem of people carrying out their daily tasks on their computer systems with excess privileges. If a user was logged on with full admin rights, and their account was compromised, a cyber criminal would have a full run of your network and would unapologetically do whatever they wished to make money from you and your business.

“I need to have administrative rights, I’m the IT Manager” – in this case, the IT Manager (let’s call her Jen) requires two accounts on the network. One account to use everyday to check her e-mails, write documents, pay invoices, order equipment etc, and then another account to use only when Jen needs to carry out an admin task. Example – Account 1 = Jen, Account 2 = admin.Jen

“My account needs to have administrative rights because I reset staff passwords when they get locked out” – in this case, the very specific task of resetting passwords for a very small group of people could be delegated to this member of staff (let’s call them Moss); Moss doesn’t require an extra account, Moss doesn’t need admin privileges, Moss is just delegated that one task of resetting passwords for his team only.

RBAC is not a one-size-fits-all solution confined to a single area of IT; whether it’s managing user permissions within Active Directory, configuring access in cloud-based platforms like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, or securing access to applications, firewalls, and beyond, the principles of RBAC apply universally. Its flexibility allows it to be integrated into virtually any IT infrastructure, ensuring that regardless of the technology or platform your business uses, RBAC can be tailored to meet your specific needs. So, while Active Directory might be a common starting point, remember that RBAC’s potential extends far and wide, offering a comprehensive approach to access control that works with any single technology or platform.

Naturally, there is a small amount of administrative overhead and a slight change in procedure, but the benefits are there and the benefits are clear…

Cyber Essentials Certification

Implementing RBAC is a step towards achieving this important security standard.

Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurers love businesses that adopt RBAC.

Lower Compromise Risk

By minimising unnecessary access, RBAC significantly reduces the chances of a successful cyber attack.


As your business grows, RBAC makes it easier to manage access rights for new roles and users.

Reduced Lockout Risk

With individual admin accounts, losing access to one doesn’t mean losing control over the entire system.

In essence, Role Based Access Control (RBAC) is a crucial strategy for enhancing your business’ security and operational efficiency. By granting users only the privileges they need, RBAC not only minimises the risk of security breaches but also supports business growth and compliance objectives. Adopting RBAC means taking a significant step towards a more secure, manageable, and scalable IT environment. It’s a wise choice in the protection and future-proofing of your IT estate.

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