(Role Based Access Control)

Moving Beyond Role-Based Access Control: The Future of Cloud-Based Application Security

Understanding the Downfalls of RBAC and the Rise of Dynamic Access Permissions

In the early days of cloud computing, many businesses relied on role-based access control (RBAC) as a means of managing access to cloud-based applications. RBAC systems defined roles, such as administrator or user, and granted permissions based on those roles. However, as cloud-based applications have become more complex and the threat landscape has evolved, RBAC has become less effective and less secure. In this article, Let’s explore the weaknesses of RBAC and the rise of dynamic access permissions as the future of enterprise security and compliance.

What is Role-Based Access Control?

Role-based access control (RBAC) is a security model that restricts access to computer resources based on the roles assigned to individual users within an organization. An RBAC system grants permissions based on the user's job function or title, rather than the individual's identity. For example, an administrator might have permission to access all functions of a cloud-based application, while a regular user might only have permission to view and edit their own data.

The Weaknesses of RBAC

While RBAC can be effective in simple situations, it has a number of drawbacks that make it less effective as cloud-based applications become more complex:

Limited Flexibility: RBAC systems are rigid and inflexible, making it difficult to grant or revoke access to specific resources based on changing circumstances. If an individual needs access to a resource that falls outside of their role, an administrator must manually grant that permission, which can be time-consuming and error-prone. Increased Risk of Security Breaches: RBAC relies on predefined roles and permissions, which can become outdated or no longer relevant as applications evolve. This can leave sensitive resources vulnerable to exploitation by unauthorized users.

Lack of Granularity: RBAC systems typically do not provide a granular level of access control. For example, a user might have access to all data within a particular database, even if they only need access to a subset of that data.

Dynamic Access Permissions: The Future of Cloud-Based Application Security

To address the shortcomings of RBAC, many organizations are turning to dynamic access permissions. Unlike RBAC, which assigns permissions based on roles, dynamic access permissions use contextual information to determine whether to grant access to specific resources. This approach can take into account a range of factors, such as the user's location, device, and behavior, as well as the sensitivity of the resource being accessed.

Dynamic access permissions provide a number of benefits over RBAC:

Enhanced Flexibility: Dynamic access permissions can adjust access permissions in real time based on changing circumstances, allowing organizations to maintain an appropriate level of security without relying on manual intervention.

Increased Security: By evaluating a wider range of contextual information, dynamic access permissions are better able to identify and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive resources.

Greater Granularity: Dynamic access permissions allow for a more granular level of access control, enabling organizations to grant access to only the resources that a user needs to do their job.


While RBAC has served as a useful access control mechanism in the past, it has become less effective in the face of today's complex and evolving cloud-based applications. Dynamic access permissions offer a more effective and secure way to manage access to cloud-based resources, and are likely to become the norm in enterprise security and compliance. By leveraging the latest technologies and security frameworks, organizations can protect their sensitive data while still providing their users with the access they need to get their jobs done.

Ready to move beyond RBAC and adopt dynamic access permissions for all of your cloud-based applications? Our team of security experts can help you explore best practices for enterprise security and compliance. Ensuring you provide compliant, automated access for the right user, to the right resource, for the right length of time.

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