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Difference Between Authentication and Authorization

Though they sound similar, the two terms Authentication and Authorization cannot be used interchangeably and are a separate security process, especially when it comes to accessing the data. Both have entirely different concepts. The fundamental difference and the comparison between these terms are mentioned here, in this article below. Here, we have analysed the difference between authentication and authorization.

These two terms are discussed in this article are:

  • Authentication
  • Authorization

What is Authentication?

Authentication is the process of determining the user’s identity via the available credentials, thus verifying the identity. Some ways to authenticate one’s identity are listed here:

  • Usernames or passwords can be used to establish one’s identity, thus gaining access to the system.
  • OTPs are another way to get access to the system for a single transaction
  • Apps that generate security codes via the third party, thus enabling access for the user
  • Biometrics such as an eye scan or fingerprints can be used to gain access

Some systems may require successful verification via multiple factors.

What is Authorization?

Authorization, meanwhile, is the process of providing permission to access the system. Authorization often follows authentication and is listed as various types. They are:

  • Single-Factor Authentication- use only a username and password, thus enabling the user to access the system quite easily.
  • Two-level security asks for a two-step verification, thus authenticating the user to access the system. For this process, along with the username and password, some unique information including security questions, like first school name and such details, need to be answered. Or the user identity can also be verified with OTP.
  • An advanced level secure authorization calls for multiple level security from varied independent categories. These are also utilised more by financial institutions, banks or law enforcement agencies, thus eliminating the need for data exposure to a 3rd party or hackers.

What is the Difference between Authentication and Authorization?

Authentication means to confirm your own identity, while authorization means to grant access to the system. In simple terms, authentication verifies who you are, while authorization verifies what you have access to. Learn more about what is the difference between authentication and authorization from the table below.

Difference between Authentication and Authorization

Authentication Authorization
User identity is confirmed Here, the user is given permission to access the system / resources after validation
User and user server is verified Here it is validated if the user is allowed to access via some defined rules
Login details, usernames, passwords, OTPs required Checks the security level and privilege of the user, thus determining what the user can or cannot have access to
Data is available via Token IDs Data provided via Access token
User can partially change the authentication details as per the requirement User cannot modify the Authorization permissions as it is given to a user by the owner/manager of the system, and only has the authority to change it.

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