In an era fueled by data-driven insights, the protection of sensitive information has never been more critical. As organizations and individuals navigate the vast expanse of data, the need for finely-tuned access controls has grown exponentially. Enter the world of purpose-based access controls - a revolutionary paradigm that allows placing data products at the very heart of safeguarding digital assets.
Data products on one hand, let them be carefully curated datasets, analytics dashboards or predictive models that drive business decisions, logically combine data objects to serve one or more use-cases either on itself or in combination with other data products. Purpose-based access controls on the other hand revolutionize the traditional approach to security. Unlike rigid access control mechanisms, purpose-based access controls allow granular access permissions tailored to specific user intentions and use-cases. Harnessing data products as a cornerstone for purpose-based access controls is a game-changer which places the management of access controls where it truly belongs.
When to use PBAC
Purpose-based access controls ensure that each user’s access is restricted to only the data relevant to their specific role and task, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches. It turns out very useful in situations where people with different roles need to access a subset of the same data for different purposes.
Let’s consider a healthcare organization with doctors, nurses and administrators as job roles for example. In an RBAC system doctors might have access to all patient records, regardless of their purpose while other roles would not be able to access these patient records. However, in a PBAC system you can manage this access in a more fine-grained manner:
Purpose-based access controls allow you to limit access to the data users need to perform a task, and only that data.. In environments where data privacy and compliance are critical or where the use of data is communicated transparently to customers, PBAC brings this transparency to data access.
PBAC and separation of concerns
PBAC assists in complying with data protection regulations, as access is explicitly tied to specific purposes, making it easier to audit and report on compliance with regulatory requirements such as purpose limitation. This also brings you a competitive advantage from an ethics point of view: you are able to clearly indicate to your customers what you do with your data which is increasingly becoming important to them.
Compared to RBAC, PBAC allows a unique separation of concerns, enabling organizations to scale access controls beyond what is possible with RBAC. This can be obtained by using PBAC in conjunction with ABAC and tagging data with its intended purposes, yet there are different ways to obtain the same result.
Just like RBAC, PBAC can benefit from permission or role inheritance. In contrast to RBAC this inheritance focusses both on data as well as functionality, where role inheritance in RBAC is purely function-oriented. On one side, you can group certain data objects and permissions in an access control which would reflect a data product, a self-contained unit of data that is created, managed, and served independently by a team known as a "Data Product Team", and on the other side you can combine multiple data products for a functional purpose.
This brings you in a situation where your data products become the cornerstone of your access management mechanism. Doing this through access controls rather than grouping data products in a schema or folder, has the benefit that you can use the same data object in multiple data products.
In larger organizations no single person can know all the data and all its users. Through this separation a data owner can group his data into a data product and manage which purposes are allowed to use his data, whereas someone else can decide who within the organization works on certain purposes. By separating the responsibility of managing access, you increase the scalability and maintainability of it.
How does Raito help with PBAC?
Contrarily to the other tools in your data stack, Raito allows you to document the purposes of your access controls. We ask to explicitly define the purpose for data access ensuring clarity and precision in access controls.
A data access management tool like Raito can streamline the setup of a PBAC system even more. It allows analyzing contextual attributes and implementing ABAC supporting your PBAC, even when the underlying data sources don’t. Furthermore, it offers data or purpose owners the ability to properly investigate whether an access request is valid.
Raito also simplifies the management of your access controls. When you implement the separation of concerns with data product access controls and purpose access controls, Raito assists even more as it provides you with an access lineage graph to properly investigate such inherited access.
And of course, Raito offers you an overview of all your purposes and the changes made to them.
You can start with PBAC today
As data breaches continue to pose a significant threat to organizations worldwide, adopting purpose-based access controls has become a crucial step towards ensuring data security and privacy. By choosing PBAC over traditional access control mechanisms like ACL or RBAC, organizations can establish a context-aware and granular data access management system that aligns access permissions with specific purposes.
Leveraging a robust data access management tool like Raito further simplifies the set-up and maintenance of PBAC policies, ultimately safeguarding sensitive data and meeting regulatory requirements.
Embracing the power of PBAC is a proactive approach that empowers you to protect your most valuable asset - data. You can take this next step in data access management already today by reaching out to Raito.