Authentication vs Authorisation: Learn the Difference

Authentication vs Authorisation: Learn the Difference
Authentication vs Authorisation: Learn the Difference

Authentication and authorisation are the two most important network security parameters—often used interchangeably. However, they differ from one another. Both authentication and authorisation are necessary to deal with sensitive data security and protection against malicious online attacks.

Cybercriminal attacks and online threats are anticipated to cost upto $10.5 trillion annually by 2025—from just $3 trillion in 2015.

Such increasing risks of online attacks and the estimated costs associated with them lead to the growing need for secure remote access, strong authorisation, and Multi-Factor Authentication solutions. Within your organisation’s security strategy.

This article will learn and understand the difference between authentication and authorisation.

What is Authentication?

Authentication is the method of verifying the user identity. It simply verifies who the user is and whether they are who they claim to be.

An authentication example would simply be any password-protected website, platform, or application. If you enter the right password—it verifies your identity and grants you access to that specific website or platform.

Another example would be the identity and security check you need to go through at the airport before onboarding your flight.

However, of course, authentication can be compromised if you share your password or other critical credentials with other users–-which is why businesses incorporate Multi-factor Authentication Security, which we’ll get into later.

What is Authorisation?

Once the user is authenticated—authorisation grants access to specific applications or resources per the user’s request.

It’s the method of verifying what exactly the user is allowed to do or what specific applications, files, data, resources they can access once they’re granted access.

For instance, once you’re granted access to a website, it’ll land you on the page you’re allowed to access based on your role and account. Similarly, once your security and identity checks are completed—you’ll be onboarded on the relevant flight and only allowed to fly on the class and seat number you’ve been booked for.

Thus, you can grant user-specific and role-based access to your users and restrict access to critical files, applications, resources, and data through authorisation.

Now, let’s understand more about the differences between these two processes.

Authentication vs Authorisation: Understanding the Key Differences

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It’s the process of verifying the user identity. 

It’s the process of permitting access to resources and determining the applications and resources a user can access. 

Authentication or the adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication works with one-time pins, passwords, biometric information, and other data the user provides. 

Authorisation works with identity and access settings and control policies that the organisation maintains and implements. 

The user has the authority to view and partially change their authentication credentials. 

The user cannot view or change the authorisation policies as an organisation maintain them. 

Authentication is the first and foremost step of an ideal identity and management process. 

The authorisation is the second step and always occurs after the authentication is completed. 

The network security staff’s responsibility is to determine the authentication factors to adopt. 

While the leadership and departments set the security strategies and control access policies, the network security staff maintains and implements the access control system. 

Authentication and Authorisation in Zero Trust Security Networking

The Zero Trust Network Security model is a modern security solution that replaces the traditional VPN technology and works on the principle of “Never Trust, Always Verify”.

While VPNs protects network access, it allows universal and open access to the network resources and applications. The Zero Trust Network model, on the other hand, authenticates the user first and then provides authorised and trusted access to the users to specific applications.

Here are the benefits of Multi-Factor Authentication and authorisation when you implement it with your Zero Trust setup:

  • Protects user accounts and prevents identity and credentials theft.
  • Seamlessly works with hybrid workplaces by managing complex user access requests with ease.
  • Simplifies authentication for users with a single-click and one-tap login—enhancing user experience.
  • Protects weak user and employee passwords through Multi-Factor authentication.
  • Strengthens security and reinforces secure login access across all applications.

Thus, the Zero Trust model and authentication work hand-in-hand to ensure strict access and security against cyberattacks and data breaches.


Authentication and authorisation are two critical and distinct components of an organisation’s access control system and security process. One is incomplete without another, and you need to implement both to preserve your network’s credibility and integrity.

While authentication confirms and verifies user identities, authorisation can’t grant access without knowing who the user is and what resources and applications they’re allowed to access—working together as a single powerful security tool.

Therefore, if you wish to leverage these benefits and implement authorisation and user authentication, then check out our InstaSafe security solutions for your organisation. Our flexible and easily configurable Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication provides smart and secure authenticated access with SSO and MFA for successful user verification and secure remote access. So, get in touch with us or book a demo to experience our Zero Trust services.