Learning Center - What is access control? | Authorization vs authentication

Access control is a set of rules designed to determine who is granted access to a restricted location or restricted information. Access control is a security term used to refer to a set of policies for restricting access to information, tools, and physical locations. Although this article focuses on information access control, physical access control is a useful comparison for understanding the overall concept.

Physical access control is a set of policies to control who is granted access to a physical location. Real-world examples of physical access control include the following:

  • Bar-room bouncers
  • Subway turnstiles
  • Airport customs agents
  • Keycard or badge scanners in corporate offices

In all of these examples, a person or device is following a set of policies to decide who gets access to a restricted physical location. For example, a hotel keycard scanner only grants access to authorized guests who have a hotel key. Learn more in the Cloudflare Learning Center.

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