Access: What Dangers Lurk?

Access: What Dangers Lurk?

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Advocate
 Last update: November 25, 2023

Access refers to the ability or the right given to a user, program, or device to connect with, view, or retrieve data from a system or a network. It is the successful interaction between a user and a technology service or system, such as a computer, a web page, or a business information system. Access can be granted or denied based on different factors such as identity, role, or security policies.

Access Examples

#1. Email Access

The process of accessing your email account is a perfect example of the term access. Each of us has a unique username (usually our email address) and a password that we use to sign into our email accounts. This username and password combination, which we keep secret, ensures that only we are able to access our email accounts.

When we enter our email address and our password into the login fields and click ‘sign in’, our credentials are checked against the stored user data. If our details match the records, we are granted access. This means we can read our emails, respond to them, send new messages, delete emails, and so on.

This is a clear demonstration of access – we, as users, interact with the email service system, use our credentials to prove our identity, and secure the right to interact with the data in our email accounts.

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#2. Company Database Access

A company database that stores sensitive and classified information is a great example of controlled access. Depending on their roles and responsibilities within the company, certain employees, such as managers or systems administrators, are given the right to access this data.

To connect to the database, these employees use their unique username and password. These credentials are checked against the roles and permissions set in the database management system. If their role allows, they are granted access to view, modify, or delete data. This process ensures that only authorized individuals have the right to interact with the sensitive data.

If an employee without proper permissions or an external user tries to gain access, they would be denied. This exemplifies the denial of access, an equally important aspect of access in a system’s security setup. In this way, access, whether granted or denied, plays a vital role in maintaining the security of sensitive information.


In the digital world, access plays an essential role in data security and user interactions with systems. Once understood and appropriately managed, it forms the basis of a secure and efficient user interface, ensuring the right people have the right access to the required data.

Key Takeaways

  • Access is the successful interaction between a user and a technology service or system.
  • Access can be granted or denied and is typically controlled by credentials such as usernames and passwords.
  • Access plays a vital role in cybersecurity and user management systems.
  • Effective access management can prevent unauthorized use and protect sensitive information.
  • Examples of access include signing into a personal email account or accessing a business database.

Related Questions

1. What is the difference between access and authorization?

Access is the act of entering or using a system. Authorization, on the other hand, is the process of giving someone the rights and permissions to access and use resources within a system. Authorization comes after authentication (verifying the user’s identity).

2. What tools or systems can help manage access?

Systems known as Access Control Systems help manage access in a structured way. They include tools like user management systems, file permissions systems, and even physical access controls like key cards or biometric systems.

3. Is it possible to deny access, and why would it be necessary?

Yes, denying access is often necessary in order to protect sensitive data or systems. For instance, a company might need to deny access to a former employee, or a computer system might deny access to unverified users to protect against potential threats.

4. What does ‘read access’ mean?

‘Read access’ refers to permissions that allow a user to view or read files or data but doesn’t allow them to make changes. It’s a common type of access in scenarios where information sharing is required, but alteration of the data is not.

5. Is access always digital?

While our examples focused on digital access, the concept of access applies everywhere. It might be physical, such as access to a building, or logical, such as access to a network or system. The basic principles remain – validation of credentials and granting or denying of rights to use a resource.

"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional