| | | XACML

X may mark the spot if you’re looking for treasure, but if you’re looking to protect something dear to you, such as your sensitive assets, X can also form part of your security program. That’s because X is the first letter in XACML, the OASIS standard language that authorization solutions from Axiomatics are based on. eXtensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) offers a standardized way to achieve externalized and dynamic authorization. This means that authorization decisions are made by an authorization service at run-time, based on policies which determine what actions a user or service can perform on a given information asset and in a specific context.

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| | | Question of the Week

Good news everybody! Health records are now electronic. And have been for some time. This means better communication, better treatment, faster care, potentially cheaper care.

However, this means that information is more easily available to all including the wrong individuals. This is where HIPAA and HL7 kick in. They provide a policy framework for privacy protection. And XACML is a great way to implement them.

In this blog we'll look at break the glass scenarios.

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| | | Business

Access Control has been around ever since there has been the need to protect valuable assets. Sentries were posted and moats were built. Still, history is littered with access breaches, many of which, such as the Trojan horse, have gone down in folklore.

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| | | Question of the Week

When authoring an access control policy, you may be creating a logical structure that calls for a negative expression. For example, you might be protecting a resource where access approval requires that the requestor not be a part-time employee [e.g. not(employeeType==partTime)].

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| | | Business

Over the past 20 years the IT road map has changed beyond recognition. Cloud computing, smartphones and online services are part of our daily routines. Until now however, access control has been predominantly managed with a static, antiquated model, namely RBAC. The time has now come to look beyond this, and use a dynamic, intelligent model. It's time for ABAC.

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| | | Question of the Week

XACML, the eXtensible Access Control Markup Language, is an authorization language that implements Attribute­Based Access Control (ABAC). XACML uses attributes inside policies to convey authorization statements. Policy authoring can be an art form and we won’t be getting into every aspect of policy authoring in this article. For a brief overview of what a policy is check this Axiomatics article out.

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| | | Question of the Week

XACML, the eXtensible Access Control Markup Language, is an authorization language that implements Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC). As the name indicates, XACML uses attributes inside policies to convey authorization statements.

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| | | Question of the Week

XACML is all about making decisions. At the core of the architecture lies the Policy Decision Point (PDP). It is configured with policies which all contain potential effects: Permit or Deny. A policy can grant or deny access.

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| | | Question of the Week

Let me first give you a short introduction to Access Control Lists (ACL). In software, an ACL, is a list of permissions granted to subjects on an object, where the subject might be Bob or Alice and the object might be the vacation calendar. The ACL is (typically) attached to and administered on the object and (again: typically) each list entry contains a user or a group and a permitted action such as ‘read’. Simpler lists contain the user identity only which means all actions are possible.

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| | | Question of the Week

Yes, they do, they absolutely do. There are several data types defined in the XACML specification. The X in XACML is short for eXtensible, meaning that it is possible to extend the specification and with that it is actually possible to define custom data types and functions to use with those custom data types.

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| | | Access Control

Spring Security, a project in the wider Spring framework, aims to provide an authentication and authorization framework around the core Spring. Having started its life as Acegi Security in 2003 before getting absorbed into the Spring framework, we recently saw the release of version 4 of Spring Security.

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| | | Question of the Week

The Abbreviated Language for Authorization (ALFA)is a pseudocode language used in the formulation of access control policies. ALFA maps directly into the eXtensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) and contains the same structural elements as XACML (i.e. PolicySet, Policy, and Rule).

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| | | Business

The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized business intelligence within manufacturing. The availability of product data means companies no longer need to rely on customers to provide them with their usage behavior or product performance data. If a product is connected, a manufacturer “simply” has to monitor the data that comes in via the connected channels, and process the information received.

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| | | Question of the Week

One of the key benefits of an Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC) system is the ability to use many attributes to make fine-grained authorization decisions. The XACML reference makes getting these attributes easier by defining Policy Information Points (PIP).

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| | | Business

How ABAC Can Help Protect IP and Speed Time-To-Market.

Manufacturers face unique challenges when it comes to data protection. With digital transformation upon them, many manufacturers are literally awash with terabytes of data that needs storing, mining - and equally important - safeguarding. 

Attribute Based Access Control presents an opportunity to help these enterprises manage how access to this data is authorized - and introduces control, visibility and compliance management as tangible benefits. Read about the “Data Protection Triangle” and how ABAC can help reduce the mystery of how to solve it.

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| | | Question of the Week

Attribute-based access control (ABAC) lets us define fine-grained authorization policies that typically take into account user attributes and resource attributes. Sometimes we may need time to express authorization constraints.

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| | | Question of the Week

Policy Decision Points (PDP) are managed through Authorization Domains in the Axiomatics Services Manager (ASM). When a new policy is applied to a Domain, the PDPs in that Domain will get notified and call the ASM API to retrieve the new Domain Configuration (including the policy).

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| | | Question of the Week

In order to better support the configuration of an Axiomatics solution (APS, ARQ, ADAF MD...) the Axiomatics Professional Services team suggest the use of a database view. To someone who is setting up an ABAC (Attribute Based Access Control) solution and who is not necessarily a database expert, this may create doubts or uncertainty: What is it and is it a good practice to use SQL views for PIPs? In this week’s Q&A we are going to explain what a database view is, how it’s used by our products, and why it’s a good thing.

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| | | Business

The 2016 Cloud Identity Summit is fast approaching and we’re a sponsor of the show this year. As a long-term partner of Ping Identity, we’ve witnessed Identity and Access Management become a dominant area within information security. We’re happy to see this year’s event focuses on the R/evolution of Enterprise Security, not only because we are the “#1” provider of disruptive dynamic fine-grained authorization, but also because we published a paper on this topic some time ago.

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| | | Question of the Week

Policy Enforcement Points (PEP) are the piece in the XACML / ABAC architecture that are responsible for protecting the requested resources. PEPs stop business flows, analyze them, create authorization requests from them, send the requests to the Policy Decision Point (PDP) and enforce the decision they receive back from the PDP. To do so PEPs need to process and add attributes to a XACML request.

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| | | Business

In 2015, a British University presented findings on the cost of fraud and losses to society as a whole. What they found was very revealing – the annual cost of fraud equates to almost 6% of global GDP. Considering that the IMF projected 2015 global GDP to be around USD 73,5 billion, we’re talking billions of lost dollars, annually. And if that isn’t enough, according to PwC the financial sector suffers from more economic crime than any other industry. The upshot of this is that financial institutions have to have more effective procedures in place than any other industry if they are to reduce losses due to fraud.

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| | | Question of the Week

This blog will look more closely at the scenarios where you want to evaluate an attribute on a particular target.

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| | | Access Control

In April 2016, Axiomatics introduced the Axiomatics Review Manager, a one-of-a-kind access review and reporting tool, that can confirm polices are enforced and compliance is met within dynamic authorization implementations with Axiomatics, that utilize an Attribute Based Access Control model (ABAC).

In this blog post, we provide a more detailed explanation of the need that the Review Manager fills, as well as a glance into the inner-workings of the tool.

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| | | Question of the Week

The Axiomatics Policy Server provides both a SOAP and a REST endpoint to which authorization requests can be sent to. This blog will focus on the REST endpoint.

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| | | Question of the Week

Using Attributes to Scope XACML Policies

When writing policies in XACML, you will want to start using attributes to define when the policies apply. You can compare attributes to values by using attribute matches e.g. citizenship == Norwegian. To do so, you have the choice of XACML targets and XACML conditions. Both targets and conditions let you define the scope of applicability of policies by using attributes.

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| | | Question of the Week

There are three main components defined by the XACML specification (1): PolicySet, Policy and Rule. These elements are the building blocks of the XACML policies (2,3). When an authorization request is sent to an XACML-enabled decision engine, Targets are used inside Policy and PolicySet elements to determine which policies the request applies to. Rules can also contain targets in order to determine which rules to evaluate for the authorization request being sent.

In XACML policies, boolean attributes can be used in both Targets and Conditions.

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| | | Question of the Week

JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation is a more lightweight and arguably a more easy-to-work with format than XML which is typically used in data exchange (e.g request/response) between Policy Enforcement Point (PEP) and Policy Decision Point (PDP).

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| | | Question of the Week

We are rolling out a new format on our blog - the “Question of the Week” - an ongoing feature that will tackle all sorts of questions and general wonderings. We’ll have input from our sales engineers, customer relations and engineering teams. If you have a question to consider, please send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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| | | Access Control

From its foundation, Axiomatics has been at the forefront of the authorization and access management technology movement. We have brought to to market solutions that are not only cutting edge, but also solve major issues faced by many large organizations that house and share sensitive information. We continue this drive forward with the launch of Axiomatics Review Manager, a one-of-a-kind access review and reporting tool, that can confirm polices are enforced and compliance is met within the Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC) authorization model.

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| | | Business

It’s no secret that dealing with compliance is becoming more complex and costly. In 2013, Thomas Reuters reported that there were 110 new regulatory announcements every day. They didn’t report how many of these involve the financial sector, but from conversations with our customers, we know many of them have a direct impact on global financial institutions.

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