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Access Control: On-Premises vs Pseudo-Cloud vs Cloud-Native

Access Control: On-Premises vs Pseudo-Cloud vs Cloud-Native


Access control is a fundamental aspect of cybersecurity, ensuring that the right individuals have appropriate access to resources while preventing unauthorized access. In this guide, we will explore access control mechanisms and considerations across three environments: on-premises, pseudo-cloud, and cloud-native.

I. On-Premises Access Control

Definition and Characteristics

On-premises infrastructure refers to systems and resources hosted within an organization’s physical location. This environment offers direct control over hardware and software components.

Access Control Mechanisms

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is a widely used approach that assigns access permissions based on predefined roles. Users are assigned roles, and each role has specific permissions.


Granular control, simplified management.


Define roles, assign permissions, and manage role memberships.

Discretionary Access Control (DAC)

Discretionary Access Control allows data owners to determine who can access their resources. It offers more fine-grained control but can lead to complexities in large environments.

Use Cases

Small teams or departments with varying access needs.


Owners set access permissions for their resources.

Challenges and Considerations

Physical Security: Ensuring physical security of on-premises servers and devices.
Network Segmentation: Creating isolated network segments to control access.
Monitoring and Auditing: Regularly monitor access events and audit logs for security breaches.

Pseudo-Cloud Access Control

Definition and Characteristics

Pseudo-cloud refers to hybrid setups where on-premises resources are integrated with cloud services, creating a unified environment.

Access Control Approaches

Federated Identity Management allows users to access resources across different systems using their existing credentials. This facilitates seamless access across on-premises and cloud resources.


Centralised identity management, user convenience.


Establish trust between identity providers.

Single Sign-On (SSO)

Single Sign-On enables users to authenticate once and gain access to multiple resources. This streamlines access across on-premises and cloud services.


Integrate SSO solutions with both on-premises and cloud environments.

Security and Compliance

Data Sovereignty: Address regulatory requirements for data storage location.
Consistent Security Policies: Ensure security policies are consistent across both environments.
Monitoring and Logging: Monitor and log access events across hybrid resources.

Cloud-Native Access Control

Definition and Characteristics

Cloud-native architecture involves designing applications specifically for cloud environments, utilising cloud services and resources.

Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Multi-Factor Authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide multiple forms of verification.


Enhanced security, mitigates unauthorised access.


Enable MFA for cloud-native services.

Policy-Based Access Control

Policy-Based Access Control enforces access based on predefined policies. Access decisions are made dynamically.


Real-time access control, adaptability.


Define policies based on user roles, resources, and conditions.

Automation and Scalability

API-Based Automation: Utilize APIs for automated provisioning and deprovisioning of access.
Dynamic Access Provisioning: Automate access provisioning as resources are spun up or down.
Scaling Access Control: Easily scale access control mechanisms as your cloud resources grow.

Best Practices Across Environments

Least Privilege Principle

Explanation: Grant users the minimum access required to perform their tasks.
Importance: Limits potential damage in case of a breach.

Regular Auditing and Monitoring

Access Reviews: Conduct regular access reviews to ensure access rights are current.
Monitoring Access: Monitor access patterns and anomalies to detect unauthorized behavior.

Encryption and Data Protection

Encryption: Implement encryption for data at rest and in transit to safeguard sensitive information.

Role in Access Control: Encryption complements access control by protecting data even if unauthorised access occurs.

User Education and Training

Importance: Educate users about access control policies and best practices.
Secure Behavior: Provide guidelines for secure behavior to prevent accidental breaches.

In this guide, we’ve explored access control mechanisms and considerations across different environments: on-premises, pseudo-cloud, and cloud-native. Remember that each environment has unique characteristics, challenges, and solutions related to access control. By understanding and implementing these concepts, you can effectively manage access to your resources while enhancing overall security.

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