Context-Base Access Control (CBAC)

Context-based access control provides access decision and enforcement that is based on a dynamic risk assessment or confidence level of a transaction. Context-based access uses behavioral and contextual data analytics to calculate risk.

Just-in-time access permission management

Context-Based Access Control

What is Context-Based Access Control?

Context-Based Access Control (CBAC) is a security model and access control approach that considers various contextual factors when making decisions about granting or denying access to resources or data. It is an extension of traditional access control mechanisms, such as Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) and Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC), which primarily rely on static rules and policies.

In CBAC, access decisions are based on the context in which a request for access is made. This context can include a wide range of factors, such as:

  1. User attributes: Information about the user making the request, such as their role, department, location, and security clearance.
  2. Environmental conditions: Information about the current environment, including the time of day, location, device used, network connection, and more.
  3. Object attributes: Characteristics of the resource or data being accessed, such as its sensitivity level, classification, or owner.
  4. Relationship context: Information about the relationships between users and resources, which may affect access decisions. For example, a manager may have different access rights to the data of their subordinates compared to other employees.
  5. Behavioral context: Historical data or behavioral patterns associated with the user, such as access patterns and past actions.

CBAC enables organizations to fine-tune access control decisions by considering these contextual factors. By doing so, CBAC can enhance security and compliance, as it allows for more granular and dynamic access control policies. For example:

  • A CBAC system can restrict access to sensitive data during non-business hours.
  • It can grant access to certain resources only when the user is within a specific physical location.
  • It can adapt access permissions based on a user’s changing role within an organization.

Implementing CBAC typically requires a robust policy engine and the ability to collect, process, and analyze contextual information in real-time. This approach is particularly useful in environments where access requirements are complex and dynamic, such as healthcare, finance, and government sectors, as it can help organizations maintain a balance between security and flexibility.

Just-in-time access permission management


  • What are the types of Context-based access control?

    The following are the types of CBAC:

    • Access control list.
    • Discretionary access control (DAC)
    • Attribute-based access control (ABAC)
    • Lattice-based access control (LBAC)
    • Role-based access control (RBAC)
    • Graph-based access control (GBAC)
    • Organization-based access control (OBAC)
    • Mandatory access control (MAC)


    Just-in-time access permission management

  • How does Context-based access control work?

    Context-based access controls (CBAC) provide packet filtering and protection to the transport layer. This wasn’t possible with the basic access lists (ACLs) because they only filtered the traffic to the network layer.

    Usually, context-based access control considers user access decisions and enforcement based on a dynamic risk assessment or confidence level of a transaction. This method uses contextual and behavioral data analytics techniques to determine risk levels.

    In addition to ACLs, CBAC maintains a state table to store the session in memory. So, when a device initiates a session, a dynamic entry is placed in the state table, allowing outbound traffic to pass through the router.

  • What are the benefits of Context-based access control?

    The benefits of context-based access are:

    • Enhances security during authorization and authentication of business transactions
    • Determines risk based on analytical, static, and contextual attributes
    • Computes a risk score by weighting multiple attributes
    • CBAC permits less traffic than one would need to achieve similar functionality with access control lists.
    • It can identify the typical ways of protocol abuses and implement steps to prevent them.
    • The router of CBAC maintains logs of information about connections, the number of bytes sent, and IP addresses.
  • What is example of Context-based access control?

    Suppose a user attempts to access a protected file during off-business hours. In this scenario, a CBAC policy can be enforced to deny access or force the user to verify using a secondary challenge.

    Secondly, another example is that of an application that requires access to personal data in order to initialize and perform. With CBAC in place, the privileges of data access to the application can be granted or revoked according to the user’s specific context.

  • What are some of the typical conditions for implementing Context-based Access Control?

    Context-Based access control allows an organization to restrict user control based on certain conditions. Some of the common conditions used by companies to customize their access security are as follows:

    • The geographic location of the user
    • Role of user
    • Time of login
    • Time of the last login
    • The device of the user

    So, for example, if a user tries to gain access to organization resources and if he/she doesn’t meet the context parameters set by the company, the access would be declined.