What is it?
Centralized access control enables the user to access all applications, websites and other computing systems from a single profile, with the same credentials from any location. All information assets in control of the user are subject to unified identity management.
How does it work?
With unified identity management across all enterprise applications, the user has only one browser-based console for integrated access control. The central access manager or console enables multiple IT services and infrastructure a company needs, such as installation and configuration of components, monitoring the health of a network or centralized access to all work resources employees need to perform all standard job tasks. Simply put, you only need to log into a single screen and provide one set of credentials to be able to manage identity servers, access gateways, SSL VPNs, Java agents, devices and policies
What is the difference between centralized and distributed access control?
In contrast to distributed access control where users need to provide different credentials (usernames and passwords) for any application or website they access, centralized access control grants the same access with a single set of credentials. To understand how centralized access works, you can compare it to your Microsoft access account which lets you into everything you have on your computer with typing just one password. The difference is that centralized access control encompasses all web access, too.
Simplified centralized access usually means greater vulnerability since anyone getting hang of your single credentials can also get hold of all your files and data. Distributed (or decentralized) access is what we usually use in our day-to-day computers, where we have different usernames and passwords for multiple applications, email clients and websites (or, at least, should have, because many people just find it convenient to copy the same password across platforms, increasing the risks for security threats).
Centralized access control has two key benefits. The first one comes from a time-saving and convenience perspective: it’s undeniably easier to manage all your applications with just one set of authentication details. The second is the possibility to change passwords in a standardized way and more often, which is an encouraged security practice and definitely much safer than just copying the same password on multiple applications.