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Difference between Authentication and Authorization with Comparison Chart

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Difference between Authentication and Authorization with Comparison Chart

Information security has become an important need in this world ridden with automated systems. Authentication and authorization refer to two common mechanisms that are being used by digital devices for the sake of securing information. Here, we will help you gain a basic idea about the difference between authorization and authentication, the definition of authentication and authorization, key differences between both and a quick synopsis of the features of authentication and authorization. We begin with a comparative chart depicting the difference between authorization and authentication.

Authentication vs Authorization

Basis of Differentiation



Refers to

It is the process of confirming the authenticity of attributes related to a single piece of data, as claimed by a true entity.

It refers to the task/process related to specifying access privileges and rights to the resources connected with data security.

Checks for

Checks the details of an entity with a view of identifying the entity.

Checks the privileges of a user before providing access.

What does it verify?

Has methods of verifying the credentials of a user.

Has methods of verifying the permissions of a user.

Time of occurrence

Occurs once the authorization has been done.

Occurs after the authorization takes place.


The authentication of a student takes place before he logs into the page depicting the marksheet on his University’s portal.

It is possible for the student to access lectures and knowledge slides online on the basis of the permissions provided to him or her.

Provides confirmation to

Confirms a user’s identity for granting access to any given system

Authorization confirms whether a user is authorized to use given resources or not.



In general, authentication needs a username and password.

The factors essential for authorization are likely to differ in accordance to the security level.


Authentication serves to be the first step when it comes to handling authorization. Therefore, it is always done first.

Authorization takes place after successful authentication.

What is Authentication?

Authentication refers to the validation of credentials such as user ID/ user name / password, etc. in order to verify the identity of any given user.

  • The system uses the credentials of an entity to determine whether the information provided is correct or not.
  • In private and public networks, login passwords are used by systems for authenticating user identity.
  • There are several factors of authentication that can be implemented for verifying one’s identity before granting access to anything- be it accessing a file, requesting bank transactions or providing permissions to use the resources of a system/ portal.
  • In case of authentication for security, a minimum of 2-3 factors of authentication have to be necessarily verified in order for permission to be granted to any system.
  • The authentication factors may vary from single-factor authentication with a simple password to a multi-factor authentication. Herein, advanced methods of authentication requiring two/ more levels of security related to independent brackets of authentication can be used for granting user access to different systems.

For instance, the ATM serves as a factor of authentication when an ATM card is inserted into the ATM machine. If the pin is correct, then user identity is validated and the user can proceed with his choice of transaction.

What is Authorization?

Authorization takes place once the user identity has been validated and successfully authenticated by any given system. Authorization allows a user to use system resources of the likes of information, databases, funds, locations, permission, files, etc.

  • Authorization determines a user’s ability for getting access to a system and until what extent. Post system verification and authentication, the resources of a system can be accessed by a user.
  • Authorization verifies a user’s rights to get access to resources like information, databases, files and so forth.
  • Any attempt to gain access to a given system may be authenticated via the entering of valid credentials; however, these credentials are acceptable only after successful authorization. In case an attempt is authenticated, yet not authorized, the given system will not provide access to the user.

For instance, the tasks related to verifying/ confirming employees’ passwords and IDs in any organization is referred to as authentication. However, the process of determining the access that employees have to different floors is referred to as authorization.

Key difference between Authorization and Authentication

  • The key difference between authorization and authentication is that authorization validates a user’s privileges for accessing resources. On the other hand, authentication validates a person’s details for the sake of identifying his credentials.
  • Next, authorization validates a user’s permissions while authentication verifies the user’s credentials. In order of precedence, authorization takes place after authentication while authentication occurs first.


Authentication and authorization, the two popular mechanisms for securing information of systems, have to be understood in entirety to make them applicable to perfection. In case you have any further queries with respect to authentication vs. authorization, then do get back to us in the Comments section below, we will be glad to get back to you at the earliest.