Authentication, Permissions, and Rights

Brett explains the difference between authentication, permissions, and rights for network and Web server security.

Brett Hill

October 10, 2000

1 Min Read
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Authentication is the task of proving identity beyond a reasonable doubt. When the system prompts you to enter a username and password, you’re authenticating yourself to the server. This article discusses the various methods that IIS can use to perform authentication. Other forms of authentication in use today include the use of certificates, biometrics, and smartcards.

Permissions are granted to users and groups to access server resources. When you request access to a restricted resource, the system prompts you to authenticate your identity. The system then checks to see whether you have permission to access the resource. In Windows 2000 and Windows NT, the system usually performs this check by using NTFS permissions.

Rights are privileges to perform certain tasks on the server or use the server in particular ways. Don’t confuse rights with NTFS permissions, which grant or deny access to file resources, printers, or Registry settings. Examples of rights include the right to shut down the server, back up files, or log on locally (i.e., using the keyboard as opposed to logging on over the network).

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