Requirements for Scalable Access Control and Security Management Architectures

Keromytis, Angelos D.; Smith, Jonathan M.

Maximizing local autonomy by delegating functionality to end nodes when possible (the end-to-end design principle) has led to a scalable Internet. Scalability and the capacity for distributed control have unfortunately not extended well to resource access-control policies and mechanisms. Yet management of security is becoming an increasingly challenging problem in no small part due to scaling up of measures such as number of users, protocols, applications, network elements, topological constraints, and functionality expectations. In this article, we discuss scalability challenges for traditional access-control mechanisms at the architectural level and present a set of fundamental requirements for authorization services in large-scale networks. We show why existing mechanisms fail to meet these requirements and investigate the current design options for a scalable access-control architecture. We argue that the key design options to achieve scalability are the choice of the representation of access control policy, the distribution mechanism for policy, and the choice of the access-rights revocation scheme. Although these ideas have been considered in the past, current access-control systems in use continue to use simpler but restrictive architectural models. With this article, we hope to influence the design of future access-control systems towards more decentralized and scalable mechanisms.



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ACM Transactions on Internet Technology

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Academic Units
Computer Science
Published Here
July 5, 2011