What is authorization as a service?

Published by Alex Olivier on October 26, 2023
What is authorization as a service?

Authorization is the way in which user permissions are managed within an application. The term ‘authorization as a service’ refers to using a third-party service to take care of authorization throughout the application.

Historically, authorization mechanisms were developed as a part of the overall application. And while this method has worked admirably for several decades there are now simpler, more cost-effective methods. Foremost among these is Cerbos. 

Cerbos lifts the burden of developing and maintaining authorization from the developer which in turn enables them to concentrate their efforts on building more useful and effective core features. Cerbos integration is also likely to significantly reduce development costs.

Why businesses are switching to authorization as a service

With only a handful of exceptions, being able to effectively manage permissions is a core concern for any application developer. Just as important as making sure you have robust authorization mechanisms in place, is the authorization method you use. For a time the build vs buy debate raged on, but today that debate is over with authorization as a service emerging as the clear winner.

The reasons why so many businesses are switching to authorization as a service include:

  • Less hassle: Authorization has long been a thorn in the side of application developers adding time, cost and aggravation to the development process. Authorization as a service eliminates those hassles thereby enabling the development team to focus on creating world-class functionality.
  • Greater security: The centralized control provided by the Cerbos authorization mechanism means you can make and implement application-wide policy adjustments in minutes, rather than having to spend hours or days rewriting code within the application itself.
  • Simple, reliable compliance: One of the many great things about authorization as a service is that compliance rules and regulations are baked right in. No more struggling to stay compliant with ISO 27001 or other laws and standards.

Cerbos PDP: The open source access control authorization layer

Cerbos PDP is an open source access control authorization layer that enables you to separate the authorization process from your core application. This type of authorization as a service, provides businesses and organizations in need of secure and efficient access control with a host of benefits, including:

  • Reduced development time: Creating and implementing a complex authorization system is normally a time-consuming endeavour. By contrast, Cerbos offers a standardized pre-built solution that is easy to integrate, saving you lots of time and, just as important, lots of money.
  • Flexibility: Cerbos scales with you as your company grows. It adapts quickly and easily to changing requirements and will provide uninterrupted service regardless of how fast your business is growing and what kind of accommodation you ask of it.
  • Centralized control: Authorization as a Service offers you centralized control of your access control policies across an array of applications. Manage permissions and roles and oversee all authorization activity from one central platform.
  • Rapid deployment: The Cerbos open source access control service is essentially ready-to-use. All you need to do is configure the access control mechanisms to suit your particular needs. No more having to endure extended development cycles.
  • Real-time monitoring: With Cerbos you have the ability to monitor and audit access activity in real-time. This enables much more effective enforcement of and compliance with internal policies and regulatory requirements. Generate detailed reports and nip attempts at unauthorized access in the bud.
  • Easy integration with existing systems: Cerbos open source access control is language agnostic and dovetails seamlessly with your existing systems regardless of the programming language used to create them. As such you’ll enjoy easy organization-wide control over multiple applications and services.
  • Adaptability: Cerbos can be easily updated to comply with ever-changing industry standards and regulatory requirements. You have the flexibility to modify access control policies on the fly to stay current with shifting compliance obligations.
  • Enhanced user experience: Cerbos authorization as a service provides a user-friendly interface with intuitive navigation that is designed to facilitate understanding, streamline access workflows and simplify the access request and approval process.


The days when developers needed to create a proprietary, full-service authorization mechanism for each and every application they created are over. In its place is Cerbos authorization as a service. Cerbos authorization as a service relieves developers of the burden of building and maintaining complex authorization systems, while at the same time producing more secure applications and significantly reducing development costs for businesses. 

Learn about stateless authorization.


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