Express authorization: Scalable authorization for applications

Published by Alex Olivier on September 19, 2023
Express authorization: Scalable authorization for applications

Cerbos has PDPs (Policy Decision Points) that enable organizations to enforce rigorous access control policies in a simple and effective manner. In order to integrate Cerbos with an Express application you will need to set up and integrate the Cerbos service with your application.

The following are the steps recommended for integrating Cerbos with an Express application.

Step 1: Install the Cerbos server

Start the process by installing the Cerbos PDP. It is common to use Docker to run the Cerbos in a container. (Docker is an easy-to-install app that enables you to build and share containerized applications.) Note that in order to interact with Cerbos in your Express application you will also need to install the Cerbos client library.

Step 2: Initialize Cerbos client in Express

The next step is to initialize the Cerbos client in your Express application so that it can send access control requests to the Cerbos server.

Step 3: Set up policies in Cerbos

Before your Express application is able to enforce access control policies you will need to define those policies in the Cerbos policies. Cerbos Policy Language provides a simple and foolproof way to define your access control policies. 

Step 4: Test the implementation

Before going live make sure you conduct thorough testing of your Express application to ensure the access control policies you defined and implemented are being enforced in the manner you intended.

The above steps will enable you to integrate Cerbos into your Express application and effectively enforce access control policies that ensure the long-term integrity of both your app and your data.

Benefits of integrating Cerbos with Express

Cerbos gives you fine-grained access control over your applications enabling a more secure experience through the use of user, resource and contextual attributes. Express is an open-source server environment that is a popular tool for creating Node.js applications. 

When you integrate Cerbos into your Express RBAC applications you’re able to enjoy several unique benefits related to access control and security. The following are prime examples: 

Cerbos allows you to develop fine-grained access control based on roles, attributes and conditions. Integrating this capability into your Express applications provides unprecedented control over who can perform what actions and when.

With Cerbos you can create access control rules for your Express applications that are specific to the functionality of the application itself. This level of customization is simply not possible with the average Node.js application, but is relatively simple to achieve when you integrate Cerbos with Express.

By integrating Cerbos with Express you can track and log access control decisions and see exactly who accessed what and when. This type of auditing capability can help ensure you meet compliance requirements.

When you integrate Cerbos with Express you are able to deploy state-of-the-art role-based access controls (RBAC). Define a variety of attributes, roles and permissions using Cerbos and create Express RBAC that allows you to take your application to the next level.

Cerbos is renowned for its easy scalability meaning it is highly suitable for Express applications of varying degrees of complexity. Even if your Express application ends up serving an enormous user base Cerbos will still be there enabling dependable and secure Express authorization.

If you fear your Express application will not integrate with Cerbos because of the development language used, think again. Cerbos is language agnostic meaning it does not require your Express application to be written in any particular language.

Both Cerbos and Express are open-source meaning there is a large, helpful community of dedicated contributors always ready to lend support. Whether you need help with integration, up-scaling or any other type of troubleshooting chances are you’ll find it in either the Cerbos or Express community.

Why Cerbos?

  • Shorter development time: Implementing robust access control has historically been time-consuming and expensive. Cerbos provides a pre-built solution that allows you to save time and money.
  • Scalability: Cerbos Authorization Service scales with you as your needs grow. Enjoy uninterrupted service regardless of how fast your company is expanding.
  • Centralized control: Cerbos enables you to maintain centralized control of your access control policies and mechanisms.
  • Rapid deployment: Cerbos arrives on the scene ready to use as-is. All you have to do is configure the various access control mechanisms.

Book a free Policy Workshop to discuss your requirements and get your first policy written by the Cerbos team