Authorization is the process of determining whether a person, device, or program has the authority (permission) to use a specific resource. The ability of a computer or computer system to determine whether a person, device, or program has the authorization to use a specific resource helps protect the computer resources from mis-use or abuse. The authorization to use a specific resource may be limited to specific functions which can be performed on the resource such as:
- Setting or modifying permissions
- Taking ownership
A system administrator may define which users may have authorization to do specific things with computer resources and to what extent they can.
If a person has authority to use a specific resource, then they have been given permission by someone such as the system administrator. What they can do when granted permission is considered to be their user rights to perform an action on a resource as listed above as specific functions.