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What Is Internet Authentication Service?

T.S. Adams
T.S. Adams

The Internet Authentication Service (IAS) on Windows® operating systems enables built in authorization, authentication, and accounting for networks. It ensures that the network remains secure while monitoring the use of network resources across the organization. The end result of this is a built-in process which keeps each specific system user in their place while guarding the system against external threats and watching to ensure that network resources are being properly utilized.

Internet Authentication Service works by enabling built-in authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) on a Windows® operating system. AAA is a typical tenet of computer security that keeps unauthorized users from accessing a system. It ensures that each user remains within their specific permissions base, and keeps track of all occurrences on the network to help an organization budget their time, expenses, and resources.

Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

The authentication portion of the Internet Authentication Service ensures that each user attempting to log into the network is actually permitted to use the system. Think of it like a guest list for a party: without a valid invitation, a user cannot gain access to the system. By constantly monitoring the individuals working to access the network, the Internet Authentication Service works to keep hackers out without compromising the functionality for legitimate users.

Authorization keeps each user on the system within their privilege level. From basic users to system administrators, each user on the network is given a list of privileges which determines what actions they can take on the system. Authorization checks a user's actions against their permitted actions, preventing individuals from abusing the system once they have logged in. For example, basic users of a system typically cannot install or remove programs on the computer; if a basic user attempt to do this, the authorization component of the Internet Authentication System would prevent the action.

Finally, accounting works to keep a constant measure of the network resources being used by individuals accessing the system. This allows an organization to gauge their network usage over time, more closely tailoring their actual expenditures to their planned expenditures. More effective budgeting for network resources can help companies to see where and how they can save money in the long run, providing them with the ability to conserve power, hardware, and bandwidth costs on the network.

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