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What are Time-Based Access Controls?

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What are Time-Based Access Controls?

Time-based access controls are security measures that restrict access to resources based on specific time parameters. They allow organizations to define and enforce access permissions based on time-related factors, such as specific hours of the day, days of the week, or dates.

With time-based access controls, organizations can implement rules that grant or revoke access to users or user groups during specified time periods. This helps ensure that access to sensitive information or critical systems is only permitted when needed and reduces the risk of unauthorized access outside of designated time windows.

For example, an organization may implement time-based access controls to restrict employee access to secure data and information. The controls can be configured to grant access to an application for a set period of time, i.e. 1 hour, 12 hours, 1 day, 1 week, etc. Users are given access to sensitive data like customer data, financial data, proprietary source code, etc. on specific applications. 

Why are time-based access controls a security best practice?

Time-based access controls are valuable for various reasons:

  • Enhanced Security: By limiting access to specific timeframes, organizations reduce the attack surface and minimize the risk of unauthorized access during vulnerable periods.
  • Compliance: Time-based access controls help organizations comply with regulatory requirements and industry standards that mandate controlled access to sensitive information.
  • Operational Efficiency: These controls allow organizations to automate access management based on predefined schedules, reducing manual effort and streamlining administrative tasks.
  • Flexibility: Time-based access controls provide flexibility in granting temporary access to contractors, partners, or vendors during specified time periods without the need for continuous oversight.

Implementing time-based access controls typically involves configuring access policies within an identity and access management (IAM), identity governance (IGA), or access control system. Organizations can define rules that align with their specific security and operational requirements and enforce them through appropriate technologies or solutions.

By leveraging time-based access controls, organizations can enhance security, improve compliance, optimize operational efficiency, and ensure that access to resources is granted only when necessary, aligning with the principle of least privilege.

How do you implement time-based access controls?

Implementing time-based access controls involves the following steps:

  • Define access policies: Determine the specific time-based access requirements for different user roles, systems, and resources within your organization. This includes identifying when access should be granted or denied.

  • Set time-based rules: Establish rules and schedules that define when users are allowed or denied access to resources based on specified time ranges. This can be done through access control lists, user group settings, or other configuration options.

  • Automate access management: Utilize automation tools that support time-based access controls. These tools can help streamline the process of managing user access permissions according to defined time-based rules, including automated provisioning and deprovisioning.

  • Regularly review and update access policies: Continuously evaluate and update your time-based access control policies to align with changing business needs and security requirements. This includes reviewing access schedules, adjusting user permissions, and removing unnecessary or outdated access rules.

  • Monitor and audit access events: Implement monitoring and auditing mechanisms to track access events and ensure compliance. This helps identify any unauthorized access attempts or anomalies in access patterns.

By following these steps, organizations can effectively implement time-based access controls, ensuring that users have appropriate access to resources based on defined time criteria. This helps enhance security by limiting access during specific time periods, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and potential security incidents.


Time-based access controls restrict access within specific time barriers. Rules like these, when put in place, are useful to increase security posture and compliance as well as overall efficiency. This helps to reduce manual effort and streamlining administrative tasks while also reducing the risk of malicious activities and security breaches. Time-based access controls are simple to implement when done using a platform for automation, and are a security best practice.