Mandatory Access Control

What Does Mandatory Access Control Mean?

Mandatory Access Control (MAC) is is a set of security policies constrained according to system classification, configuration and authentication. MAC policy management and settings are established in one secure network and limited to system administrators.


MAC defines and ensures a centralized enforcement of confidential security policy parameters.

Techopedia Explains Mandatory Access Control

For best practices, MAC policy decisions are based on network configuration. In contrast, certain operating systems (OS) enable limited Discretionary Access Control (DAC).

MAC advantages and disadvantages depend on organizational requirements, as follows:

  • MAC provides tighter security because only a system administrator may access or alter controls.
  • MAC policies reduce security errors.
  • MAC enforced operating systems (OS) delineate and label incoming application data, which creates a specialized external application access control policy.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…