What Does Access Mean?

Access, in the context of security, is the privilege or assigned permission to use computer data or resources in some manner. For instance, a user may be allowed read access to a file, but will not be allowed to edit or delete it.


Access is also the amount of admittance allowed to any given entity; or, it can simply mean the permission for admittance.

Access is important in maintaining security in computer systems. It restricts the use and distribution of information, settings and the general use of a system.

Techopedia Explains Access

Access rights or privileges are important aspects of any system, security or otherwise. In an operating system, for example, access is provided via user accounts. The amount of access given to each account is determined by the type of user. User accounts and access rights range from administrator to guest.

Access is usually granted by someone with complete or at least high access rights. Usually, system administrators are the people who set permissions or access privileges, which are granted or denied to certain users or sets of users. Those with low access rights might be restricted to certain portions of the system. Those with higher access might have rights to every aspect of the system.


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Margaret 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 IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.