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Comment: https://wso2.org/jira/browse/DOCUMENTATION-6935

Many organizations expose their business capabilities through APIs. One of the key challenges is controlling access to these exposed APIs in such a way that all authorized users are able to access its APIs without any interruption, while at the same time making sure that any unauthorized users are kept out. In order to achieve this, parameters such as the user role can be used in determining whether to grant or deny access to an API for a given user. There are two ways to control access to users. 1. OAuth 2.0 scope and 2. XACML. This section explains how an external eXtensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) entitlement server can be integrated with WSO2 API Manager to provide role-based access control to APIs exposed via WSO2 API Manager. XACML is a declarative access control policy language based on XML that can provide a standardized way of validating authorization requests.

WSO2 API Manager provides the capability to authorize users based on OAuth 2.0 tokens and this mechanism can be extended to provide role-based access control using OAuth 2.0 scopes. However, as opposed to using OAuth 2.0 scope to provide authorization, XACML provides a standardized way of validating authorization requests. Authorization policies can be written in a standardized way using XACML and can be stored and managed through a policy administration point (PAP). Since the policies are standardized, policies written to one XACML engine can be ported to another engine from a different vendor without any issue. Similarly, XACML provides more control on how access should be enforced as different parameters and possibilities can be evaluated. XACML also provides ‘Obligations’ and ‘Advice’ as part of the XACML response that can be used by the API Manager when enforcing the policy decision to implement fine-grained access control for APIs.

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