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Definition: XACML

(EXtensible Access Control Markup Language) An OASIS standard for managing access control policy. Released in 2003 and based on XML, the Sun-developed XACML was designed to become a universal standard for describing who has access to which resources. XACML includes a policy language and a query language that results in a Permit, Deny, Intermediate (error in query) or Not Applicable response.

XACML queries, which are typically in the SAML format, are sent to a Policy Enforcement Point (PEP), located at the file server or Web server, which forms a request to the Policy Decision Point (PDP). The PDP determines the answer based on policy and sends back its determination to the PEP. Both the PEP and PDP may be the same application in the same server or distributed across the network. See access control, SAML and COPS.