Configuring Role-based Access Control

X-Pack security introduces the concept of authorization to Elasticsearch. Authorization is the process of determining whether the user behind an incoming request is allowed to execute it. This process takes place once a request is successfully authenticated and the user behind the request is identified.

Roles, Permissions and Privileges

The authorization process revolves around the following 5 constructs:

Secured Resource
A resource to which access is restricted. Indices/aliases, documents, fields, users and the Elasticsearch cluster itself are all examples of secured objects.
A named group representing one or more actions that a user may execute against a secured resource. Each secured resource has its own sets of available privileges. For example, read is an index privilege that represents all actions that enable reading the indexed/stored data. For a complete list of available privileges see Security Privileges.

A set of one or more privileges against a secured resource. Permissions can easily be described in words, here are few examples:

  • read privilege on the products index
  • manage privilege on the cluster
  • run_as privilege on john user
  • read privilege on documents that match query X
  • read privilege on credit_card field
A named sets of permissions
The authenticated user.

A secure Elasticsearch cluster manages the privileges of users through roles. A role has a unique name and identifies a set of permissions that translate to privileges on resources. A user can be associated with an arbitrary number of roles. The total set of permissions that a user has is therefore defined by union of the permissions in all its roles.

As an administrator, you will need to define the roles that you want to use, then assign users to the roles. These can be assigned to users in a number of ways depending on the realms by which the users are authenticated.