Access controls and the assignment of rights and roles

A user must have a complete UNIX profile to log on to any computer in a zone. However, a complete profile alone does not allow a user to access any computers. The user must also have at least one role assignment that grants access somewhere in the zone hierarchy before any type of access is granted. Role assignments can be made anywhere in the zone hierarchy and inherited at a lower level in the tree.

Understanding roles and rights

Rights represent specific operations users are allowed to perform. A role is a collection of rights that can be defined in a parent or child zone and inherited. For example, a role defined in a parent zone can be used in a child zone, in a computer role, or at the computer level.

There are only a few predefined rights, called system rights. The system rights for Linux, UNIX, and Mac OS X are:

  • Password login and non password (SSO) login are allowed: Specifies that a user is allowed to log on interactively using a password or without a password using a single sign-on token.
  • Non password (SSO) login is allowed: Specifies that a user is allowed to log on using a single sign-on token.
  • Account disabled in AD can be used by sudo, cron, etc.: Specifies that an account that is disabled is allowed to access the computer. This right enables service accounts that run without a password to perform operations.
  • Login with non-Restricted Shell: Controls whether a user gets a full shell or is forced into a restricted shell. Users must be assigned at least one role with this right to have access to a standard shell environment. A restricted shell only allows a user to execute explicitly defined commands.

The system rights for Windows computers are:

  • Console login is allowed: Specifies that users are allowed to log on locally using their Active Directory account credentials.
  • Remote login is allowed: Specifies that users are allowed to log on remotely using their Active Directory account credentials.

In addition to the platform-specific system rights, there is a common system right that allows users to bypass auditing or role restrictions to log on when there are problems on a computer. The Rescue rights option allows you to specify the users who can log on if problems with the authorization cache or the auditing service on a computer are preventing all other users from logging on.

You grant users permission to access computers by assigning them to a role that includes one or more access rights. By default, zones only contain the following predefined roles to grant basic access rights:

  • UNIX Login role allows users assigned this role to log on and access UNIX computers in the zone.
  • Windows Login role allows users assigned this role to log on and access Windows computers in the zone.

There are additional predefined roles that grant specific rights, such as the right to log on if auditing is required but not available. The predefined roles exist in each zone, but their role names are qualified by the zone name so that the same role name in a parent zone and a child zone are considered different roles. For deployment, the predefined roles enable you to migrate existing users without developing custom role definitions. After deployment, you can define additional rights, roles, and role assignments to refine how users and groups access computers in different zones.

Working with a candidate set of profiles

Ultimately, the purpose of the zone structure is to determine who has access, and what kind of access, to a computer. The candidate set of profiles that have the potential to access a computer is resolved by traversing the zone hierarchy from top to bottom. Because profile data is defined separately from the role assignments that control access, you can define an inclusive set of user profiles in a parent zone to create a candidate set that can then be applied to multiple child zones. In each child zone or at the individual computer level, you can use role assignment to control access for specific users from the inclusive candidate set.