Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) for SSH
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is the practice of managing privileged access to infrastructure through a central directory of users, roles, and teams. Authorization is granted to groups (or roles) within a company directory. This allows individuals to be access secured infrastructure by simply authenticating their identity, usually through a Single Sign-on (SSO) solution tied to the directory.
Who can Benefit from RBAC?
Using RBAC instead of individually-managed authentication and authentication methods (such as SSH keys or VPN logins) means companies can now control user group permissions within their organization but also grant controlled and seamless SSH access to third-party teams. This is useful for:
- Company-wide compliance teams overseeing different infrastructure and engineering groups.
- Manage service providers (MSPs) that manage infrastructure for clients.
- Remote support teams from software vendors.
- Internet-of-Things (IoT) device management from a centralized office.
Meet Compliance Requirements
RBAC is used to secure the infrastructure and meet compliance requirements around privileged (SSH) access. Specifically, it enables security and systems engineers to enforce security and compliance policies such as:
Multi-factor authentication (MFA). Integrating with company-wide SSO enables two-factor authentication (2FA) for SSH sessions using the same access control plane, simplifying management and audit.
Enforce infrastructure and data compliance. Isolate production environments and production data from specific roles and teams, or limit access to certain roles and teams. Enforce policies like "Developers must never see production data" with ease.
Compliant process for onboarding and transferring employees. Ensure privileged access permissions stay up-to-date as individuals switch roles or leave the company.
Prohibit root access for all roles. Teleport RBAC allows security administrators to remove the need to use root privileges. RBAC also seprates SSH permissions management from serer management.
Overall, the result of implementing RBAC is reduction in operational overhead. Administrators can control (add, modify, and revoke) privileged access for teams or individuals from one place, while users can get access authorization without needing to manage SSH keys or VPN credentials.