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Subscription Policies

Subscription policies manage access to tables; they can be defined one of four ways:

  • Anyone: Users will automatically be granted access (least restricted).
  • Anyone who asks (and is approved): Users will need to request access and be granted permission by the configured approvers (moderately restricted).
  • Users with specific groups or attributes: Only users with the specified groups/attributes will be able to see the data source and subscribe (moderately restricted). This restriction type is referred to as an attribute-based access control (ABAC) global subscription policy throughout this page.
  • Individual users you select: The data source will not appear in search results; data owners must manually add/remove users (most restricted).

Immuta almost always recommends the ABAC global subscription policies, as described in our two Secure policy use cases:

  1. Automate data access control decisions
  2. Compliantly open more sensitive data for ML and analytics

See Write a global subscription policy for a tutorial.

ABAC global subscription policies

When building an ABAC global subscription policy, the users that match the condition of the policy will automatically be subscribed to the data source by default without taking any action once the policy is activated.

Should user attributes or groups change, that will immediately impact their subscription status if the change results in them either gaining or losing subscription access to table in question. That is the power in these types of policies. You are future proofing the need to alter policies and instead simply need to represent the correct metadata on your users and the policies will react.

Also, by default, user access is reflected appropriately in the Immuta user interface. If a user does not have access to a particular table, that data source will not be visible to them.

The above default behavior can be altered using the below settings in the subscription policy builder:

  • Allow Data Source Discovery Configures visibility so that data sources that the user cannot subscribe to are still discoverable in the Immuta.

  • Require Manual Subscription In this case, rather than automatically subscribing users to the table, they must click the subscribe button in Immuta to subscribe to the table. This can be valuable if data consumers don't want to have thousands of tables they could access listed in their data platform, only the ones they care about.

  • Request Approval to Access Selecting this option allows users to request access to a data source and be manually approved by a specified user, even if the requesting user does not meet the group or attribute conditions in the policy. This setting requires Allow Data Source Discovery to be selected as well; otherwise, they could never discover the data source to request the override. See Global subscription policy merging for a tutorial.

For instructions on creating ABAC subscription policies, see the ABAC subscription policy guide.

Merging ABAC global subscription policies

In some cases, multiple ABAC global policies may apply to a single data source and can allow delegation of policy to many different policy builders. Rather than allowing the two policies to conflict, Immuta combines the conditions of the subscription policies.

Combining of global subscription policies only occurs with ABAC subscription policies. See the next section for how to deal with non-ABAC subscription policy conflicts.

In the ABAC subscription policy builder, the below option determines how to merge subscription policies:

  • Always Required: Users must meet all the conditions outlined in each policy to get access (i.e., the conditions of the policies are combined with AND).

  • Share Responsibility: Users need to meet the condition of at least one policy that applies (i.e., the conditions of the policies are combined with OR).

Consider the following global subscription policies potentially created by completely different users:

Policy 1: (Always Required)

Allow users to subscribe to the data source when user is a member of group HR; otherwise, allow users to subscribe when approved by an Owner of the data source.

Policy 2: (Shared Responsibility)

Allow users to subscribe to the data source when user is a member of group Analytics; otherwise, allow users to subscribe when approved by anyone with permission Governance.

Policy 3: (Shared Responsibility)

Allow users to subscribe to the data source when user has attribute Office Location Ohio; otherwise, allow users to subscribe when approved by anyone with permission Audit.

If a data source exists where all of these policies apply, the subscription policies are combined, which will result in a policy like this:

Combined policy:

Allow users to subscribe to the data source when user (@isInGroups('HR')) AND ((@isInGroups('Analytics')) OR (@hasAttribute('Office Location', 'Ohio')))

Otherwise

Allow users to subscribe when approved by ( anyone with permission Owner (of this data source) )

AND

( ( anyone with permission GOVERNANCE ) OR ( anyone with permission AUDIT ) )

Note that all the policies which have Always Required must have a manual override (approve by) selected for there to be any approved by in the final merged policy.

Once enabled on a data source, combined global subscription policies can be edited and disabled by data owners.

Find a real example of the power behind merging subscription policies in the Automate data access control decisions use case.

Managing non-ABAC subscription policy conflicts

If straying outside ABAC subscription policies, it is possible multiple global subscription policies created may apply to a single data source and not merge.

More specifically, if two or more global subscription policies of the restriction levels listed below apply to the same table (even if an ABAC subscription policy is also present) source they will conflict:

  • Anyone
  • Anyone who asks (and is approved)
  • Individual users you select

When such conflicts occur, data owners can manually choose which policy will apply. To do this the data owner must

  1. Disable the applied global subscription policy in the policies tab on a data source.
  2. Provide a reason the global policy should be disabled.
  3. Select which conflicting global subscription policy they want to apply.

ABAC global subscription policies using advanced domain specific language

Users can create more complex policies using functions and variables in the advanced DSL policy builder than the subscription policy builder allows.

After an application admin has enabled enhanced subscription policy variables, data governors and owners can create global subscription policies using all the functions and variables outlined below.

Variable/Function Description Example
@database Users who have an attribute key that matches a database will be subscribed to the data source(s) within the database. @hasAttribute('SpecialAccess', '@hostname.@database.*'): If a user had the attribute SpecialAccess: us-east-1-snowflake.default.*, they would get subscribed to all the data sources in the default database.
@hasAttribute('Attribute Name', 'Attribute Value') Users who have the specified attribute are subscribed to the data source. @hasAttribute('Occupation', 'Manager'): Any user who has the attribute Occupation and the attribute key Manager will be subscribed to the data source(s).
@hasTagAsAttribute('Attribute Name', 'dataSource' or 'column' ) Users who have an attribute key that matches a tag on a data source or column will be subscribed to that data source. @hasTagAsAttribute('PersonalData', 'dataSource'): Users who have the attribute key PersonalData with the values Discovered.PII,Discovered.Entity would be subscribed to Data Source 1, which is tagged:[Discovered.Identifier Direct,Discovered.PHI,Discovered.PII] and Data Source 2, which is tagged:[Discovered.Identifier Direct,Discovered.PCI,Discovered.Entity]. However, they would not be subscribed to Data Source 3, which is tagged: [Discovered.Identifier Direct,Discovered.PHI,Discovered.Country].
@hasTagAsGroup('dataSource' or 'column' ) Users who are members of a group that matches a tag on a data source or column (respectively) will be subscribed to that data source. @hasTagAsGroup('dataSource'): If Data Source 1 has the tags NewHire and Interns applied, users who are members of the groups New Hire or Interns would be subscribed to Data Source 1.
@hostname Users who have an attribute key that match a hostname will be subscribed to the data source(s) with that hostname. @hasAttribute('SpecialAccess', '@hostname.*'): If a user had the attribute SpecialAccess : us-east-1-snowflake.*, they would get subscribed to all the data sources with the us-east-1-snowflake hostname.
@iam Users who sign in with the IAM with the specified ID (ID that displays on the App Settings page) will be subscribed to the data source. @iam == 'oktaSamlIAM': Any user whose IAM ID is oktaSamlIAM can be subscribed to the data source.
@isInGroups('List', 'of', 'Groups') Users who are members of the specified group(s) can be subscribed to the data source. @isInGroups('finance','marketing','newhire'): Users who are members of the groups finance, marketing, or newhire can be subscribed to the data source.
@schema Users who have an attribute key that match this schema will be subscribed to the data source(s) under that schema. @hasAttribute('SpecialAccess', '@hostname.@database.@schema'): If a user had the attribute SpecialAccess : us-east-1-snowflake.default.public.*, they would get subscribed to all the data sources under the public schema.
@table Users who have an attribute key that match this table will be subscribed to the data source(s). @hasAttribute('SpecialAccess', '@hostname.@database.@schema.@table'): If a user had the attribute SpecialAccess : us-east-1-snowflake.default.public.credit_transactions, they would get subscribed to the credit_transactions data source.

The above table provides some basic guidance, for more information refer to the Advanced use of special functions.

See the Advanced DSL tutorial for details on how to build a policy that includes advanced DSL.

Default subscription policy

By default, Immuta does not apply a subscription policy on registered data(unless an existing global policy applies to it).

You can disable this behavior, but there are very few scenarios in which it is recommended to disable. It is best to instead have subscription policies active on standby that will be applied as you add tags to your data sources that drive those subscription policies. This is because global policies that match registered data sources will apply to data sources, no matter which subscription policy is enabled by default.

Default subscription policy options

There are two settings available as the default subscription policy: none or allow individually selected users.

  • None: The default. If this option is selected as the default subscription policy, a data source will have no subscription policy applied to it if

    • it is a new data source and no global policy matches it.
    • a data owner or governor removes an existing global subscription policy from the data source.

    Once a global subscription policy matches or a data owner applies a local subscription policy to a data source, that policy will restrict users’ access to the table.

  • Allow individually selected users: If this option is selected, data owners have to manually add users as subscribers to the data source in Immuta for those users to query the underlying table.

Changing the default subscription policy setting only affects new data sources; existing data sources (and those in the process of being registered when the setting is changed) are unaffected. For example, if an Immuta data source’s subscription policy restricts access to members of the Marketing group before the feature is enabled, that existing subscription policy will still apply to that table in the underlying data platform; only users who are members of the Marketing group will be able to access that data.

For instructions on changing the default subscription policy setting, see the manage default subscription policy page.

Managing data policies when there is no subscription policy

Even if there is no subscription policy on a table, data owners and governors can manage data policies on data sources without affecting users’ access to the registered data sources. This can be powerful to manage table access outside of Immuta but want to manage data policies in Immuta.

Managing data source members

If no subscription policy is applied to a data source, users can only subscribe as data source owners; they cannot be added as regular subscribers. To add regular subscribers, a data owner or governor must apply a subscription policy to the data source.