Adding attribute-based conditions

The approach described in the previous section requires that you add a new user group in your identity provider (IdP) and create a new policy for each group of resources. In the previous examples, the resource groups reflect countries: Approver-France, Approver-Germany, Approver-UK, and so on. There is a finite number of countries, and they don’t change very often. The company might expand into five new countries per year, and so creating new user groups in the IdP and new policies to support this expansion might not represent a significant overhead.

However, consider instead a scenario where the resource groups represent projects instead of countries. Each time a project is kicked off one or more approvers must be assigned to review and approve timesheets for that project. A large global company might be starting and stopping hundreds of projects a year. With the previous approach, for every project that is kicked off a new user group representing the approver role for that project’s timesheets needs to be created in the IdP: Approver-project03344, Approver-project03345, Approver-project03346, and so on. This could have an impact on management of your directory, adding thousands of roles.

In such a scenario, you should consider whether you can use attribute-based conditions to determine which resource the role is permitted to act on. If the principal has a attribute that indicates a list of projects that the principal is assigned to and the timesheet also has a project attribute, then you can create a single policy for approvers, with an attribute condition that compares these two values, as shown in the following example.

// Role to approve timesheets for the principal's assigned projects
permit (
    principal in Role::"Approver",
    action in Action::"ApproverActions",
    resource in TimesheetGrp::"all-timesheets"
) when {

Assigning a role to a user

An administrator can assign a user to the Approver role by adding them as a member of the group called Role::"Approver". In addition, the administrator must set the value of the assignedProjects attribute to specify which projects a particular principal can approve.

This provides an elegant solution if the attributes exist or can be determined in real time by the application. However, if you must extend your application to record and maintain these attributes solely for the purpose of permissions management, then you might be better off recording this information in the policy store in the form of policies.

Making an Authorization Request

The application must call IsAuthorized and pass through entities data that describes the principal’s group memberships and the resource’s group memberships. The application must also include the value of the relevant attributes, such as the assignedProjects attribute on the principal and the project attribute on the resource.

Expanding to a new country

Expanding to a new country doesn’t require any changes to your policies.