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Implement Dynamic Security by Using Row Filters

In this supplemental lesson, you will create an additional role that implements dynamic security. Dynamic security provides row-level security based on the user name or login id of the user currently logged on. To learn more, see Roles (SSAS Tabular).

To implement dynamic security, you must add a table to your model containing the Windows user names of those users that can create a connection to the model as a data source and browse model objects and data. The model you create using this tutorial is in the context of Adventure Works Corp.; however, in order to complete this lesson, you must add a table containing users from your own domain. You will not need the passwords for the user names that will be added. To create an Employee Security table, with a small sample of users from your own domain, you will use the Paste feature, pasting employee data from an Excel spreadsheet. In a real-world scenario, the table containing user names you add to a model would typically use a table from an actual database as a data source; for example, a real dimEmployee table.

In order to implement dynamic security, you will use two new DAX functions: USERNAME Function (DAX) and LOOKUPVALUE Function (DAX). These functions, applied in a row filter formula, are defined in a new role. Using the LOOKUPVALUE function, the formula specifies a value from the Employee Security table and then passes that value to the USERNAME function, which specifies the user name of the user logged on belongs to this role. The user can then browse only data specified by the role’s row filters. In this scenario, you will specify that sales employees can only browse internet sales data for the sales territories in which they are a member.

In order to complete this supplemental lesson, you will complete a series of tasks. Those tasks that are unique to this Adventure Works tabular model scenario, but would not necessarily apply to a real-world scenario are identified as such. Each task includes additional information describing the purpose of the task.

Estimated time to complete this lesson: 30 minutes

This supplemental lesson topic is part of a tabular modeling tutorial, which should be completed in order. Before performing the tasks in this supplemental lesson, you should have completed all previous lessons.

In order to implement dynamic security for this Adventure Works scenario, you must add two additional tables to your model. The first table you will add is dimSalesTerritory (as Sales Territory) from the same AdventureWorksDW database. You will later apply a row filter to the Sales Territory table that defines the particular data the logged on user can browse.

To add the dimSalesTerritory table

  1. In SQL Server Data Tools, click on the Model menu, and then click Existing Connections.

  2. In the Existing Connections dialog box, verify the Adventure Works DB from SQL data source connection is selected, and then click Open.

    If the Impersonation Credentials dialog box appears, type the impersonation credentials you used in Lesson 2: Add Data.

  3. On the Choose How to Import the Data page, leave Select from a list of tables and views to choose the data to import selected, and then click Next.

  4. On the Select Tables and Views page, select the DimSalesTerritory table.

  5. In the Friendly Name column, type Sales Territory.

  6. Click Preview and Filter.

  7. Deselect the SalesTerritoryAlternateKey column, and then click Ok.

  8. On the Select Tables and Views page, click Finish.

    The new table will be added to the model workspace. Objects and data from the source dimSalesTerritory table are then imported into the new Sales Territory table in your AW Internet Sales Tabular Model.

  9. After the table has been imported, click Close.

In this task, you will rename the columns in the Sales Territory table, giving them friendly names. It is not always necessary to give tables and/or columns friendly names; however, it does make your model project easier to navigate in the model designer as well as for users browsing model objects and data in a client application field list.

To rename Columns in the Sales Territory Table

  • In the model designer, rename the columns in the Sales Territory table:

    Sales Territory

    Source Name

    Friendly Name

    SalesTerritoryKey

    Sales Territory Id

    SalesTerritoryRegion

    Sales Territory Region

    SalesTerritoryCountry

    Sales Territory Country

    SalesTerritoryGroup

    Sales Territory Group

Because the dimEmployee table in the AdventureWorksDW sample database contains users from the AdventureWorks domain, and those user names do not exist in your own environment, you must create a table in your model that contains a small sample (three) of actual users from your organization. You will then add these users as members to the new role. You do not need the passwords for the sample user names, but you will need actual Windows user names from your own domain.

To add an Employee Security table

  1. Open Microsoft Excel, creating a new worksheet.

  2. Copy the following table, including the header row, and then paste it into the worksheet.

    Employee Id

    Sales Territory Id

    First Name

    Last Name

    Login Id

    1

    2

    <user first name>

    <user last name>

    <domain\username>

    1

    3

    <user first name>

    <user last name>

    <domain\username>

    2

    4

    <user first name>

    <user last name>

    <domain\username>

    3

    5

    <user first name>

    <user last name>

    <domain\username>

  3. In the new worksheet, replace the first name, last name, and domain\username with the names and login ids of three users in your organization. Put the same user on the first two rows, for Employee Id 1. This will show this user belongs to more than one sales territory. Leave the Employee Id and Sales Territory Id fields as they are.

  4. Save the worksheet as Sample Employee.

  5. In the worksheet, select all of the cells with employee data, including the headers, then right click the selected data, and then click Copy.

  6. In SQL Server Data Tools, click the Edit menu, and then click Paste.

    If Paste is greyed out, click any column in any table in the model designer window, and then click the Edit menu, and then click Paste.

  7. In the Paste Preview dialog box, in Table Name, type Employee Security.

  8. In Data to be pasted, verify the data includes all of the user data and headers from the Sample Employee worksheet.

  9. Verify Use first row as column headers is checked, and then click Ok.

    A new table named Employee Security with employee data copied from the Sample Employee worksheet is created.

The Internet Sales, Geography, and Sales Territory table all contain a common column, Sales Territory Id. The Sales Territory Id column in the Sales Territory table contains values with a different Id for each sales territory.

To create relationships between the Internet Sales, Geography, and the Sales Territory table

  1. In the model designer, in Diagram View, in the Geography table, click and hold on the Sales Territory Id column, then drag the cursor to the Sales Territory Id column in the Sales Territory table, and then release.

  2. In the Internet Sales table, click and hold on the Sales Territory Id column, then drag the cursor to the Sales Territory Id column in the Sales Territory table, and then release.

    Notice the Active property for this relationship is False, meaning it is inactive. This is because the Internet Sales table already has another active relationship that is used in measures.

In this task, you will hide the Employee Security table, keeping it from appearing in a client application’s field list. Keep in-mind that hiding a table does not secure it. Users can still query Employee Security table data if they know how. In order to secure the Employee Security table data, preventing users from being able to query any of its data, you will apply a filter in a later task.

To hide the Employee Table from client applications

  • In the model designer, in Diagram View, right-click the Employee table heading, and then click Hide from Client Tools.

In this task, you will create a new user role. This role will include a row filter defining which rows of the Sales Territory table are visible to users. The filter is then applied in the one-to many relationship direction to all other tables related to Sales Territory. You will also apply a simple filter that secures the entire Employee Security table from being queryable by any user that is a member of the role.

Note Note

The Sales Employees by Territory role you create in this lesson restricts members to browse (or query) only sales data for the sales territory to which they belong. If you add a user as a member to the Sales Employees by Territory role that also exists as a member in a role created in Lesson 12: Create Roles, you will get a combination of permissions. When a user is a member of multiple roles, the permissions, and row filters defined for each role are cumulative. That is, the user will have the greater permissions determined by the combination of roles.

To create a Sales Employees by Territory user role

  1. In SQL Server Data Tools, click the Model menu, and then click Roles.

  2. In the Role Manager dialog box, click New.

    A new role with the None permission is added to the list.

  3. Click on the new role, and then in the Name column, rename the role to Sales Employees by Territory.

  4. In the Permissions column, click the dropdown list, and then select the Read permission.

  5. Click on the Members tab, and then click Add.

  6. In the Select User or Group dialog box, in Enter the object named to select, type the first sample user name you used when creating the Employee Security table. Click Check Names to verify the user name is valid, and then click Ok.

    Repeat this step, adding the other sample user names you used when creating the Employee Security table.

  7. Click on the Row Filters tab.

  8. For the Employee Security table, in the DAX Filter column, type the following formula.

    =FALSE()

    When you have finished building the formula, press ENTER.

    This formula specifies that all columns resolve to the false Boolean condition; therefore, no columns for the Employee Security table can be queried by a member of the Sales Employees by Territory user role.

  9. For the Sales Territory table, type the following formula.

    ='Sales Territory'[Sales Territory Id]=LOOKUPVALUE('Employee Security'[Sales Territory Id], 'Employee Security'[Login Id], USERNAME(), 'Employee Security'[Sales Territory Id], 'Sales Territory'[Sales Territory Id])

    When you have finished building the formula, press ENTER.

    In this formula, the LOOKUPVALUE function returns all values for the Employee Security[Sales Territory Id] column, where the Employee Security[Login Id] is the same as the current logged on Windows user name, and Employee Security[Sales Territory Id] is the same as the Sales Territory[Sales Territory Id].

    The set of Sales Territory IDs returned by LOOKUPVALUE is then used to restrict the rows shown in the Sales Territory table. Only rows where the Sales Territory ID for the row is in the set of IDs returned by the LOOKUPVALUE function are displayed.

  10. In the Role Manager dialog box, click Ok.

In this task, you will use the Analyze in Excel feature in SQL Server Data Tools to test the efficacy of the Sales Employees by Territory user role. You will specify one of the user names you added to the Employee Security table and as a member of the role. This user name will then be used as the effective user name in the connection created between Excel and the model.

To test the Sales Employees by Territory user role

  1. In SQL Server Data Tools, click the Model menu, and then click Analyze in Excel.

  2. In the Analyze in Excel dialog box, in Specify the user name or role to use to connect to the model, select Other Windows User, and then click Browse.

  3. In the Select User or Group dialog box, in Enter the object name to select, type one of the user names you included in the Employee table, and then click Check Names.

  4. Click Ok to close the Select User or Group dialog box, and then click Ok to close the Analyze in Excel dialog box.

    Excel will open with a new workbook. A Pivot table is automatically created. The Pivot Table Field List includes most of the data fields available in your new model.

    Notice the Employee Security table is not visible in the Pivot Table Field List. This is because you chose to hide this table from client tools in a previous task.

  5. In the Pivot Table Field list, in ∑ Internet Sales (measures), select the Internet Total Sales measure. The measure will be entered into the Values fields.

  6. In the Pivot Table Field list, select the Sales Territory Id column from the Sales Territory table. The column will be entered into the Row Labels fields.

    Notice Internet sales figures appear only for the one region to which the effective user name you used belongs. If you select another column; for example, City, from the Geography table as Row Label field, only cities in the sales territory to which the effective user belongs are displayed.

    This user cannot browse or query any Internet sales data for territories other than the one they belong because the row filter defined for the Sales Territory table in the Sales Employees by Territory user role effectively secures data for all data related to other sales territories.

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