Role Based Access Control

Secure kPow with RBAC

Role Based Access Control (RBAC) integrates with User Authentication, leveraging roles assigned to users in the credentials system of your choice.

RBAC configuration is defined in a YAML file and configured with an environment variable:


RBAC provides fine-grained control of user actions on specific resources determined by a user's roles.

Authorized Roles

kPow will restrict UI access to users who have at least one role defined in the RBAC configuration.

You may override this behaviour by providing a specific list of authorized_roles in your config.

## Allow all users access to the UI ("*" is a role held by everyone)
- "*"
## Or, allow users with specific roles access to the UI
- "kafka-user"
- "kafka-admin"
- "ops-support"


An RBAC policy contains:

  • Resource: The resource that this policy controls access to

  • Effect: Whether to deny or allow access to the Resource

  • Actions: A list of actions that this policy Effects

Then either:

  • Role: The user role that this policy applies to

  • Roles: The list of user roles that this policy applies to

Example Configuration

The following configuration applies controls to three roles and permits all authenticated users access.

Note: Where multiple policies apply to one resource, Deny effects take precedence.

- "*"
- resource: ["cluster", "N9xnGujkR32eYxHICeaHuQ"]
effect: "Allow"
role: "kafka-admin"
- resource: ["cluster", "N9xnGujkR32eYxHICeaHuQ", "topic", "tx_audit"]
effect: "Deny"
role: "kafka-admin"
- resource: ["cluster", "*"]
effect: "Allow"
actions: ["GROUP_EDIT"]
roles: ["kafka-admin","kafka-user"]

kafka-admin is allowed to inspect, produce, and edit all topics in a specific cluster, then explicitly denied produce and edit actions to one specific topic in that same cluster.

kafka-admin and kafka-user are then permitted group edit permissions on all clusters.

All remaining actions are implicitly denied actions to all users on all resources.


Resources are defined within a taxonomy that describes the hierarchy of objects in kPow.



  • Domain Type: The top-level resource, either cluster, schema, or connect

  • Domain ID: Unique identifier of the domain or "*" for all/wildcard

  • Object Type: Either topic, group, connector, subject, or broker

  • Object ID: Unique identified of the object. Wildcard not supported

Specifying the object is optional. If not provided the resource includes all objects within a domain.

Example Resources

["cluster", "*"] - all clusters and all objects
["cluster", "*", "topic"] - all topics on all clusters
["cluster", "N9xnGujkR32eYxHICeaHuQ"] - all objects in a cluster
["cluster", "*", "topic", "tx-events"] - named topic in all clusters
["schema", "*"] - all schema registries and all objects
["schema", "*", "subject", "tx-events"] - named subject in all schema registries
["connect", "*"] - all connect clusters and all objects
["connect", "*", "connector", "csv-in"] - named connector in all connect clusters

Resource IDs

kPow logs the IDs of all top-level domains at startup.

Connected to [2] Kafka clusters:
* g10tMLohRLKthriTt0749g (Local):
- kafka connect: http://kafka:8083 (g10tMLohRLKthriTt0749g)
- schema registry not configured
* lkc-lo019 (Confluent Cloud):
- kafka connect not configured
- schema registry: (a2f06a916672d71d675f) (Confluent Cloud)

In the example above we have four domain resources:

  • Two Kafka Clusters (g10tMLohRLKthriTt0749g, lkc-lo0o9)

  • One Kafka Connect Cluster (g10tMLohRLKthriTt0749g)

  • One Schema Registry (a2f06a916672d71d675f)

Resource ID Definitions

  • Kafka Cluster: - the ID of the Kafka cluster as returned by a broker

  • Kafka Connect: the ID of the Kafka cluster associated with the Kafka Connect installation

  • Schema Registry: a SHA256 hash of the Schema Registry endpoint


Specify Allow or Deny to indicate whether the policy allows or denies access to a resource.

Where no matching policy exists the effect is an implicit deny.


See: User Actions.


Define a user role to which you would like to allow or deny access.

Can be a wildcard (*) to specify the policy is for all roles.

Role Evaluation

User access to an action on a resource is determined by gathering all policies for roles assigned to a user and evaluating them with the following logic.

User Access Governance

All actions are retained in the kPow Audit Log. See: Data Governance.

Role Mapping

To use RBAC you must configure User Authentication and ensure users have assigned roles.

Integration guides

Below are integration guides for common authentication providers:

SAML integration (generic)

Operatr can integrate with your SAML IdP as a service provider.

Roles are defined in a Roles attribute in the SAMLResponse from your IdP.

If you would like to use a field other than the Roles attribute, you can extend the YAML configuration as follows:

role_field: "Groups"

Now, kPow will look to the Groups attribute for its basis of roles.