Scaling Privileged Access for Modern Infrastructure: Real-World Insights
Apr 25
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Teleport

Access List Reference

  • Available for:
  • Enterprise
  • Cloud

Access Lists allow Teleport users to be granted long term access to resources managed within Teleport. With Access Lists, administrators and access list owners can regularly audit and control membership to specific roles and traits, which then tie easily back into Teleport's existing RBAC system.

Audit reviews coming in a future release

Audit reviews are coming in a future release of Teleport.

What do Access Lists do?

Access Lists grant roles and traits to users on a long lived basis. Users who are added to Access Lists and meet membership requirements will be granted these roles and traits when they sign into Teleport. By combining this functionality with the Access Lists' built in regular auditing and access reviews, Teleport administrators will have an audit trail for long lived access granted to users of Teleport.

How do Access Lists compare to Access Requests?

Access Lists are intended for longer lived access to Teleport resources and Access Requests are intended for temporary elevation of privileges. Access conveyed by an Access List is expected to live on the order of months and access conveyed by an Access Request is intended to live on the order of hours or days.

Access List Ownership

Access List owners are Teleport users who are granted special privileges over an Access List. These owners are defined explicitly as part of the Access List, and must be added by a Teleport user who has RBAC access to access lists, which the preset editor role has.. Owners must meet requirements in order for their ownership to be effective.

Provided owners meet requirements, owners are able to do the following:

  • Control membership requirements.
  • List Access List members.
  • Provision and revoke membership to Access Lists.
  • Audit Access Lists.

Owners are not able to add or remove owners from an Access List or control what roles and traits are granted by the Access List.

Access List Membership

Access List members are Teleport users who are granted the roles and traits specified by the Access List. Upon login, users will be granted these roles and traits along with their statically defined user permissions. These roles and traits will then tie into Teleport's existing RBAC system. Members can be optionally granted an expire date, after which their membership will no longer confer any grants to the user.

Members must meet requirements in order for their membership to be effective.

Access List Auditing

Access Lists must be defined with an audit frequency, which specifies how often the Access List must be audited. If the Access List is not audited on time, owners will be notified in the web UI until the audit review occurs.

Overview of an Access List Resource

version: v1
kind: access_list
metadata:
  name: ea6cccbe-ceac-4776-8a89-4b1365fc03f5
spec:
  title: "Access List Title"
  # audit defines how frequently an Access List and its membership must be audited, along
  # with the next audit date.
  audit:
    recurrence:
      # Frequency is the frequency between access list reviews.
      # Defaults to 6months.
      # Possible values are: 1month, 3months, 6months, 1year
      frequency: 6months
      # DayOfMonth is the day of month subsequent reviews will be scheduled on.
      # Defaults to 1.
      # Possible values are: 1, 15, last
      day_of_month: "1"
    # The next time this Access List must be audited by.
    # If not set, the next audit date will be picked up automatically.
    notifications:
      # When the access-request plugins will start to notify before the audit
      # deadline.  Format to golang's time.ParseDuration function:
      # https://pkg.go.dev/time#ParseDuration
      # Defaults to two weeks.
      start: 336h # two weeks
    next_audit_date: "2025-01-01T00:00:00Z"
  description: "A description of the Access List and its purpose"
  # owners are a list of Teleport users who own the Access List. Provided the owners
  # meet the ownership requirements, these users can control membership requirements
  # and membership to the Access List.
  owners:
  - description: test user 1
    name: teleport-admin
  # ownership_requires defines roles and traits that are required for an owner to be
  # able to manage the Access List and its membership.
  ownership_requires:
    roles:
    - access
  # grants controls which roles and traits are granted to users who are owners
  # of this Access List.
  owner_grants:
    roles:
    - access
    traits:
      trait1:
      - value1
  # grants controls which roles and traits are granted to users who are members
  # of this Access List.
  grants:
    roles:
    - access
    traits:
      trait1: 
      - value1
  # membership_requires defines roles and traits that are required for a member
  # to be granted the above roles and traits. Even if a user has been added as a
  # member of an Access List, if they do not meet these requirements, the membership
  # will have no effect.
  membership_requires:
    roles:
    - required_role1
    traits:
      required_trait1: 
      - required_value1

Managing Access Lists from the CLI

In addition to using the web UI, Access Lists can be created and managed from the CLI as well. To create an access list from the CLI, create an Access List YAML file (as described above) and run tctl create <filename>. Access Lists can be updated by using tctl create -f <filename>.

tctl also supports a subset of Access List focused commands under the tctl acl subcommand. Through these you can list Access Lists, get information about a particular Access Lists, and manage Access List users. To see more details, run tctl acl --help. More detail can be seen in the CLI Reference.