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Azure Key Vault Access Policy vs RBAC

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Azure Key Vault Access Policy vs RBAC

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Jenna's Runbooks
ยทFeb 5, 2023ยท

2 min read

Applying the RBAC permission model to protect ๐Ÿ” your Azure Key Vault objects should be used in favor of the access policy option.

The vault access policy is applied at the Key Vault scope. Meaning if you had a dozen secrets in your vault, then you're essentially allowing everyone privileges in the policy access to all of those secrets. A workaround to this is to create a separate key vault for each key vault object, applying a policy on each vault. This creates config and permissions management overhead ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

Alternatively, if you use the RBAC model, then there's no need for a policy. The majority of RBAC roles are applied at either the control or management planes in Azure. However, there are several data plane built-in roles available for the key vault such as the "Key Vault Crypto User" which allows the 'list' of keys ๐Ÿ”‘ or the "Key Vault Secrets User" allowing you to 'get' and 'list' secrets. These RBAC controls can be applied at the entire vault scope or on a per-vault object basis thus securing access to each of your keys/secrets/certificates within the vault. This allows for much more granular permissions, decreases config overhead and provides a higher level of protection for your โ˜๏ธ assets.

Do you agree? What authorization method works best for you? I'd love to hear your opinion about this. Let me know in the comments!

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