Need to grant one or more users access to part of your secure SAS configuration directory? You can do it without opening up your SAS configuration directory to everyone.
Most SAS 9.4 Platform deployments on Unix have been done using the SAS Installer account known as sas. The sas account is the owner of the SAS configuration directory. Along with the sas account comes a sas group that out of the box is given generous access to the SAS configuration.
SAS Configuration Directory
The SAS configuration not only includes scripts like sas.servers but it also includes configuration files and logs. It generally includes a lot of control over the SAS environment. Despite locked down security of the SAS configuration on Unix out of the box, there are still valid situations when you need to grant one or more users access to part of the SAS configuration. For example, you might need to enable logging for the workspace server and need to grant write access to the workspace server Logs directory. Or maybe you’re setting up an account to be used for autoloading data into the Public LASR Server. There are many more such examples where you might need to grant one or more users access to part of the SAS configuration.
The sas Group
How do you grant someone access to part of the SAS configuration directory? Why not add the user in question to the sas group? While this may grant your user the access you want, it also introduces the potential for a lot of problems. Keep in mind that the sas group has (and needs) broad access to the SAS configuration. When adding a user to the sas group you are granting that user the same access as the sas group. If the user is administering your SAS environment, that might be okay. If that user is not going to administer your SAS environment, you’ve opened the door for someone to modify or delete any and all of your SAS configuration.
So, what should you do? The short answer is that you should only grant the access needed to the users who need it.
Modifying Security for Workspace Server Logging
Let’s look at the example of enabling the workspace server to produce logs. This is typically done if you need to collect logs for troubleshooting. By default, the workspace server runs under each individual user’s credentials; therefore, each workspace server user would need to be given access to create logs under the workspace server Logs directory. By default, the sas user and sas group are given read, write and execute permission on the workspace server Logs directory. All other users have no access to the workspace server Logs directory. This is a situation where granting all other users read, write and execute access while you need to generate workspace server logs is the recommendation.
Be aware that if logging is enabled for the workspace server, any user who does not have read, write and execute access to the workspace server’s Logs directory will not be able to launch a workspace server session.
The complete steps for enabling workspace server logging can be found in the SAS 9.4 Intelligence Platform: System Administration Guide.
Modifying Security for Autoload
In SAS Visual Analytics, the autoload feature allows periodic synchronization between files on disk and data in memory in a LASR server. The autoload feature for the Public LASR Server is mostly configured out of the box; however, there are a few steps required in order for autoload to be fully enabled. The final step is to schedule the job that will perform the autoload.
By default, the autoload directory for the Public LASR Server is in the SAS configuration directory. It is owned by the sas user and the sas group. The first step in the documentation for how to start autoload is to identify which account will be used to schedule the autoload script. The account you use needs access to both metadata and to the autoload configuration directory. The sas account has access to the autoload configuration directory by default but is not registered in metadata. The ideal answer is to find a balance between overloading an account like sas and not overcomplicating your environment. You could register the sas account in metadata but that would not be my preference. You could also provide metadata server connection information in the autoload script but storing a user id and password in a file is less than ideal. A better solution is to create an account for the purpose of running autoload, for example, lasradm. The account needs to exist on the operating system (or other authentication provider being used) and in metadata. You would change the ownership of the autoload directory to the lasradm account and to a group other than sas. Creating an operating system group for all of your SAS users is a convenient way to grant permissions or rights to the group of users who will be using SAS. You can create a sasusers group, add lasradm as a member, and make sasusers the group owner of the autoload directory. Now you can schedule the autoload script as lasradm.