Attribute-based access control end-to-end guide

Use Attribute-based access control on Adobe Experience Platform to give yourself and other multi-brand privacy-conscious customers greater flexibility to manage user access. Access to individual objects, such as schema fields and segments, can be granted with policies based on the object’s attributes and role. This feature lets you grant or revoke access to individual objects for specific Platform users in your organization.

This functionality allows you to categorize schema fields, segments, and so on with labels that define organizational or data usage scopes. You can apply these same labels to journeys, Offers, and other objects in Adobe Journey Optimizer. In parallel, administrators can define access policies surrounding Experience Data Model (XDM) schema fields and better manage which users or groups (internal, external, or third-party users) can access those fields.

This document focuses on the use case of access control policies. If you are trying to set up policies to govern the use of data rather than which Platform users have access to it, see the end-to-end guide on data governance instead.

Getting started

This tutorial requires a working understanding of the following Platform components:

Use case overview

You will go through an example attribute-based access control workflow where you will create and assign roles, labels, and policies to configure whether your users can or cannot access specific resources in your organization. This guide uses an example of restricting access to sensitive data to demonstrate the workflow. This use case is outlined below:

You are a healthcare provider and want to configure access to resources in your organization.

  • Your internal marketing team should be able to access PHI/ Regulated Health Data data.
  • Your external agency should not be able to access PHI/ Regulated Health Data data.

In order to do this, you must configure roles, resources, and policies.

You will:


Permissions is the area of Experience Cloud where administrators can define user roles and policies to manage permissions for features and objects within a product application.

Through Permissions, you can create and manage roles and assign the desired resource permissions for these roles. Permissions also allow you to manage the labels, sandboxes, and users associated with a specific role.

Contact your system administrator to gain access if you do not have admin privileges.

Once you have admin privileges, go to Adobe Experience Cloud and sign in using your Adobe credentials. Once logged in, the Overview page appears for your organization you have admin privileges for. This page shows the products your organization is subscribed to, along with other controls to add users and admins to the organization. Select Permissions to open the workspace for your Platform integration.

Image showing the Permissions product being selected in Adobe Experience Cloud

The Permissions workspace for Platform UI appears, opening on the Roles page.

Apply labels to a role label-roles

Roles are ways to categorize the types of users interacting with your Platform instance and are building blocks of access control policies. A role has a given set of permissions, and members of your organization can be assigned to one or more roles, depending on the scope of access they need.

To get started, select ACME Business Group from the from the Roles page.

Image showing the ACME Business Role being selected in Roles

Next, select Labels and then select Add Labels.

Image showing Add labels being selected on the Labels tab

A list of all labels in your organization appears. Select RHD to add the label for PHI/Regulated Health Data. Allow for a few moments for a blue check mark to appear beside the label, and then select Save.

Image showing the RHD label being selected and saved

When adding an organization group to a role, all users in that group will be added to the role. Any changes to the organization group (users removed or added) will be automatically updated within the role.

Apply labels to schema fields label-resources

Now that you have configured a user role with the RHD label, the next step is to add that same label to the resources that you want to control for that role.

Select Schemas from the left navigation and then select ACME Healthcare from the list of schemas that appear.

Image showing the ACME Healthcare schema being selected from the Schemas tab

Next, select Labels to see a list that displays the fields associated with your schema. From here, you can assign labels to one or multiple fields at once. Select the BloodGlucose and InsulinLevel fields, and then select Apply access and data governance labels.

Image showing the BloodGlucose and InsulinLevel being selected and apply access and data governance labels being selected

The Edit labels dialog appears, allowing you to choose the labels that you want to apply to the schema fields. For this use case, select the PHI/ Regulated Health Data label, then select Save.

Image showing the RHD label being selected and saved

When a label is added to a field, that label is applied to the parent resource of that field (either a class or a field group). If the parent class or field group is employed by other schemas, those schemas will inherit the same label.

Apply labels to segments

Any segment that utilizes a labeled attribute must likewise be labeled if you want the same access restrictions to apply to it.

Once you have completed labeling your schema fields, you can now begin labeling your segments.

Select Segments from the left navigation. A list of segments available in your organization is displayed. In this example, the following two segments are to be labeled as they contain sensitive health data:

  • Blood Glucose >100
  • Insulin <50

Select Blood Glucose >100 to start labeling the segment.

Image showing the Blood Glucose >100 being selected from the Segments tab

The segment Details screen appears. Select Manage Access.

Image showing the selection of Manages access

The Edit labels dialog appears, allowing you to choose the labels that you want to apply to the segment. For this use case, select the PHI/ Regulated Health Data label, then select Save.

Image showing the selection of the RHD label and save being selected

Repeat the above steps with Insulin <50.

Activate the access control policy policy

The default access control policy will leverage labels to define which user roles have access to specific Platform resources. In this example, access to schema fields and segments will be denied in all sandboxes for users who aren’t in a role that has the corresponding labels in the schema field.

To activate the access control policy, select Permissions from the left navigation and then select Policies.

List of policies displayed

Next, select the ellipsis (...) next to the policies name, and a dropdown displays controls to edit, activate, delete, or duplicate the role. Select Activate from the dropdown.

Dropdown to activate policy

The activate policy dialog appears which prompts you to confirm activation. Select Confirm.

Activate policy dialog

Confirmation of policy activation is received and you are returned to the Policies page.

Activate policy confirmation

Next steps

You have completed the application of labels to a role, schema fields, and segments. The external agency assigned to these roles are restricted from viewing these labels and their values in the schema, dataset, and profile view. These fields are also restricted from being used in the segment definition when using the Segment Builder.

For more information on attribute-based access control, see the attribute-based access control overview.

The following video is intended to support your understanding of attribute-based access control, and outlines how to configure roles, resources, and policies.

Hi, in this video, I’m going to show you how to use attribute-based access control, an Experience Platform feature that allows privacy-conscious brands greater flexibility to manage user access. Individual objects, such as schema fields and segments can be assigned to user roles. Let’s start in the interface, and do a quick review of the key components of access control. System and product administrators have access to permissions, available in the left navigation of platform-based applications, or configurable as a quick access link on the Experience Cloud homepage.
When I go to permissions, I’m taken to the roles screen. Attribute-based access control exists within the larger concept of role-based access control. A role allows you to give access to various platform features to multiple users. Let’s look at a role. Users assigned to this role have access to features needed to manage Journeys. Additional permissions can be added by dragging and dropping resources from the left navigation, and then adding options from the dropdown. And then I can assign individual users in groups to this role to give them access to these features. These users must already be included in your organization. If not, you’ll first need to add them in the admin console, and assign them to at least one product profile before you can add them to a role. You can also assign API credentials, which were created in the developer console, to a role. Now let’s talk about labels, and really get into attribute-based access control. Let’s imagine we’re a healthcare company whose marketing group works with external agencies, and we have a basic requirement. Our internal marketing team can see and use personal health information or regulated health data in our marketing campaigns. Our agency, however, shouldn’t be able to see or use this type of data. So here’s where we get started with the labels feature within roles. To make attribute-based access control work, there are three components which need to be configured. I need to label my roles, label my resources, like schema fields and segments, and finally build a policy that links those labels together. Let’s get started. I’ll open my internal team role, and go to the labels tab, and select add labels. This will list all of the labels in my organization. I can also add new ones. If you’ve used the platform’s governance framework, this list will look familiar. I’ll scroll down to the PHI regulated health data label, and save that to my role. The next step is to add the same label to the resources I want to restrict. Let’s start with schema fields. I’ll open my healthcare schema. And at the top, I’ll select a labels tab. I can assign a label to one or multiple fields at once. I’ll select these blood glucose and insulin level fields, and assign the regulated health data label. Note that the label gets added at the field group level, and will impact all other schemas using this field group.
Next, I’ll add the label to a segment. I have these two segments based on those schema fields I just labeled. For this demo, I’ll label just one of the segments, blood glucose is greater than 100. I’ll open the segment and click manage access. And then I add the label just like before. There’s also a managed access button in the segment editor. Now let’s create a policy to link the labels in the attributes to the labels in my role. I go back to permissions, and select policies, and I’ll create a new policy.
Note that if I click this arrow, it flips the logic from deny to permit, but I want to stick with deny. I select my resource, and restrict access to all. Now for my attribute, since the RHD label was provided out of the box by Adobe, it’s considered a core label, and I’ll choose core label for my resource. Note that I don’t select individual labels that were on the list.
So what this means is if the user in the schema field don’t have matching labels, don’t let them access the schema field in all of my sandboxes.
And to include my segments in this policy, I can add another resource.
I’ll save it, and then activate my policy. So what did this do? I’ll now log in as a user assigned to the agency role, which has the exact same feature permissions, but no labels.
I’m not able to see that these fields exist in this schema. If I look up a profile, I won’t see these fields or their values. If I preview a data set, I won’t see these fields or values. And if I attempt to build a new segment, I won’t be able to use these fields in my segment definition.
And in my segments, the one that I labeled is not visible to this user, but the one that I didn’t label is visible, even though it uses a field that was labeled with regulated health data. So in a use case like this, be sure to label both the schema field and any segments that use it. As you can see, the system is very flexible, and can be used to address other use cases too. For example, you might have different brands or teams working in the same production sandbox who need to keep resources separate. So best of luck, and enjoy the feature. -