Secure your YugabyteDB universes

Like PostgreSQL, YugabyteDB provides security in multiple ways:

  • Authentication - limit access to the database to clients with proper credentials

  • Authorization - create users and roles, and grant privileges to restrict activities that the users and roles can perform

  • Encryption - encrypt the database, as well as all network communication between servers

  • Auditing - conduct session- and object-level auditing

  • Network access restriction - limit connections to the database using RPC binding


Using client authentication, you can define how the database server establishes the identity of the client, and whether the client application (or the user who runs the client application) is allowed to connect with the database user name that was requested. YugabyteDB offers a number of different client authentication methods, all of which can be configured using the YB-TServer --ysql_hba_conf_csv configuration flag.

The methods include the following:

  • Password - authenticate using MD5 or SCRAM-SHA-256.

    MD5 is the default password encryption for YugabyteDB clusters. To set SCRAM-SHA-256 authentication, you must set the YB-TServer --ysql_hba_conf_csv flag to scram-sha-256.

  • LDAP - use external LDAP services to perform client authentication.

  • Host-based - authenticate local and remote clients based on IP address and using TLS certificates.

    The default YugabyteDB listen_addresses setting accepts connections only from localhost. To allow remote connections, you must add client authentication records to the YB-TServer --ysql_hba_conf_csv flag.

  • Trust - authorize specific local connections. trust authentication is used by default.

You can choose the method to use to authenticate a particular client connection based on the client host address, the database they are connecting to, and user credentials.

YugabyteDB stores authentication credentials internally in the YB-Master system tables. The authentication mechanisms available to clients depend on what is supported and exposed by the YSQL and YCQL APIs.

Read more about how to enable authentication in YugabyteDB.


YugabyteDB provides role-based access control (RBAC), consisting of a collection of privileges on resources given to roles.

Read more about authorization in YugabyteDB.


Roles are essential for implementing and administering access control on a YugabyteDB cluster. Roles can represent individual users or a group of users, and encapsulate a set of privileges that can be assigned to other roles (or users). You can modify roles to grant users or applications the minimum required privileges based on the operations they need to perform against the database. Typically, you create an administrator role first, and the administrator then creates additional roles for users.

For example, to create a role engineering for an engineering team in an organization, do the following:

yugabyte=# CREATE ROLE engineering;

Roles that have LOGIN privileges are users. So to create a user john, do the following:

yugabyte=# CREATE ROLE john LOGIN PASSWORD 'PasswdForJohn';

You can then grant the engineering role to the user john as follows:

yugabyte=# GRANT engineering TO john;


You grant privileges explicitly to roles to access objects in the database using the GRANT statement. You can, for example, assign read access to one role, data modify access to another role, and alter table access to a third.

By default, only the owner has privileges on new objects; you must grant privileges to other roles explicitly.

For example, if you want all members of engineering to be able to read data from a table called integration_tests, you would use the GRANT statement to grant SELECT (or read) access to the engineering role. This can be done as follows:

yugabyte=# GRANT SELECT ON ALL TABLE integration_tests to engineering;
yugabyte=# GRANT USAGE ON SCHEMA public TO engineering;

You can verify that the engineering role has SELECT privileges as follows:

yugabyte=# \z

The output should look similar to below, where you see that the engineering role has SELECT privileges on the data resource.

 Schema |       Name        | Type  |     Access privileges     | Column privileges | Policies
 public | integration_tests | table | yugabyte=arwdDxt/yugabyte+|                   |
        |                   |       | engineering=r/yugabyte   +|                   |

The access privileges "arwdDxt" include all privileges for the user yugabyte (superuser), while the role engineering has only "r" (read) privileges. For details on the GRANT statement, refer to GRANT.

Row-level access

In addition to database access permissions available through the ROLE and GRANT privilege system, YugabyteDB provides a more granular level of security where tables can have row security policies that restrict the rows that users can access.

Row-level Security (RLS) restricts rows that can be returned by normal queries or inserted, updated, or deleted by DML commands. RLS policies can be created specific to a DML command or with ALL commands. They can also be used to create policies on a particular role or multiple roles.

By default, tables do not have any RLS policies defined, so that if a user has access privileges to a table, all rows within the table are available to query and update.

RLS policies are defined for tables using the ALTER TABLE statement. For example:


Column-level access

You can use column-level security in YugabyteDB to restrict users to viewing only a particular column or set of columns in a table. You do this by creating a view that includes only the columns that the user needs access to using the CREATE VIEW command, and then grant privileges to roles for the view. For example:

yugabyte=# CREATE VIEW emp_info as select empno, ename, address from emploees;
yugabyte=# GRANT SELECT on emp_info to ybadmin;

This creates a view called emp_info with three columns from the table employees, and grants access to the ybadmin role.


YugabyteDB supports both encryption in transit (that is, the network communication between servers), and encryption at rest (that is, encryption of the database itself). Yugabyte further provides column-level encryption to protect sensitive data in tables.

Encryption in transit

TLS encryption ensures that network communication between servers is secure. You can configure YugabyteDB to use TLS to encrypt intra-cluster and client to server network communication. Servers are secured using TLS certificates, which can be from a public CA or self-signed.

You should enable encryption in transit for YugabyteDB clusters and clients to ensure privacy and the integrity of data transferred over the network.

Server-to-server encryption is enabled using the --use_node_to_node_encryption flag.

Client-to-server encryption requires that server-to-server encryption be enabled, and is enabled using the --use_client_to_server_encryption flag.

Read more about enabling Encryption in transit in YugabyteDB.

Encryption at rest

Encryption at rest ensures that data at rest (that is, stored on disk), is protected. You can configure YugabyteDB with a user-generated symmetric key to perform cluster-wide encryption.

Read more about enabling Encryption at rest in YugabyteDB.

Column-level encryption

YugabyteDB provides column-level encryption to restrict access to sensitive data such as addresses and credit card details. YugabyteDB uses the PostgreSQL pgcrypto extension to enable column level encryption. The PGP_SYM_ENCRYPT and PGP_SYM_DECRYPT functions of pgcrypto are used to encrypt and decrypt column data.

To encrypt column data, you use the PGP_SYM_ENCRYPT function when inserting data into a table. For example:

yugabyte=# insert into employees values (1, 'joe', '56 grove st',  20000, PGP_SYM_ENCRYPT('AC-22001', 'AES_KEY'));

Read more about enabling column-level encryption in YugabyteDB.


Use audit logging to produce audit logs needed to comply with government, financial, or ISO certifications. YugabyteDB YSQL uses the PostgreSQL Audit Extension (pgaudit) to provide detailed session and object audit logging via YugabyteDB YB-TServer logging.

You enable audit logging using the --ysql_pg_conf_csv YB-TServer flag.

Read more about audit logging in YugabyteDB.

Session logging

Session logging is enabled on a per user session basis. You can enable session logging for all DML and DDL statements and log all relations in DML statements.

For example, to enable session-level audit logging for all DDL statements for a YugabyteDB cluster:

yugabyte=# set pgaudit.log = 'read, ddl';

Read more about Session-Level Audit Logging in YSQL.

Object logging

Object logging logs statements that affect a particular relation, and is intended to be a finer-grained replacement for session-level logging. It may not make sense to use them in conjunction, but you could, for example, use session logging to capture each statement and then supplement that with object logging to get more detail about specific relations.

YugabyteDB implements object-level audit logging by reusing the PostgreSQL role system. The pgaudit.role setting defines the role that will be used for audit logging. A relation (such as TABLE or VIEW) will be audit logged when the audit role has permissions for the command executed or inherits the permissions from another role. This allows you to effectively have multiple audit roles even though there is a single master role in any context.

For example, to enable object logging for the auditor role:

yugabyte=# set pgaudit.role = 'auditor';

Read more about Object-Level Audit Logging in YSQL.

Restricting network access

Ensure that YugabyteDB runs in a trusted network environment, such that:

  • Servers running YugabyteDB services are directly accessible only by the servers running the application and database administrators.

  • Only servers running applications can connect to YugabyteDB services on the RPC ports. Access to the YugabyteDB ports should be denied to all others.

In addition, you can limit the interfaces on which YugabyteDB instances listen for incoming connections. To specify just the required interfaces when starting yb-master and yb-tserver, use the --rpc_bind_addresses YB-TServer flag. Do not bind to the loopback address. Refer to the Admin Reference for more information on using these flags.