Manage IAM policy insights

In addition to providing recommendations, Recommender uses machine learning (ML) to provide detailed insights. Insights are findings that highlight notable patterns in resource usage. For example, you can collect additional information about permission usage in your project, or identify unused service accounts. Some insights also link to recommendations, because the insights provide evidence for the recommendations.

IAM offers several different types of insights. This page shows how to manage policy insights (google.iam.policy.Insight), which are ML-based findings about permission usage within your project, folder, or organization.

Before you begin

Required permissions

The required permissions for using policy insights vary depending on what you want to do.

Permissions to view insights

To view policy insights, you need a role that includes the following permissions:

  • recommender.iamPolicyInsights.get
  • recommender.iamPolicyInsights.list

To gain these permissions while following the principle of least privilege, ask your administrator to grant you one of the following roles:

  • IAM Recommender Viewer (roles/recommender.iamViewer)
  • IAM Security Reviewer (roles/iam.securityReviewer)

Alternatively, your administrator can grant you a different role with the required permissions, such as a custom role or a more permissive predefined role.

Permissions to modify insights

To modify policy insights, you need a role that includes the following permissions:

  • recommender.iamPolicyInsights.get
  • recommender.iamPolicyInsights.list
  • recommender.iamPolicyInsights.update

To gain these permissions while following the principle of least privilege, ask your administrator to grant you the IAM Recommender Admin role (roles/recommender.iamAdmin).

Alternatively, your administrator can grant you a different role with the required permissions, such as a custom role or a more permissive predefined role.

List policy insights

To list all policy insights for your project, folder, or organization, use one of the following methods:

Console

  1. In the Cloud Console, go to the IAM page.

    Go to IAM

  2. Select a project, folder, or organization.

The Security insights column shows all security-related insights for your project, including policy insights. Policy insights have the form EXCESS/TOTAL excess permissions, where EXCESS is the number of permissions in the role that the principal does not need and TOTAL is the total number of permissions in the role.

gcloud

Use the gcloud recommender insights list command to view all policy insights for your project, folder, or organization.

Before you run the command, replace the following values:

  • RESOURCE_TYPE: The resource type that you want to list insights for. Use the value project, folder, or organization.
  • RESOURCE_ID: The ID of the project, folder, or organization that you want to list insights for.
gcloud recommender insights list --insight-type=google.iam.policy.Insight \
    --RESOURCE_TYPE=RESOURCE_ID \
    --location=global

The output lists all of the policy insights for your project, folder, or organization. For example:

INSIGHT_ID                            LOCATION  INSIGHT_TYPE               CATEGORY  INSIGHT_STATE  LAST_REFRESH_TIME
07841f74-02ce-4de8-bbe6-fc4eabb68568  global    google.iam.policy.Insight  SECURITY  ACCEPTED       2020-07-12T07:00:00Z
0d3ce433-f067-4e78-b6ae-03d7d1f6f040  global    google.iam.policy.Insight  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2020-07-13T07:00:00Z
0e2cc488-38fb-4b9b-942c-cfe06a0ab88f  global    google.iam.policy.Insight  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2020-07-13T07:00:00Z
12b557be-d48f-49cf-a0b0-b3b73a178edf  global    google.iam.policy.Insight  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2020-07-13T07:00:00Z
279ef748-408f-44db-9a4a-1ff8865b9839  global    google.iam.policy.Insight  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2020-07-13T07:00:00Z
29a4553d-9ffb-4508-9f13-77f40fc4e8b6  global    google.iam.policy.Insight  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2020-07-13T07:00:00Z
2a00a91a-3e37-4dca-81f7-fb607d18053f  global    google.iam.policy.Insight  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2020-07-13T07:00:00Z
2baea818-df89-4ab3-8a48-0e752459d816  global    google.iam.policy.Insight  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2020-07-13T07:00:00Z
4a59da9d-cde8-46cc-9c68-6980487175fb  global    google.iam.policy.Insight  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2020-07-13T07:00:00Z
78fee8d9-c25c-4070-9f1b-ae5e4a4a164b  global    google.iam.policy.Insight  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2020-07-13T07:00:00Z

REST

The Recommender API's insights.list method lists all policy insights for your project, folder, or organization.

Before using any of the request data, make the following replacements:

  • RESOURCE_TYPE: The resource type that you want to list insights for. Use the value projects, folders, or organizations.
  • RESOURCE_ID: The ID of the project, folder, or organization that you want to list insights for.

HTTP method and URL:

GET https://recommender.googleapis.com/v1/RESOURCE_TYPE/RESOURCE_ID/locations/global/insightTypes/google.iam.policy.Insight/insights

To send your request, expand one of these options:

The response lists all of the policy insights in your project, folder, or organization. For example:

{
  "insights": [
    {
      "name": "projects/123456789012/locations/global/insightTypes/google.iam.policy.Insight/insights/07841f74-02ce-4de8-bbe6-fc4eabb68568",
      "description": "0 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.",
      "content": {
        "role": "roles/viewer",
        "member": "serviceAccount:my-service-account@my-project.iam.gserviceaccount.com",
        "condition": {
          "expression": "",
          "title": "",
          "description": "",
          "location": ""
        },
        "exercisedPermissions": [],
        "inferredPermissions": []
      },
      "lastRefreshTime": "2020-07-12T07:00:00Z",
      "observationPeriod": "7776000s",
      "stateInfo": {
        "state": "ACTIVE"
      },
      "category": "SECURITY",
      "associatedRecommendations": [
        {
          "recommendation": "projects/123456789012/locations/global/recommenders/google.iam.policy.Recommender/recommendations/b1932220-867d-43d1-bd74-fb95876ab656"
        }
      ],
      "targetResources": [
        "//cloudresourcemanager.googleapis.com/projects/123456789012"
      ],
      "insightSubtype": "PERMISSIONS_USAGE",
      "etag": "\"b153ab487e4ae100\"",
      "severity": "HIGH"
    },
    {
      "name": "projects/123456789012/locations/global/insightTypes/google.iam.policy.Insight/insights/f4292f55-105b-4744-9dc3-fcacf59685bb",
      "description": "4 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.",
      "content": {
        "role": "roles/owner",
        "member": "serviceAccount:my-service-account2@my-project.iam.gserviceaccount.com",
        "condition": {
          "expression": "",
          "title": "",
          "description": "",
          "location": ""
        },
        "exercisedPermissions": [
          {
            "permission": "iam.roles.create"
          },
          {
            "permission": "iam.roles.delete"
          },
          {
            "permission": "iam.roles.list"
          },
          {
            "permission": "iam.roles.update"
          }
        ],
        "inferredPermissions": []
      },
      "lastRefreshTime": "2020-07-12T07:00:00Z",
      "observationPeriod": "7776000s",
      "stateInfo": {
        "state": "ACTIVE"
      },
      "category": "SECURITY",
      "associatedRecommendations": [
        {
          "recommendation": "projects/123456789012/locations/global/recommenders/google.iam.policy.Recommender/recommendations/6ab16c1d-edce-45e5-8d82-570fdd49892a"
        }
      ],
      "targetResources": [
        "//cloudresourcemanager.googleapis.com/projects/123456789012"
      ],
      "insightSubtype": "PERMISSIONS_USAGE",
      "etag": "\"49bb705553338fc3\"",
      "severity": "HIGH"
    }
  ]
}

To learn more about the components of an insight, see Review policy insights on this page.

Get a single policy insight

To get more information about a single insight, including the insight's description, status, and any recommendations it's associated with, use one of the following methods:

Console

  1. In the Cloud Console, go to the IAM page.

    Go to IAM

  2. Select a project, folder, or organization.
  3. In the Security insights column, click a policy insight. Policy insights have the form EXCESS/TOTAL excess permissions, where EXCESS is the number of permissions in the role that the principal does not need and TOTAL is the total number of permissions in the role.

The Cloud Console opens a pane showing the details of the insight.

gcloud

Use the gcloud recommender insights describe command with your insight ID to view information about a single insight.

  • INSIGHT_ID: The ID of the insight that you want to view. To find the ID, list the insights for your project, folder, or organization.
  • RESOURCE_TYPE: The resource type that you want to manage insights for. Use the value project, folder, or organization.
  • RESOURCE_ID: The ID of the project, folder, or organization that you want to manage insights for.
gcloud recommender insights describe INSIGHT_ID \
    --insight-type=google.iam.policy.Insight \
    --RESOURCE_TYPE=RESOURCE_ID \
    --location=global

The output shows the insight in detail. For example, the following insight indicates that my-service-account@my-project.iam.gserviceaccount.com has used zero permissions from the Viewer role (roles/viewer) in the past 90 days:

associatedRecommendations:
- recommendation: projects/123456789012/locations/global/recommenders/google.iam.policy.Recommender/recommendations/0573b702-96a5-4622-a916-c762e7b0731f
category: SECURITY
content:
  condition:
    description: ''
    expression: ''
    location: ''
    title: ''
  exercisedPermissions: []
  inferredPermissions: []
  member: serviceAccount:my-service-account@my-project.iam.gserviceaccount.com
  role: roles/viewer
description: 0 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.
etag: '"d3cdec23cc712bd0"'
insightSubtype: PERMISSIONS_USAGE
lastRefreshTime: '2020-07-11T07:00:00Z'
name: projects/123456789012/locations/global/insightTypes/google.iam.policy.Insight/insights/0d3ce433-f067-4e78-b6ae-03d7d1f6f040
observationPeriod: 7776000s
stateInfo:
  state: ACTIVE
targetResources:
- //cloudresourcemanager.googleapis.com/projects/123456789012
severity: HIGH

To learn more about the components of an insight, see Review policy insights on this page.

REST

The Recommender API's insights.get method gets a single insight.

Before using any of the request data, make the following replacements:

  • RESOURCE_TYPE: The resource type that you want to manage insights for. Use the value projects, folders, or organizations.
  • RESOURCE_ID: The ID of the project, folder, or organization that you want to manage insights for.
  • INSIGHT_ID: The ID of the insight that you want to view. If you don't know the insight ID, you can find it by listing the insights in your project, folder, or organization. The ID of an insight is everything after insights/ in the name field for the insight.

HTTP method and URL:

GET https://recommender.googleapis.com/v1/RESOURCE_TYPE/RESOURCE_ID/locations/global/insightTypes/google.iam.policy.Insight/insights/INSIGHT_ID

To send your request, expand one of these options:

The response contains the insight. For example, the following insight indicates that my-service-account@my-project.iam.gserviceaccount.com has used zero permissions from the Viewer role (roles/viewer) in the past 90 days:

{
  "name": "projects/123456789012/locations/global/insightTypes/google.iam.policy.Insight/insights/07841f74-02ce-4de8-bbe6-fc4eabb68568",
  "description": "0 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.",
  "content": {
    "role": "roles/viewer",
    "member": "serviceAccount:my-service-account@my-project.iam.gserviceaccount.com",
    "condition": {
      "expression": "",
      "title": "",
      "description": "",
      "location": ""
    },
    "exercisedPermissions": [],
    "inferredPermissions": []
  },
  "lastRefreshTime": "2020-07-12T07:00:00Z",
  "observationPeriod": "7776000s",
  "stateInfo": {
    "state": "ACTIVE"
  },
  "category": "SECURITY",
  "associatedRecommendations": [
    {
      "recommendation": "projects/123456789012/locations/global/recommenders/google.iam.policy.Recommender/recommendations/b1932220-867d-43d1-bd74-fb95876ab656"
    }
  ],
  "targetResources": [
    "//cloudresourcemanager.googleapis.com/projects/123456789012"
  ],
  "insightSubtype": "PERMISSIONS_USAGE",
  "etag": "\"d3cdec23cc712bd0\"",
  "severity": "HIGH"
}

To learn more about the components of an insight, see Review policy insights on this page.

Review policy insights

After you get a single insight, you can review its contents to understand the pattern of resource usage that it highlights.

Console

When you click a policy insight in the Cloud Console, the Cloud Console opens a pane showing the details of the insight. The appearance of these details depends on whether the insight is associated with a recommendation.

If the insight is associated with a recommendation, the pane shows the details of the recommendation.

If the insight is not associated with a recommendation, the pane shows a list of all permissions in the role. The permissions that the principal used appear at the top of the list, followed by the excess permissions.

gcloud

An insight's content is determined by its subtypes. Policy insights (google.iam.policy.Insight) support insights with the PERMISSION_USAGE subtype.

PERMISSION_USAGE insights have the following components, not necessarily in this order:

  • associatedRecommendations: The identifiers for any recommendations associated with the insight. If there are no recommendations associated with the insight, this field is empty.
  • category: The category for IAM insights is always SECURITY.
  • content: Reports a principal's permission usage for a specific role. This field contains the following components:

    • condition: Any conditions attached to the binding that grants the principal the role. If there are no conditions, this field contains an empty condition.
    • exercisedPermissions: The permissions in the role that the principal used during the observation period.
    • inferredPermissions: The permissions in the role that Recommender has determined, through ML, that the principal is likely to need based on their exercised permissions.
    • member: The principal whose permission usage was analyzed.
    • role: The role for which the permission usage was analyzed.
  • description: A human-readable summary of the insight.
  • etag: A unique identifier for the current state of an insight. Each time the insight changes, a new etag value is assigned.

    To change the state of an insight, you must provide the etag of the existing insight. Using the etag helps ensure that any operations are performed only if the insight has not changed since you last retrieved it.

  • insightSubtype: The insight subtype.
  • lastRefreshTime: The date when the insight was last refreshed, which indicates the freshness of the data used to generate the insight.
  • name: The name of the insight, in the following format:

    RESOURCE_TYPE/RESOURCE_ID/locations/global/insightTypes/google.iam.policy.Insight/insights/INSIGHT_ID

    The placeholders have the following values:

    • RESOURCE_TYPE: The resource type that the insight was generated for.
    • RESOURCE_ID: The ID of the project, folder, or organization where the insight was generated.
    • INSIGHT_ID: A unique ID for the insight.
  • observationPeriod: The time period leading up to the insight. The source data used to generate the insight ends at lastRefreshTime and begins at lastRefreshTime minus observationPeriod.
  • severity: The severity of the insight. Insights for basic roles (Owner, Editor, or Viewer) have a severity of HIGH. All other insights have a severity of LOW.
  • stateInfo: Insights go through multiple state transitions after they are proposed:

    • ACTIVE: The insight has been generated, but either no actions have been taken, or an action was taken without updating the insight's state. Active insights are updated when the underlying data changes.
    • ACCEPTED: Some action has been taken based on the insight. Insights become accepted when an associated recommendation was marked CLAIMED, SUCCEEDED, or FAILED, or the insight was accepted directly. When an insight is in the ACCEPTED state, the content of the insight cannot change. Accepted insights are retained for 90 days after they are accepted.
  • targetResources: The full resource name of the project, folder, or organization that the insight is for. For example, //cloudresourcemanager.googleapis.com/projects/1234567890.

REST

An insight's content is determined by its subtypes. Policy insights (google.iam.policy.Insight) support insights with the PERMISSION_USAGE subtype.

PERMISSION_USAGE insights have the following components, not necessarily in this order:

  • associatedRecommendations: The identifiers for any recommendations associated with the insight. If there are no recommendations associated with the insight, this field is empty.
  • category: The category for IAM insights is always SECURITY.
  • content: Reports a principal's permission usage for a specific role. This field contains the following components:

    • condition: Any conditions attached to the binding that grants the principal the role. If there are no conditions, this field contains an empty condition.
    • exercisedPermissions: The permissions in the role that the principal used during the observation period.
    • inferredPermissions: The permissions in the role that Recommender has determined, through ML, that the principal is likely to need based on their exercised permissions.
    • member: The principal whose permission usage was analyzed.
    • role: The role for which the permission usage was analyzed.
  • description: A human-readable summary of the insight.
  • etag: A unique identifier for the current state of an insight. Each time the insight changes, a new etag value is assigned.

    To change the state of an insight, you must provide the etag of the existing insight. Using the etag helps ensure that any operations are performed only if the insight has not changed since you last retrieved it.

  • insightSubtype: The insight subtype.
  • lastRefreshTime: The date when the insight was last refreshed, which indicates the freshness of the data used to generate the insight.
  • name: The name of the insight, in the following format:

    RESOURCE_TYPE/RESOURCE_ID/locations/global/insightTypes/google.iam.policy.Insight/insights/INSIGHT_ID

    The placeholders have the following values:

    • RESOURCE_TYPE: The resource type that the insight was generated for.
    • RESOURCE_ID: The ID of the project, folder, or organization where the insight was generated.
    • INSIGHT_ID: A unique ID for the insight.
  • observationPeriod: The time period leading up to the insight. The source data used to generate the insight ends at lastRefreshTime and begins at lastRefreshTime minus observationPeriod.
  • severity: The severity of the insight. Insights for basic roles (Owner, Editor, or Viewer) have a severity of HIGH. All other insights have a severity of LOW.
  • stateInfo: Insights go through multiple state transitions after they are proposed:

    • ACTIVE: The insight has been generated, but either no actions have been taken, or an action was taken without updating the insight's state. Active insights are updated when the underlying data changes.
    • ACCEPTED: Some action has been taken based on the insight. Insights become accepted when an associated recommendation was marked CLAIMED, SUCCEEDED, or FAILED, or the insight was accepted directly. When an insight is in the ACCEPTED state, the content of the insight cannot change. Accepted insights are retained for 90 days after they are accepted.
  • targetResources: The full resource name of the project, folder, or organization that the insight is for. For example, //cloudresourcemanager.googleapis.com/projects/1234567890.

Mark a policy insight as ACCEPTED

If you take action based on an active insight, you can mark that insight as ACCEPTED. The ACCEPTED state tells the Recommender API that you have taken action based on this insight, which helps refine your recommendations.

Accepted insights are retained for 90 days after they are marked as ACCEPTED.

Console

If an insight is associated with a recommendation, applying the recommendation changes the insight's state to ACCEPTED.

To mark an insight as ACCEPTED without applying a recommendation, use the gcloud tool or REST API.

gcloud

Use the gcloud recommender insights mark-accepted command with your insight ID to mark an insight as ACCEPTED

  • INSIGHT_ID: The ID of the insight that you want to view. To find the ID, list the insights for your project, folder, or organization.
  • RESOURCE_TYPE: The resource type that you want to manage insights for. Use the value project, folder, or organization.
  • RESOURCE_ID: The ID of the project, folder, or organization that you want to manage insights for.
  • ETAG: An identifier for a version of the insight. To get the etag, do the following:

    1. Get the insight using the gcloud recommender insights describe command.
    2. Find and copy the etag value from the output, including the enclosing quotes. For example, "d3cdec23cc712bd0".
gcloud recommender insights mark-accepted INSIGHT_ID \
    --insight-type=google.iam.policy.Insight \
    --RESOURCE_TYPE=RESOURCE_ID \
    --location=global \
    --etag=ETAG

The output shows the insight, now with the state of ACCEPTED:

associatedRecommendations:
- recommendation: projects/123456789012/locations/global/recommenders/google.iam.policy.Recommender/recommendations/0573b702-96a5-4622-a916-c762e7b0731f
category: SECURITY
content:
  condition:
    description: ''
    expression: ''
    location: ''
    title: ''
  exercisedPermissions: []
  inferredPermissions: []
  member: serviceAccount:my-service-account@my-project.iam.gserviceaccount.com
  role: roles/viewer
description: 0 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.
etag: '"b153ab487e4ae100"'
insightSubtype: PERMISSIONS_USAGE
lastRefreshTime: '2020-07-11T07:00:00Z'
name: projects/123456789012/locations/global/insightTypes/google.iam.policy.Insight/insights/0d3ce433-f067-4e78-b6ae-03d7d1f6f040
observationPeriod: 7776000s
stateInfo:
  state: ACCEPTED
targetResources:
- //cloudresourcemanager.googleapis.com/projects/123456789012
severity: HIGH

To learn more about the state info of an insight, see Review policy insights on this page.

REST

The Recommender API's insights.markAccepted method marks an insight as ACCEPTED.

Before using any of the request data, make the following replacements:

  • RESOURCE_TYPE: The resource type that you want to manage insights for. Use the value projects, folders, or organizations.
  • RESOURCE_ID: The ID of the project, folder, or organization that you want to manage insights for.
  • INSIGHT_ID: The ID of the insight that you want to view. If you don't know the insight ID, you can find it by listing the insights in your project, folder, or organization. The ID of an insight is everything after insights/ in the name field for the insight.
  • ETAG: An identifier for a version of the insight. To get the etag, do the following:
    1. Get the insight using the insights.get method.
    2. Find and copy the etag value from the response.

HTTP method and URL:

POST https://recommender.googleapis.com/v1/RESOURCE_TYPE/RESOURCE_ID/locations/global/insightTypes/google.iam.policy.Insight/insights/INSIGHT_ID:markAccepted

Request JSON body:

{
  "etag": "ETAG"
}

To send your request, expand one of these options:

The response contains the insight, now with the state of ACCEPTED:

{
  "name": "projects/1234567890/locations/global/insightTypes/google.iam.policy.Insight/insights/07841f74-02ce-4de8-bbe6-fc4eabb68568",
  "description": "0 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.",
  "content": {
    "role": "roles/viewer",
    "member": "serviceAccount:my-service-account@my-project.iam.gserviceaccount.com",
    "condition": {
      "expression": "",
      "title": "",
      "description": "",
      "location": ""
    },
    "exercisedPermissions": [],
    "inferredPermissions": []
  },
  "lastRefreshTime": "2020-07-12T07:00:00Z",
  "observationPeriod": "7776000s",
  "stateInfo": {
    "state": "ACCEPTED"
    },
  "category": "SECURITY",
  "associatedRecommendations": [
    {
      "recommendation": "projects/1234567890/locations/global/recommenders/google.iam.policy.Recommender/recommendations/b1932220-867d-43d1-bd74-fb95876ab656"
    }
  ],
  "targetResources": [
    "//cloudresourcemanager.googleapis.com/projects/123456789012"
  ],
  "insightSubtype": "PERMISSIONS_USAGE",
  "etag": "\"b153ab487e4ae100\"",
  "severity": "HIGH"
}

To learn more about the state info of an insight, see Review policy insights on this page.

What's next