Review policy insights for projects, folders, and organizations

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This page shows how to manage policy insights, which are machine learning-based findings about permission usage. Policy insights can help you identify which principals have permissions that they don't need.

This page focuses on policy insights for projects, folders, and organizations. Recommender also offers policy insights for Cloud Storage buckets.

Policy insights are sometimes linked to role recommendations. Role recommendations suggest actions that you can take to remediate the issues identified by policy insights.

Before you begin

Required roles

To get the permissions that you need to manage policy insights, ask your administrator to grant you the following IAM roles on the project, folder, or organization that you want to manage insights for:

  • To view policy insights: IAM Recommender Viewer (roles/recommender.iamViewer)
  • To modify policy insights: IAM Recommender Admin (roles/recommender.iamAdmin)

For more information about granting roles, see Manage access.

These predefined roles contain the permissions required to manage policy insights. To see the exact permissions that are required, expand the Required permissions section:

Required permissions

  • To view policy insights:
    • recommender.iamPolicyInsights.get
    • recommender.iamPolicyInsights.list
  • To modify policy insights: recommender.iamPolicyInsights.update

You might also be able to get these permissions with custom roles or other predefined roles.

List policy insights

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

Console

  1. In the Google 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                            CATEGORY  INSIGHT_STATE  LAST_REFRESH_TIME     SEVERITY  INSIGHT_SUBTYPE    DESCRIPTION
00133c0b-5431-4b30-9172-7c903aa4af24  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2022-05-24T07:00:00Z  LOW       PERMISSIONS_USAGE  9 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.
0161f2eb-acb7-4a5e-ad52-50284beaa312  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2022-05-24T07:00:00Z  LOW       PERMISSIONS_USAGE  0 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.
01ea0d0d-e9a1-4073-9367-5a934a857fb4  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2022-05-24T07:00:00Z  LOW       PERMISSIONS_USAGE  1 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.
039407bc-a25b-4aeb-b573-5c851f2e9833  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2022-05-24T07:00:00Z  HIGH      PERMISSIONS_USAGE  52 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.
0541df88-8bc3-44b3-ad5d-9cb372630aeb  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2022-05-24T07:00:00Z  HIGH      PERMISSIONS_USAGE  31 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.
07841f74-02ce-4de8-bbe6-fc4eabb68568  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2022-05-24T07:00:00Z  HIGH      PERMISSIONS_USAGE  0 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.
07713094-fdee-4475-9c43-cd53d52c9de1  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2022-05-24T07:00:00Z  LOW       PERMISSIONS_USAGE  2 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.
0a438d19-9d63-4749-aadd-578aa4e77908  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2022-05-24T07:00:00Z  LOW       PERMISSIONS_USAGE  0 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.
f4292f55-105b-4744-9dc3-fcacf59685bb  SECURITY  ACTIVE         2022-05-24T07:00:00Z  HIGH      PERMISSIONS_USAGE  4 of the permissions in this role binding were used in the past 90 days.

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 for 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": "2022-05-24T07:00:00Z",
      "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": "2022-05-24T07:00:00Z",
      "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 Google 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 Google 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
severity: HIGH
stateInfo:
  state: ACTIVE
targetResources:
- //cloudresourcemanager.googleapis.com/projects/123456789012

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": "2022-05-24T07:00:00Z",
  "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 Google Cloud console, the Google 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) insights have the PERMISSIONS_USAGE subtype.

PERMISSIONS_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.
  • 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/123456789012.

REST

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

PERMISSIONS_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.
  • 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/123456789012.

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 CLI 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
severity: HIGH
stateInfo:
  state: ACCEPTED
targetResources:
- //cloudresourcemanager.googleapis.com/projects/123456789012

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": "2022-05-24T07:00:00Z",
  "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