Identity and Access Management


This page provides an overview of Identity and Access Management (IAM) and its use with controlling access to the buckets, managed folders, and objects resources in Cloud Storage.


IAM allows you to control who has access to the resources in your Google Cloud project. Resources include Cloud Storage buckets, the managed folders within buckets, and objects stored within buckets, as well as other Google Cloud entities such as Compute Engine instances.

Principals are the "who" of IAM. Principals can be individual users, groups, domains, or even the public as a whole. Principals are granted roles, which give them the ability to perform actions in Cloud Storage as well as Google Cloud more generally. Each role is a collection of one or more permissions. Permissions are the basic units of IAM: each permission lets you perform a certain action.

For example, the storage.objects.create permission lets you create objects. This permission is found in roles such as Storage Object Creator (roles/storage.objectCreator), which grants the permissions useful for creating objects in a bucket, and Storage Object Admin (roles/storage.objectAdmin), which grants a wide range of permissions for working with objects.

The collection of IAM roles that you set on a resource is called an IAM policy. The access granted by these roles apply to both the resource on which the policy is set and any resources contained within that resource. For example, you can set an IAM policy on a bucket that gives a user administrative control of that bucket and its objects. You can also set an IAM policy on the overall project that gives another user the ability to view objects in any bucket within that project.

If you have a Google Cloud organization resource, you can also use IAM deny policies to deny access to resources. When a deny policy is attached to a resource, the principal in the policy can't use the specified permission to access the resource or any sub-resource within it, regardless of the roles they're granted. Deny policies override any IAM allow policies.


Permissions allow principals to perform specific actions on buckets, managed folders, or objects in Cloud Storage. For example, the storage.buckets.list permission allows a principal to list the buckets in your project. You don't directly give principals permissions; instead, you grant roles, which have one or more permissions bundled within them.

For a reference list of the IAM permissions that apply to Cloud Storage, see IAM Permissions for Cloud Storage.


Roles are a bundle of one or more permissions. For example, the Storage Object Viewer (roles/storage.objectViewer) role contains the permissions storage.objects.get and storage.objects.list. You grant roles to principals, which allows them to perform actions on the buckets, managed folders, and objects in your project.

For a reference list of the IAM roles that apply to Cloud Storage, see IAM Roles for Cloud Storage.

Granting roles at the project level, bucket level, or managed folder level

You can grant roles to principals at the project level, bucket level, or managed folder level. The permissions granted by those roles apply additively throughout the resource hierarchy. You can grant roles at different levels of the resource hierarchy for more granularity in your permissions model.

For example, say you want to give a user permission to read objects in any bucket within a project but create objects only in bucket A. To achieve this, you can give the user the Storage Object Viewer (roles/storage.objectViewer) role for the project, which allows the user to read any object stored in any bucket within your project, and the Storage Object Creator (roles/storage.objectCreator) role for bucket A, which allows the user to create objects only in that bucket.

Some roles can be used at all levels of the resource hierarchy. When used at the project level, the permissions they contain apply to all buckets, folders, and objects in the project. When used at the bucket level, the permissions only apply to a specific bucket and the folders and objects within it. Examples of such roles are the Storage Admin (roles/storage.admin) role, the Storage Object Viewer (roles/storage.objectViewer) role, and the Storage Object Creator (roles/storage.objectCreator) role.

Some roles can only be applied at one level. For example, you can only apply the Storage Legacy Object Owner (roles/storage.legacyObjectOwner) role at the bucket level or at the managed folder level. The IAM roles that allow you to control IAM deny policies can only be applied at the organization level.

Relation to ACLs

Legacy Bucket IAM roles work in tandem with bucket ACLs: when you add or remove a Legacy Bucket role, the ACLs associated with the bucket reflect your changes. Similarly, changing a bucket-specific ACL updates the corresponding Legacy Bucket IAM role for the bucket.

Legacy Bucket role Equivalent ACL
Storage Legacy Bucket Reader (roles/storage.legacyBucketReader) Bucket Reader
Storage Legacy Bucket Writer (roles/storage.legacyBucketWriter) Bucket Writer
Storage Legacy Bucket Owner (roles/storage.legacyBucketOwner) Bucket Owner

All other bucket-level IAM roles, including Legacy Object IAM roles, work independently from ACLs. Similarly, all project-level IAM roles work independently from ACLs. For example, if you give a user the Storage Object Viewer (roles/storage.objectViewer) role, the ACLs remain unchanged. This means you can use bucket-level IAM roles to grant broad access to all objects within a bucket and use the fine-grained object ACLs to customize access to specific objects within the bucket.

IAM deny policies vs. ACLs

IAM deny policies apply to access granted by ACLs. For example, if you create a deny policy that denies a principal the storage.objects.get permission on a project, the principal cannot view objects in that project, even if they are granted the READER permission to individual objects.

IAM permission for changing ACLs

You can use IAM to give principals the permission needed to change ACLs on objects. The following storage.buckets permissions together allow users to work with bucket ACLs and default object ACLs: .get, .getIamPolicy, .setIamPolicy, and .update.

Similarly, the following storage.objects permissions together allow users to work with object ACLs: .get, .getIamPolicy, .setIamPolicy, and .update.

Custom roles

While IAM has many predefined roles that cover common use cases, you may want to define your own roles which contain bundles of permissions that you specify. To support this, IAM offers custom roles.

Principal types

There are a number of different types of principals. For example, Google Accounts and Google groups represent two general types, while allAuthenticatedUsers and allUsers are two specialized types. For a list of principal types in IAM, see Principal identifiers. For more information about principals in general, see Concepts related to identity.

Convenience values

Cloud Storage supports convenience values, which are a special set of principals that can be applied specifically to your IAM bucket policies. You should generally avoid using convenience values in production environments, because they require granting basic roles, a practice which is discouraged in production environments.

A convenience value is a two-part identifier consisting of a basic role and a project ID:

  • projectOwner:PROJECT_ID
  • projectEditor:PROJECT_ID
  • projectViewer:PROJECT_ID

A convenience value acts as a bridge between the principals granted the basic role and an IAM role: the IAM role granted to the convenience value is, in effect, also granted to all principals of the specified basic role for the specified project ID.

For example, say and have the Viewer (roles/viewer) basic role for a project named my-example-project, and say you have a bucket in that project named my-bucket. If you grant the Storage Object Creator (roles/storage.objectCreator) role for my-bucket to the convenience value projectViewer:my-example-project, then both and gain the permissions associated with the Storage Object Creator role for my-bucket.

You can grant and revoke access to convenience values for your buckets, but note that Cloud Storage automatically applies them in certain circumstances. See modifiable behavior for basic roles in Cloud Storage for more information.


IAM Conditions lets you set conditions that control how permissions are granted or denied to principals. Cloud Storage supports the following types of condition attributes:

  • Grant or deny access to buckets and objects based on the bucket or object name. You can also use resource.type to grant access to either buckets or objects, but doing so is mostly redundant with using The following example condition applies an IAM setting to all objects with the same prefix:'projects/_/buckets/BUCKET_NAME/objects/OBJECT_PREFIX')

  • Date/time: Set an expiration date for the permission.

    request.time < timestamp('2019-01-01T00:00:00Z')

These conditional expressions are logic statements that use a subset of the Common Expression Language (CEL). You specify conditions in the role bindings of a bucket's IAM policy.

Keep these restrictions in mind:

  • You must enable uniform bucket-level access on a bucket before adding conditions at the bucket level. Although conditions are allowed at the project level, you should migrate all buckets in the project to uniform bucket-level access to prevent Cloud Storage ACLs from overriding project-level IAM conditions. You can apply a uniform bucket-level access constraint to enable uniform bucket-level access for all new buckets in your project.
  • When using the JSON API to call getIamPolicy and setIamPolicy on buckets with conditions, you must set the IAM policy version to 3.
  • Since the storage.objects.list permission is granted at the bucket level, you cannot use the condition attribute to restrict object listing access to a subset of objects in the bucket.
  • Expired conditions remain in your IAM policy until you remove them.

Using with Cloud Storage tools

Although IAM permissions cannot be set through the XML API, users granted IAM permissions can still use the XML API, as well as any other tool for accessing Cloud Storage.

For references on which IAM permissions allow users to perform actions with different Cloud Storage tools, see IAM references for Cloud Storage.

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