Resource Access Management

Secure your cloud resources with Resource Access Management to define fine-grained access permissions for users and groups

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Alibaba Cloud Resource Access Management (RAM) is an identity and access control service which enables you to centrally manage your users (including employees, systems or applications) and securely control their access to your resources through permission levels. RAM thereby allows you to securely grant access permissions for Alibaba Cloud resources to only your selected high-privileged users, enterprise personnel and partners. This helps to ensure secure and appropriate usage of your cloud resources and protects from any unsolicited access to your account.

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Enhanced Security
Follows Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) technique to ensure protection for your account
Allows you to simply access and configure RAM using web-based Alibaba Cloud Management Console or APIs
Complimentary Service with Alibaba Cloud Subscription
Enables centralized management without paying extra charges; pay only for other services used by your RAM users Provides one consolidated bill for all expenses incurred by resource operations performed by all users present in multiple accounts falling under one enterprise account
Centralized management
Create, manage, rename and delete RAM users, groups and roles; grant necessary permissions Use unified management of access permissions and identity credentials for Alibaba Cloud resources Revoke permissions from multiple resources or user accounts in accordance with your needs


How it works

Enterprise User Account Management and Permission Allocation

An enterprise has a project for which it has purchased multiple cloud resources like ECS/RDS/SLB instances and OSS buckets. Employees with different responsibilities and permissions need to perform various operations. They can be allocated independent user or operator accounts to perform only those resource operations to which they have permissions. This way the enterprise does not compromise on security and can also grant/revoke permissions for any user account at any time. Also, charges for resource operations are billed collectively to the enterprise that is the primary account.

Recommended configuration for this scenario

RAM-user accounts and authorization management function


- Bind the primary account to an MFA device and configure MFA for the primary account to prevent risks caused by disclosure of primary account password

- Activate RAM

- Create user accounts and RAM user accounts for different employees (or application systems) and set logon passwords or create access keys as needed

- Create a group for multiple employees with same responsibilities and add users to the group

- Create custom authorization policies and grant permissions by binding one or more policies to groups/users

Temporary Authorization Management for Mobile Apps

An enterprise does not want to allow all apps to use the AppServer to transmit data. However, mobile apps run on mobile devices and controlling these devices is not possible. The enterprise also wants to minimize security risks by giving each app an access token with minimal permissions and reducing the access duration.

Recommended configuration for this scenario

RAM STS-tokens


-To complete the authorization process, the enterprise creates a role and grants permissions to the role by binding it with authorization policy

-Enterprise creates a RAM-user for AppServer and authorizes this user to assume the role it created

- AppServer issues STS-tokens for resource access

Resource Operations and Authorization Management Between Enterprises

Enterprise A has purchased multiple cloud resources and granted cloud resource O&M, monitoring management, and other tasks to Enterprise B. Enterprise B can allocate access permissions for A’s resources to one or more of its employees. B needs to precisely control the operations its employees can perform on A’s resources. A needs to revoke B’s permissions at will if the O&M entrustment contract is revoked.

Suggested configuration for this scenario

RAM roles for cross-account authorization


-A role is created and permissions are granted for cross-account authorization

-Cross-account resources can be accessed through the console by creating sub-users and authorizing them to assume the role


1. How do I get started with Alibaba Cloud RAM?

Once you have signed up for Alibaba Cloud, you can either use web-based Alibaba Cloud Management Console or RAM APIs (for programmatic access) to create users and groups as well as assign them permissions to access different resources.

2. How does a sub-user sign into the Alibaba Cloud Management Console?

Visit the logon page or refer to the links on the Management Console dashboard.

3. Which Alibaba Cloud products and services support RAM integration?

Service Management Console API Reference
Elastic Compute Service ECS Permission
ApsaraDB for RDS RDS Permission
Server Load Balancer SLB Permission
Virtual Private Cloud VPC Permission
EIP EIP Permission
Object Storage Service OSS Permission
Table Store TableStore Permission
Message Service MessageService Permission
Alibaba Cloud CDN CDN Permission
ApsaraDB for Redis
ApsaraDB for Memcache
Server Guard
Mobile Security
Support Center

4. What is a RAM-role?

A RAM-Role is a virtual user (shadow account) or a type of RAM user. This user has a fixed identity and can be granted policies. However, a RAM-Role must be assumed by an authorized real user.

5. Which operation permissions are granted to a new RAM-user?

By default, a new RAM user has no operation permissions. A RAM user represents an operator and must be explicitly authorized to perform any operation. The user can perform resource operations through the RAM console or APIs, only after being authorized.

6. What are authorization policies?

An authorization policy is a group of permissions described using Authorization Policy Language. It can precisely define the authorized resource set and operation set, as well as the authorization conditions.

7. How do I view all system authorization policies supported by Alibaba Cloud?

To view all the system authorization policies supported by Alibaba Cloud, log on to the RAM console and go to the Authorization Policy Management page to view a list of all system authorization policies.

8. What is a RoleARN?

A RoleARN is the global resource descriptor that specifies a role. RoleARNs follow Alibaba Cloud’s ARN naming rules.

For example, the RoleARN for the “devops” role of an Alibaba Cloud account: acs:ram::1234567890123456:role/devops.

9. How do I delete an authorization policy with multiple versions?

Authorization policies which have been edited and saved multiple times will have several attached "versions". Once these have been deleted from the RAM console, the remaining "default" authorization policy can be deleted, which will completely remove the policy from your Alibaba Cloud account.

10. How do I assign commonly used permissions?

Alibaba Cloud provides System Authorization Policies, a set of commonly used permissions that you can attach to RAM users, groups, and roles. These policies are a group of comprehensive permission sets created and managed by Alibaba Cloud, such as read-only permission for ECS or full permissions for ECS. You can use these policies but not modify them.

11. How do I create a custom authorization policy?

1. Access the RAM console, select Policy Management and then Custom Policies.

2. Click “New Authorization Policy.”

3. Select a template from the list (for example, AliyunOSSReadOnlyAccess).

4. Edit the name, remarks, and content of the authorization policy as needed.

5. After making necessary changes, click “Add Policy” to create the custom authorization policy.

12. How do I attach an authorization policy to a group?

1. Logon to the RAM console and go to Group Management.

2. Select a group, and click “Authorize” to go to the Edit Authorization Policy page.

3. Select the name of the relevant authorization policy to grant permissions to the group.

13. How do I assign the same set of permissions to multiple RAM users?

You can attach authorization policird to RAM groups. All users in the group will be granted the permissions associated with the group.

14. What kinds of security credentials can RAM users have?

RAM users can access cloud services through APIs or by logging into the Alibaba Cloud Management console with the help of access keys. You can also enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) which requires another verification code (second security factor provided by the user’s MFA device) after entering username and password. This provides another layer of security for your account.

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