OSIsoft: What are PI Identities, Mappings, & Trusts? (High Level PI Server Security Map)
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OSIsoft: What are PI Identities, Mappings, & Trusts? (High Level PI Server Security Map)

Today we are going to draw a high level map of the mechanisms we use to configure PI Server security. PI Server security allows us to control who or what gets access and to tailor these permissions in a manageable way. Why do we even care about security? Well our PI Server specifically our Data Archive component stores very important data. Good security allows us to make sure that our data is always available and that we can confirm the integrity of our data. Keep in mind we aren’t only safeguarding our PI data but potentially access to other systems that our PI Server has access to. Let’s focus on the Data Archive first. And the model that I’m outlining, this is available starting with the Data Archive Versions 3.4.380.36 and later. At your organization you have different groups of users who interact with the PI System. And for example maybe you have a group that’s your process engineers. And maybe there is a few individuals that are actually responsible for leading the process engineering team. You also might have applications that read data from the PI System like PI Coresight. Or write data to it like PI Interfaces. These users and applications all have different needs. What we want to do is tailor their permissions to exactly match up to these different needs. To do this, security on the PI Data Archive is configured on different areas or levels. And basically each area governs specific tasks. And having specific permissions on that area controls who or what can do these tasks. Trying to specify individual user permissions on all of these different areas would be really difficult to manage. So we focus instead on setting permissions at a group level. And we do this with PI Identities. PI Identities are used to represent different user groups and they gave assigned specific permissions to these areas. Essentially each PI Identity represents a set of access permissions. Now there are default identities pre-built on the system like PI Supervisors. And you can use the default PI Identities but what you can do is you can customize them. You can create your own PI Identities that exactly match the groups at your organization. For example if your organization has a process engineering group, you can create a process engineers PI Identity. You can also create other identities both for your user groups and for your applications. And then you just need to set the PI Identities permissions on the different data archive areas that match up to these group’s roles. We also need a way to link these Windows groups or accounts to their corresponding PI Identity. And this is exactly what mappings do. In a mapping we are simply stating that this Windows Active Directory group or account equals this PI Identity. And you can see that leveraging groups is going to make things easier to setup and maintain. If I wasn’t using a group, for example I would have to create three different mappings for the process engineering leads instead of just a single mapping for the group. Mappings are also used to link applications to identities. You just need to specify the account that the application runs under. And that equals the PI Identity. You can see that this allows us to really tailor our permissions. We have our users and our applications and we have corresponding PI Identities for them. The users and applications get mapped to these PI Identities through our mappings. And the PI Identities are the ones that have access on the different areas. So it’s a simple matter of using the mappings to authenticate and having PI Identities that are authorized to do specific tasks. The only exception to this is PI Interfaces. So for PI Interfaces, we need to setup trusts. And with a trust we specify the computer that the interface is running on. And we also specify its application name. And a simple rule of thumb, you can just remember that trusts are for PI Interfaces and mappings are for everything else. Both our users and our applications. So we’ve been focusing on the data archive but the asset framework component on the PI Server is very similar. With the asset framework starting with versions 2.7 and later, there are also mappings and identities. And you can use these to set permissions on the different areas in the Asset Framework as well. Make sure to check out the rest of our security videos to see how to set this up in your PI System today.

One Comment

  • Willy Rodrigo de Araujo

    Is this way of associating PI Trusts with only the interfaces still used in the most current version (2018)?

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