Role-Based Access Control for Data Teams

Code-based RBAC will increase security, lighten cognitive load, and set the foundation for simpler data discovery.

Let me make a prediction: as soon as you read that headline you said to yourself "that sounds boring." Yeah. I get it. We're practitioners, we get excited about the insights-generation process and things directly adjacent. But just hear me out.

Access control is a big freaking problem right now. There are so many data systems, and every single one of them has its own abstractions for defining who can see what. As a result, companies of any size are extremely conservative with permissioning, because they have a really hard time asserting that the wrong people don't have access to sensitive (and often legally-protected) data in this heterogeneous, chaotic environment.

This article points out that software engineering organizations already know how to solve this problem in a declarative, idempotent, automatically-testable way. Which has led to (shocker) more self-sufficient and empowered software engineers.

What would it take to see the data systems we all use every day live up to these same expectations? I actually don't think it would be so hard. And the upside is huge—in fact, I'm pretty convinced that this is truly on the critical path to true data democratization within medium and large organizations.


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