Chapter 1. Overview of authentication and authorization

1.1. About authentication in OpenShift Container Platform

To control access to an OpenShift Container Platform cluster, a cluster administrator can configure user authentication and ensure only approved users access the cluster.

To interact with an OpenShift Container Platform cluster, users must first authenticate to the OpenShift Container Platform API in some way. You can authenticate by providing an OAuth access token or an X.509 client certificate in your requests to the OpenShift Container Platform API.


If you do not present a valid access token or certificate, your request is unauthenticated and you receive an HTTP 401 error.

An administrator can configure authentication through the following tasks:

1.2. About authorization in OpenShift Container Platform

Authorization involves determining whether the identified user has permissions to perform the requested action.

Administrators can define permissions and assign them to users using the RBAC objects, such as rules, roles, and bindings. To understand how authorization works in OpenShift Container Platform, see Evaluating authorization.

You can also control access to an OpenShift Container Platform cluster through projects and namespaces.

Along with controlling user access to a cluster, you can also control the actions a pod can perform and the resources it can access using security context constraints (SCCs).

You can manage authorization for OpenShift Container Platform through the following tasks: