Authentication verifies a user's identity. Everyone who needs to access Tableau Server – whether to manage the server, or to publish, browse or administer content – must be represented as a user in the Tableau Server repository. The method of authentication may be performed by Tableau Server (‘local authentication’), or authentication may be performed by an external process. In the latter case, you must configure Tableau Server for external authentication technologies such as Kerberos, SAML or OpenID. In all cases, whether authentication takes place locally or is external, each user identity must be represented in the Tableau Server repository. The repository manages authorisation meta data for user identities.
Looking for Tableau Server on Windows? See Authentication(Link opens in a new window).
Although all user identities are ultimately represented and stored in the Tableau Server repository, you must manage user accounts for Tableau Server in an identity store. There are two, mutually exclusive, identity store options: LDAP and local. Tableau Server supports arbitrary LDAP directories, but it's been optimised for Active Directory LDAP implementation. Alternatively, if you are not running an LDAP directory, you can use the Tableau Server local identity store. For more information see Identity Store.
As shown in the following table, the type of identity store you implement, in part, will determine your authentication options.
Access and management permissions are implemented through site roles. Site roles define which users are administrators, and which users are content consumers and publishers on the server. For more information about administrators, site roles, groups, Guest User and user-related administrative tasks, see Users and Site Roles for Users.
Note: In the context of authentication, it’s important to understand that users are not authorised to access external data sources through Tableau Server by virtue of having an account on the server. In other words, in the default configuration, Tableau Server does not act as a proxy to external data sources. Such access requires additional configuration of the data source on Tableau Server or authentication at the data source when the user connects from Tableau Desktop.
Add-on authentication compatibility
Some authentication methods can be used together. The following table shows authentication methods that can be combined. Cells marked with an "X" indicate a compatible authentication set. Blank cells indicate incompatible authentication sets.
|Trusted Authentication||Server-wide SAML||Site SAML||Kerberos|
Automatic Login Windows (SSPI)
|Automatic Login Windows (SSPI)||N/A|
Client authentication compatibility
* SSPI is not compatible with the Workspace ONE version of the Tableau Mobile app.
If the server is configured to use local authentication, then Tableau Server authenticates users. When users sign-in and enter their credentials, either through Tableau Desktop, tabcmd, API or web client, Tableau Server verifies the credentials.
To enable this scenario, you must first create an identity for each user. To create an identity, you specify a username and a password. To access or interact with content on the server, users must also be assigned a site role. User identities can be added to Tableau Server in the server UI, using tabcmd Commands, or using the REST API(Link opens in a new window).
You can also create groups in Tableau Server to help manage and assign roles to large sets of related user groups (e.g., ‘Marketing’).
When you configure Tableau Server for local authentication, you can set password policies and account lockout on failed password attempts. See Local Authentication.
Note: Tableau with multi-factor (MFA) authentication is available for Tableau Cloud only.
External authentication solutions
Tableau Server can be configured to work with a number of external authentication solutions.
You can configure Tableau Server to use Kerberos for Active Directory. See Kerberos.
You can configure Tableau Server to use SAML (security assertion markup language) authentication. With SAML, an external identity provider (IdP) authenticates the user's credentials, and then sends a security assertion to Tableau Server that provides information about the user's identity.
For more information, see SAML.
OpenID Connect is a standard authentication protocol that lets users sign in to an identity provider (IdP) such as Google. After they've successfully signed in to their IdP, they are automatically signed in to Tableau Server. To use OpenID Connect (OIDC) on Tableau Server, the server must be configured to use the local identity store. Active Directory or LDAP identity stores are not supported with OIDC. For more information, see OpenID Connect.
Using mutual SSL, you can provide users of Tableau Desktop, Tableau Mobile and other approved Tableau clients a secure, direct-access experience to Tableau Server. With mutual SSL, when a client with a valid SSL certificate connects to Tableau Server, Tableau Server confirms the existence of the client certificate and authenticates the user, based on the user name in the client certificate. If the client does not have a valid SSL certificate, Tableau Server can refuse the connection. For more information, see Configure Mutual SSL Authentication.
Trusted authentication (also referred to as ‘Trusted tickets’) lets you set up a trusted relationship between Tableau Server and one or more web servers. When Tableau Server receives requests from a trusted web server, it assumes that the web server has already handled whatever authentication is necessary. Tableau Server receives the request with a redeemable token or ticket and presents the user with a personalised view which takes into consideration the user’s role and permissions. For more information, see Trusted Authentication.
You can also configure Tableau Server to use LDAP for user authentication. Users are authenticated by submitting their credentials to Tableau Server, which will then attempt to bind to the LDAP instance using the user credentials. If the bind works then the credentials are valid and Tableau Server grants the user a session.
‘Binding’ is the handshake/authentication step that happens when a client tries to access an LDAP server. Tableau Server does this for itself when it makes various non-authentication related queries (such as importing users and groups).
You can configure the type of bind you want Tableau Server to use when verifying user credentials. Tableau Server supports GSSAPI and simple bind. Simple bind passes credentials directly to the LDAP instance. We recommend that you configure SSL to encrypt the bind communication. Authentication in this scenario maybe be provided by the native LDAP solution, or with an external process, like SAML.
For more information about planning for and configuring LDAP, see Identity Store and External Identity Store Configuration Reference.
Other authentication scenarios
REST API: Signing In and Out (Authentication)(Link opens in a new window)
Mobile device authentication: Single sign-on for Tableau Mobile(Link opens in a new window)
Certificate trust for TSM clients: Connecting TSM clients
PAM integration for TSM administration: TSM Authentication
Data access and source authentication
You can configure Tableau Server to support a number of different authentication protocols to various different data sources. Data connection authentication may be independent of Tableau Server authentication.
For example, you may configure user authentication to Tableau Server with local authentication, while configuring Kerberos delegation, OAuth or SAML authentication to specific data sources. See Data Connection Authentication.