Assigning users and groups to roles

You can assign users and groups to roles if you are using WebSphere® Application Server authorization for Java™ Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) roles.

Before you begin

[z/OS]Avoid trouble: If you are using System Authorization Facility (SAF) authorization for Java2 EE (J2EE) roles, refer to System Authorization Facility for role-based authorization for more information.

Before you perform this task:

  • Secure the web applications and Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) applications where new roles are created and assigned to web and enterprise bean resources.
  • Create all the roles in your application.
  • Verify that you have properly configured the user registry that contains the users that you want to assign. It is preferable to have security turned on with the user registry of your choice before beginning this process.
  • Make sure that if you change anything in the security configuration you save the configuration and restart the server before the changes become effective. For example, enable security or change the user registry.

About this task

These steps are common for both installing an application and modifying an existing application. If the application contains roles, you see the Security role to user/group mapping link during application installation and also during application management, as a link in the Additional properties section.


  1. Access the administrative console.

    [z/OS]Type http://localhost:port_number/ibm/console in a web browser.

  2. Click Applications > Application Types > WebSphere enterprise applications > application_name .
  3. Under Detail properties, click Security role to user/group mapping.
    A list of all the roles that belong to this application is displayed. If the roles already have users, or if one of the special subjects, AllAuthenticatedUsers, AllAuthenticatedInTrustedRealms, or Everyone is assigned, they display here.
  4. To assign the special subjects, select either the Everyone or the All Authenticated in Application's Realm option for the appropriate roles.
  5. To assign users or groups, select the role.
    You can select multiple roles at the same time, if the same users or groups are assigned to all the roles.
  6. Click Look up users or Look up groups.
  7. You can search for appropriate users and groups from the user registry or you can add a user/group role mapping and not perform the search. You activate either of these options by clicking Search.
    See the next steps for the appropriate option you require.
  8. Get the appropriate users and groups from the user registry Complete the Limit and the Search string fields by clicking Search.
    The Limit field limits the number of users that are obtained and displayed from the user registry. The pattern is a searchable pattern matching one or more users and groups. For example, user* lists users like user1, user2. A pattern of asterisk (*) indicates all users or groups.

    Use the limit and the search strings cautiously so as not to overwhelm the user registry. When you use large user registries such as Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) where information on thousands of users and groups resides, a search for a large number of users or groups can make the system slow and can make it fail. When more entries exist than requests for entries, a message is displayed. You can refine your search until you have the required list.

    If the search string you are using has no matches, a NULL error message is displayed. This message is informational and does not necessarily indicate an error, as it is valid to have no entries matching your selected criteria.

  9. Add a user/group role mapping

    Add a user/group role mapping by clicking Search. Add IdP realms to the list of inbound trusted realms. For each Identity provider that is used with your WebSphere Application Server service provider, you must grant inbound trust to all the realms that are used by the identity provider.

    1. Click Trusted authentication realms - inbound.
    2. Click Add External Realm.
    3. Fill in the external realm name.
    4. Click OK and Save changes to the master configuration.
      Skip remaining steps.
  10. Select the users and groups to include as members of these roles from the Available field and click >> to add them to the roles.
  11. To remove existing users and groups, select them from the Selected field and click <<.
    When removing existing users and groups from roles, use caution if those same roles are used as RunAs roles.

    For example, if the user1 user is assigned to the role1 RunAs role and you try to remove the user1 user from the role1 role, the administrative console validation does not delete the user. A user can only be part of a RunAs role if the user is already in a role either directly or indirectly through a group. In this case, the user1 user is in the role1 role. For more information on the validation checks that are performed between RunAs role mapping and user and group mapping to roles, see Assigning users to RunAs roles.

  12. Click OK.
    If any validation problems exist between the role assignments and the RunAs role assignments, the changes are not committed and an error message that indicates the problem is displayed. If a problem exists, make sure that the user in the RunAs role is also a member of the regular role. If the regular role contains a group that contains the user in the RunAs role, make sure that the group is assigned to the role using the administrative console. Follow steps 4 and 5. Avoid using any process where the complete name of the group, host name, group name, or distinguished name (DN) is not used.


The user and group information is added to the binding file in the application. This information is used later for authorization purposes.
Note: If you change your realm you must repeat this process with the new realm name.

What to do next

This task is required to assign users and groups to roles, which enables the correct users and groups to access a secured application. If you are installing an application, complete your installation. After the application is installed and running you can access your resources according to the user and group mapping that you did in this task. If you manage applications and modify the users and groups to role mapping, make sure you save, stop, and restart the application so that the changes become effective. Try accessing the Java EE resources in the application to verify that the changes are effective.
Note: Depending upon how your active user registry is configured, the search results of security user or group role mappings are displayed in different formats. With federated repository, LDAP, file-based and custom registries can be used. WebSphere Application Server can uniquely identify users from various registries by the user names listed in the table.