SQL Server - Understanding SQL Agent Permissions and Roles (SQLAgentUserRole, SQLAgentReaderRole, and SQLAgentOperatorRole)

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Hello people,
How are you ?

Lately, I've seen quite a few DBA's with questions about SQL Server Agent role permissions, and a lot of questions come up about this topic in Whatsapp groups, including:

  • How to make a non-sysadmin user view jobs?
  • How to make a non-sysadmin user create and run jobs?
  • How to make a non-sysadmin user can run any job?
  • How can a non-sysadmin user change SQL Agent settings?
  • Can a non-sysadmin user change any job?

My purpose in this post is to explain the roles of SQL Server Agent and answer these questions.

Knowing SQL Server Agent (MSDB) fixed roles

The first step in answering the above questions is to explain what are and are the differences between fixed SQL Server Agent roles.

SQLAgentUserRole

This is the least privileged role of SQL Agent and allows its users to be able to create jobs and deactivate / alter / execute jobs where their user is the owner of the job (ie that he has created or that some sysadmin assigns to him), but cannot delete job execution history even if it is the owner of this job.

Because of this restriction, members of this role can view only their jobs and view only the Jobs folder and Job Activity Monitor.

Even with this role, I can create / delete / run jobs:

SQLAgentReaderRole

To view role effects SQLAgentReaderRole, I added the user "User_Test" in this role. Members of this role have the same permissions as the role. SQLAgentUserRole, but can view all instance jobs, even if the logged in user is not the owner.

This permission applies only to job view / preview. The role members SQLAgentReaderRole Also they can only run / change / delete the jobs they own.

If you try to run a job where your user is not the owner, even though you are seeing this job, you will come across the error message below:

SQLAgentOperatorRole

This is the most privileged role of SQL Agent. Members of this role can view all SQL Server Agent information and view all instance jobs, as you can see below:

In addition, members of this role can add Operators, configure alerts, manage Proxy settings, and can create jobs and run / enable / disable any instance jobs, even those that are not the owner.

However, even members of this role cannot make changes to jobs that they do not own, such as changing the job's schedule, modifying the Steps tab settings, or any other changes.

Even if you try to make changes using the command line, you will not be able to make changes to jobs where the user is not the owner. Role Members Only sysadmin can make changes to any job in the instance, even those that are not the owner.

Answering the questions

Now that I've explained about SQL Agent roles, let's answer the main questions on this subject and eliminate those doubts once and for all from the DBA's mind.

How to make a non-sysadmin user view jobs?

For a user to view jobs created by him, simply add them to the role SQLAgentUserRole. In order for him to view all instance jobs, he needs to be added to the role SQLAgentReaderRole. With this, he can also create jobs and execute / delete / change the jobs created by him.

How to make a non-sysadmin user create and run jobs?

If the user only needs to create and execute the jobs created by him, just add him to the role. SQLAgentUserRole, which is the least privileged role.

How to make a non-sysadmin user can run any job?

In order for the user to be able to run any job on the instance, including jobs where he is not the owner, he must be in the role. SQLAgentOperatorRole, which is the role with the highest level of privilege. Keep in mind that this can also delete job history, disable any job, add / change / delete operators and proxy settings.

How can a non-sysadmin user change SQL Agent settings?

Even the role members SQLAgentOperatorRole cannot make changes to SQL Agent settings. If you try to make any changes to the Agent settings, you will see this error message:

However, this can be circumvented if any member of role sysadmin gives EXECUTE access to the procedure. sp_set_sqlagent_properties:

If this permission is granted, the user can make changes to SQL Agent settings even without being from role sysadmin.

How to make a user can only view SQL Agent jobs, not being able to create or change?

In many situations, you need to allow access for other users to view jobs but you do not want them to be able to create or change jobs even if they are using the user themselves as the owner of those jobs. In this case, which role allows you to do this? Unfortunately, none. The least privileged role in SQL Agent, which is SQLAgentUserRole, already allows the user to create and change jobs where he is the owner.

Given this scenario, the DBA Caroline goltara found a creative way to achieve this goal. She gave me the hint of adding the user or group to the SQLAgentReaderRole role so that they can view all jobs, and then deny permission on job handling SPs using the commands below:

With this, the user will not be able to create / change / delete / execute / stop any jobs, but he will be able to view them all.

How do I get a non-sysadmin user to change any job?

No, it is not possible. By default, only role sysadmin members can make changes to jobs that were created by other users and change the owner of a job.

If it were possible for another user to have this power, it would be a major SQL Agent security flaw since jobs are executed using the user of the job owner, with their privileges. If this job performs any audited action, it is the user of the job that will be written to this audit routine.

Imagine security breach if a role member user SQLAgentOperatorRole, but not a sysadmin could change the owner of a job and put any other user, even a sysadmin, and that job would change incorrect data in Production. The user who would be recorded in the logs would be the user who owned the job and not the one who ran the job.

Another serious security hole could occur where there is a job running in production using a login with db_owner privileges in the database. If a non-role sysadmin user could freely edit Jobs where he is not the owner, he could very well change the step of one of the jobs that are automatically executed in production by a schedule and insert any code there, including granting access to itself in this database.

For these reasons cited above, that Only role sysadmin members can edit the jobs of other users, as well as change the owner of the jobs, not even with the CONTROL SERVER privilege on the instance a non-role sysadmin user can do this.

The only alternative I see for a non-sysadmin user to edit other users' jobs is by creating an application (Web or Desktop) to create this job management interface, where the application's bank user has job privileges. sysadmin on the instance. In this way, access control and permissions would be under the responsibility of the application and users will be able to manage jobs since the application user will be a member of role sysadmin.

That's it, guys.
I hope you have cleared all doubts on this subject.

Any questions, leave it here in the comments.
Hug!