Authorization is used to limit access to Alerta API resources. The authorization model is based on Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) which assigns permissions to functional roles and then users are assigned to one or more of those roles.

This “role-based access” allows for fine-grained control over exactly what resources are accessible to which users and exactly what type of access is allowed – in a way that is scalable.

For example, to create a new alert the sender will need to be assigned to at least one role with write:alerts permissions. If the sender is not a member of a role with those permisssions then the request will be rejected with a 403 Forbidden response code.


Alerta implements the “flat” RBAC model as defined by NIST (aka. “Core RBAC”) and as such does not support any form of role hierarchy where roles can inherit other roles.

Flat RBAC has the following features:

  • users acquire permissions through roles
  • must support many-to-many user-role assignment
  • must support many-to-many permission-role assignment
  • must support user-role assignment review
  • users can use permissions of multiple roles simultaneously


All access is through roles. Permissions can not be assigned directly to users. The only exception to this is the ADMIN_USERS setting which overrides all other roles a user might belong to.


There are two ways to configure role-based access; default and custom configuration.

Default Authorization

If authentication is enabled then the default authorization is used which defines two roles:

  • user role - everyone is a “user” unless listed in the ADMIN_USERS setting. (default scopes are read and write)
  • admin role - only admins can delete alerts and heartbeats, create users etc. (default scope is simply admin, however that implicitly includes read and write)


The user and admin roles are protected preventing them from being deleted and preventing new roles from being created with the same names. The scopes associated with the default user role are managed using the USER_DEFAULT_SCOPES setting in the API server settings. All other roles are managed via the web console or alerta CLI.

Custom Authorization

To use custom authorization simply define one or more permission-scope lookups.

As an “admin” user go to Configuration -> Permissions and add a new role with the required scopes (see below for list of valid scopes). Those roles should match the roles, groups or organisations associated with users for the configured Authentication provider.


It is encouraged to employ the principle of least privilege when creating roles. That is, do not give to a user any more privilege than is necessary to perform their job function.

Scopes and Permissions

Use these scopes to request access to API resources.

Scope Permissions
read Grants read-only access to all scopes.
write Grants read/write access to all scopes.
admin Grants admin, read, write and delete access to all scopes.
read:alerts Read-only access to alerts.
write:alerts Grants read/write access to alerts.
admin:alerts Grants read/write to alerts for any customer.
read:blackouts Grants read-only access to blackouts.
write:blackouts Grants read/write access to blackouts.
admin:blackouts Grants read/write access to blackouts for any customer.
read:heartbeats Read-only access to heartbeats.
write:heartbeats Grants read/write access to heartbeats.
admin:heartbeats Grants read/write access to heartbeats for any customer.
write:users Grant write access to users.
admin:users Fully manage users.
read:perms Grants read-only access to permissions and scopes.
admin:perms Grants read, write and delete access to permissions.
read:customers Grants read-only access to customers.
admin:customers Fully manage customers.
read:keys List and view API keys.
write:keys Create, list and view API keys.
admin:keys Fully manage API keys for any customer.
write:webhooks Grants write access to webhooks.
read:oembed Grants read-only to oembed endpoints.
read:management Grants read-only access to management endpoints.
admin:management Fully manage management endpoints.
read:userinfo Grants read-only access to userinfo.


write implicitly includes read, and admin implicitly includes read and write.

Audit Log

An audit trail can be enabled to keep track of changes to Alerta.

Every audit event will have an audit id, @timestamp, event, category, message, user, resource, request and extra elements. The extra element may include relevant data depending on the type of event.

Example Audit Event

  "id": "c87210da-3cfb-4cbd-b8ec-4fe9ed39aeef",
  "@timestamp": "2018-11-10T21:36:23.946Z",
  "event": "apikey-deleted",
  "category": "admin",
  "message": "",
  "user": {
    "id": "satterly",
    "customers": [],
    "scopes": [
  "resource": {
    "id": "dc0b5a62-015b-4ba3-965e-012ca2e4db9b",
    "type": "apikey"
  "request": {
    "endpoint": "api.delete_key",
    "method": "DELETE",
    "url": "http://localhost:8080/key/dc0b5a62-015b-4ba3-965e-012ca2e4db9b",
    "args": {},
    "data": "",
    "ipAddress": ""
  "extra": {}

Audit events can be logged locally to the standard application log (which could also help with general debugging) or forwarded to a HTTP endpoint using a POST.

Example Loggly configuration

The following example configuration can be used to log all admin, write and auth requests to the Flask application log file and forward the events to the Loggly “logging-as-a-service” endpoint, replacing TOKEN in the Loggly URL with your customer token.

AUDIT_TRAIL = ['admin', 'write', 'auth']
AUDIT_LOG = True  # log to Flask application logger