Mining roles with multiple objectives

View publication


With the growing adoption of Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) in commercial security and identity management products, how to facilitate the process of migrating a non-RBAC system to an RBAC system has become a problem with significant business impact. Researchers have proposed to use data mining techniques to discover roles to complement the costly top-down approaches for RBAC system construction. An important problem is how to construct RBAC systems with low complexity. In this article, we define the notion of weighted structural complexity measure and propose a role mining algorithm that mines RBAC systems with low structural complexity. Another key problem that has not been adequately addressed by existing role mining approaches is how to discover roles with semantic meanings. In this article, we study the problem in two primary settings with different information availability. When the only information is user-permission relation, we propose to discover roles whose semantic meaning is based on formal concept lattices. We argue that the theory of formal concept analysis provides a solid theoretical foundation formining roles from a user-permission relation. When user-attribute information is also available, we propose to create roles that can be explained by expressions of user-attributes. Since an expression of attributes describes a real-world concept, the corresponding role represents a real-world concept as well. Furthermore, the algorithms we propose balance the semantic guarantee of roles with system complexity. Finally, we indicate how to create a hybrid approach combining top-down candidate roles. Our experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of our approaches. © 2010 ACM.