Granting Permissions on a Native Mode Report Server

SQL Server Reporting Services uses role-based authorization and an authentication subsystem to determine who can perform operations and access items on a report server. Role-based authorization categorizes into roles the set of actions that a user or group can perform. Authentication is based on built-in Windows Authentication or a custom authentication module that you provide. You can use predefined or custom roles with either authentication type.

Using Roles to Grant Report Server Access

All users interact with a report server within the context of a role that defines a specific level of access. Reporting Services includes predefined roles that you can assign to users and groups to provide immediate access to a report server. Content Manager, Publisher, and Browser are examples of predefined roles. Each role defines a collection of related tasks. For example, a Publisher has permission to add reports and create folders for storing those reports.

Role assignments are typically inherited from a parent node, but you can break permission inheritance by creating a new role assignment for a particular item. A user who is a member of the Content Manager role for one report may be a member of the Browser role for another report.

To grant access to report server items and operations, follow these guidelines:

  1. Review the predefined roles to determine whether you can use them as is. If you need to adjust the tasks or define additional roles, you should do this before you begin assigning users to specific roles. For more information about each role, see Using Predefined Roles.

  2. Identify which users and groups require access to the report server, and at what level. Most users should be assigned to the Browser role or the Report Builder role. A smaller number of users should be assigned to the Publisher role. Very few users should be assigned to Content Manager.

  3. Use Report Manager to assign roles on the Home folder (this is the top-level folder of the report server folder hierarchy) for each user or group who requires access.

  4. At the site level, on the Site Settings page in Report Manager, create a system-level role assignment for each user and group using the predefined roles System User and System Administrator.

  5. Create additional role assignments as needed for specific folders, reports, and other items. Avoid creating a large number of role assignments. If you create too many, it will be difficult to keep track of the different permission levels for each user.

For more information about best practices and techniques for creating role assignments, see Tutorial: Setting Permissions in Reporting Services.


If you configured a report server to run in SharePoint integrated mode, you must set permissions on the SharePoint site to grant access to report server items. For more information, see Granting Permissions on Report Server Items on a SharePoint Site.

Who Sets Permissions

Initially, only users who are members of the local administrators group can access a report server. Reporting Services is installed with two default role assignments that grant item-level and system-level access to members of the local administrators group. These built-in role assignments local Administrators to grant report server access to other users and manage report server items. The built-in role assignments cannot be deleted. A local administrator always has permission to fully manage a report server instance.

Because full permissions on a report server include item-level and system-level permissions, a local administrator is assigned to the following roles:

Additional configuration is required before you can administer a report server instance on a local computer that runs Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008. For more information, see How to: Configure a Report Server for Local Administration on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 (UAC).

How Permissions are Stored

Role assignments and definitions are stored in the report server database. If you are using variety of client tools or programmatic interfaces, all access is subject to the permissions that are defined for the report server instance as a whole. If you are configuring multiple report servers in a scale-out-deployment, the role assignments that you define on one instance are stored in a shared database and used by all the other instances in the same scale-out deployment. Because role assignments are stored with the items they secure, you can move the database to another report server instance without losing the permissions you defined.

Tasks and tools for Managing Permissions

Use the following tools to manage role definitions and assignments.



Management Studio - Used to view, modify, create, and delete role definitions.

How to: Create, Delete, or Modify a Role (Management Studio)

Report Manager - Used to assign users and groups to roles.

How to: Grant User Access to a Report Server (Report Manager)

How to: Modify or Delete a Role Assignment (Report Manager)