Configuring AKS Authentication and Authorization Tutorial


Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) provides built-in capabilities to configure authentication and authorization for your Kubernetes clusters. By properly configuring these settings, you can control access to your AKS resources, ensuring that only authorized users and applications can interact with your clusters. In this tutorial, you will learn how to configure authentication and authorization in AKS, securing your cluster and its workloads.

Step 1: Choose an Authentication Method

AKS supports various authentication methods, including Azure Active Directory (AAD), Azure Active Directory Integrated (AAD-Integrated), and Kubernetes-specific methods like client certificates or tokens. Choose the authentication method that best suits your requirements. Here's an example command to create an AKS cluster with Azure AD integration:

az aks create --resource-group myResourceGroup --name myAKSCluster --aad-server-app-id --aad-server-app-secret --aad-client-app-id --aad-tenant-id --generate-ssh-keys

This command creates an AKS cluster with Azure AD integration, using the specified Azure AD server app ID, server app secret, client app ID, and tenant ID.

Step 2: Configure RBAC

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) allows you to define granular access control policies for your AKS clusters. You can assign roles to users or groups and control their permissions within the cluster. Use the following steps to configure RBAC in AKS:

  1. Create an Azure AD group or user.
  2. Define custom RBAC roles or use the built-in roles provided by AKS.
  3. Assign the appropriate RBAC role to the Azure AD user or group for the AKS cluster.

Step 3: Enable Azure AD Pod Identity

Azure AD Pod Identity allows you to bind Azure AD identities to Kubernetes pods, providing a secure way to authenticate and authorize applications running in the cluster. Follow these steps to enable Azure AD Pod Identity:

  1. Install the Azure AD Pod Identity controller in your AKS cluster.
  2. Create an Azure identity and map it to a Kubernetes ServiceAccount.
  3. Configure your applications to use the Azure identity through the ServiceAccount.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Not configuring authentication and leaving the cluster accessible to anyone.
  • Granting excessive permissions to users or groups, leading to potential security risks.
  • Not using RBAC to enforce fine-grained access control within the cluster.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I use Azure AD with AKS for both user authentication and service-to-service authentication?

    Yes, Azure AD can be used for both user authentication and service-to-service authentication in AKS, providing a unified identity management solution.

  2. Can I integrate AKS with an existing Azure AD tenant?

    Yes, AKS can be integrated with an existing Azure AD tenant, allowing you to leverage your existing identity and access management infrastructure.

  3. Can I use RBAC to limit access to specific namespaces or resources within the cluster?

    Yes, RBAC in AKS allows you to define fine-grained access control policies at the namespace or resource level, restricting user or group access to specific areas of the cluster.

  4. Can I configure Azure AD Pod Identity for existing applications running in AKS?

    Yes, you can enable Azure AD Pod Identity for existing applications in AKS by following the steps to create Azure identities and mapping them to the appropriate ServiceAccounts.

  5. Can I use Kubernetes-specific authentication methods like client certificates or tokens with AKS?

    Yes, AKS supports Kubernetes-specific authentication methods like client certificates or tokens, providing flexibility for different authentication scenarios.


Configuring authentication and authorization in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is essential to secure access to your Kubernetes clusters and resources. By choosing an appropriate authentication method, configuring RBAC, and enabling features like Azure AD Pod Identity, you can enforce fine-grained access control and provide a secure environment for your containerized workloads. Following the steps outlined in this tutorial will help you properly configure AKS authentication and authorization, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of your cluster.