In Microsoft’s documentation surrounding the On-Premises Data Gateway, the advice on permissions for the account used to authenticate the Data Source in the Power BI Service can be concerning for most, especially DBAs.
In the Analysis Services section of the documentation, the advice is:
The Windows account you enter must have Server Administrator permissions for the instance you are connecting to. If this account’s password is set to expire, users could get a connection error if the password isn’t updated for the data source.
Server Administrator permissions…? What happened to the principle of least-privilege?
In a practical sense, the On-Premises Data Gateway has to deal with two very different implementations of Analysis Services: Multidimensional and Tabular. Each are setup and configured differently from the other, and the nature of their security models are also different. As a one size fits all approach, it works. As we will soon see, the permissions do not have to be set as Server Admin
The SQL section of the documentation, on the other hand, doesn’t actually specify what permissions are required for the Data Source to be established in the Power BI Service.
Exactly what permissions are required for these common data sources, I hear you ask. As data sources are established at a database level, so too are the permissions set.
Minimum Permissions Level
SQL Server Database
SSAS Tabular Database
Process database and Read
SSAS Multidimensional Database
Full control (Administrator)
Principle of least-permissions is now restored.
Though there still are the curious incidents of Analysis Services data sources requiring permissions in addition to read. I am unsure, I have my suspicions, and have tried to find out. If you know, please leave a comment below!