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Using Character-based Security Management Routines

The preferred and recommended way to manage an InterSystems IRIS® installation is the Management Portal. The portal provides a convenient, browser-based interface for controlling the system. However, to cover those instances when the system cannot be managed this way, InterSystems IRIS also has several character-based routines that collectively provide many of the same functions on the Terminal.

The utilities described in this appendix are:

  • ^SECURITY — addresses the setup and maintenance of the data essential to the proper functioning of InterSystems security.

  • ^EncryptionKey — supports operations for encryption key management, database encryption, and data-element encryption.

  • ^DATABASE — is used to manage databases; it also allows you to set values related to InterSystems security.

  • ^%AUDIT — allows the reporting of data from the logs, and the manipulation of entries in the audit logs as well as the logs themselves.

Each of the routines is described in its own section along with its top-level functionality. In most cases, the initial menu choice will lead to further requests for information until the routine has sufficient information to accomplish its task. To use any routine from the Terminal, the user must be in the %SYS namespace and have at least the %Manager role. The routine, for example ^SECURITY, is invoked as expected with the command:

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When the routine runs, it presents you with a list of options. Select an option by entering its number after the “Option?” prompt.


As previously noted, the preferred way to manage an InterSystems IRIS system is via the Management Portal. Administrators who elect to use the routines described in this documents are assumed to have a detailed operating knowledge of how InterSystems IRIS works and what parameter values are appropriate for the options they choose.

General notes about prompts

The following are characteristics of prompts when using the character-based facilities:

  • Each option has a numeric prefix. Select an option by typing its number. The option-number pattern is used throughout the routines.

  • All option lists have an item to exit this level of menu and return to the previous level. You may also reply to the “Option?” prompt with Enter. This is interpreted as if you had chosen the “Exit” option, that is, you are finished with that section and you are presented with the next “upper” level of options. An Enter reply to the top-level of options exits the ^SECURITY routine.

  • Many of the prompts for information have a default value which is selected by typing the Enter key. When there is a default value available, it is shown after the prompt message and followed by the characters “=>” as in

    Unsuccessful login attempts before locking user? 5 =>

    where the default value is 5 for the number of times a user may try to login and fail before the system locks their username.

  • Prompts whose defaults are “Yes” or “No” also accept any matching partial response such as “yE” or “n”. The match is done ignoring the case of the response.

  • In options whose intent is to alter the characteristics of existing user, roles, services, and so on, the existing value of the item is displayed as the default. Typing Enter preserves that value and moves on to the next prompt.

  • Some prompts ask for a pattern to use when matching items such as user names. The default pattern is usually “*” that matches all items. In such patterns the asterisk matches any sequence of characters, much like it does in DOS. A pattern may also consist of a comma-separated list of items each of which is treated as its own pattern. An item is treated as being selected if it matches any pattern in the list.


There is nothing to prevent multiple instances of the same routine from being executed at the same time by different system administrators (or even the same administrator). If this happens, it is the responsibility of the administrators to coordinate their activity to avoid conflicts and achieve their objectives with regard to the coherence of the affected data.


This routine addresses the setup and maintenance of the data essential to the proper functioning of InterSystems security. The initial menu includes:

  1. User setup

    Users represent actual people or other entities who are permitted access to the system. You can create, edit, delete, list, export, and import users.

  2. Role setup

    InterSystems IRIS users have the ability to perform actions based on their roles. You can create, edit, delete, list, export, and import roles.

  3. Service setup

    Services control predefined technologies that support connections to InterSystems IRIS. You can edit, list, export, and import services.

  4. Resource setup

    Resources represent assets that require security management; a resource may represent a single asset such as a database, or it may protect multiple (usually related) assets such as a suite of applications. You can create, edit, delete, list, export, and import resources.

  5. Application setup

    Application definitions represent applications, and there are several types. In each submenu, you can edit, list, export, and import each application type.


    Because client applications are only available on Windows, the options associated client applications do not appear on other operating systems.

  6. Auditing setup

    Auditing allows InterSystems IRIS to track security-related events. You can enable and disable auditing, view the audit database, configure audit events, and manage the audit log.

  7. Note:

    This option does not exist.

  8. SSL configuration setup

    SSL/TLS provides authentication and other functionality, including for use with mirroring. You can create, edit, delete, list, test, export, and import SSL/TLS configurations.

  9. Mobile phone service provider setup

    To support two-factor authentication, users must register their mobile phone and service provider. You can create, edit, delete, and list mobile phone service providers.

  10. OpenAM Identity Services setup

    OpenAM identity services allow InterSystems IRIS to support single-sign on (SSO). If users have already successfully authenticated, OpenAM eliminates the need to re-authenticate. Using this option, you can use the %SYS.OpenAM.IdentityServices class API to authenticate against a specified OpenAM server. You can create, edit, delete, and list OpenAM identity services.


    To use OpenAM via a web policy agent, you must install and configure the web policy agent on the web server that you are using with InterSystems IRIS.

    When a user connects, the web policy agent redirects that user to the OpenAM server. The OpenAM server authenticates and directs the user to the system to which they are connecting; it also provides them with an OpenAM token in a cookie. The web policy agent recognizes the token, validates it with the OpenAM server, sets the value of the REMOTE_USER variable to their username, and connects to the web server. The web application can then set $USERNAME to the value of REMOTE_USER, such as through delegated authentication. Subsequent connections to any supported service validate the token, so the original authentication is persistent.

    In order to do this, you must install and configure a Web Policy Agent on the server Web Server that you are using with InterSystems IRIS.

  11. Encryption key setup

    InterSystems IRIS uses keys to encrypt databases or user-specified data elements. You can create and manage keys in files, activate and deactivate keys, list keys, specify default keys, configure encryption startup options, and modify the encryption status of a database.

  12. System parameter setup

    The system parameters specify system-wide security values. You can:

    • Edit system options (manage configuration security, specify the use of multiple domains, manage the default domain, manage inactive account and login limits, manage password expiration duration, manage password requirements, specify a password validation routine, manage writing to percent (%) globals, specify a required role for the system, specify the required or permitted SSL/TLS server authentication mode, and specify the default signature hash)

    • Display system options

    • Enable and disable authentication options.

    • Create, edit, delete, list, export, and import LDAP configurations.

    • Export and import all security settings, including those for SQL privileges.


    Considerations related to importing settings:

    • If you are importing security settings from a source instance configured with multiple domains to a target instance not configured to allow multiple domains and the source instance’s default domain differs from that of the target instance, then the import does not update the target’s default domain — you must explicitly set this value. To do this, use the Default security domain drop-down on the System-wide Security Parameters page (System Administration > Security > System Security > System-wide Security Parameters).

    • When importing all security settings, the import/export file includes web application settings; each web application has a Path setting. Before importing settings onto a new drive, VM, or hardware, for each web application, ensure that the value of the Path setting is accurate for that environment. If the web applications associated with the Management Portal do not have correct Path values, the Management Portal will not display correctly.

      To locate the Path setting for each web application in the import/export file (SecurityExport.xml), look in the ApplicationsExport section; in each Applications section, identify the application by the value of the Name setting; then update the value of the Path setting as appropriate.

  13. X509 User setup

    X.509 is the standard for certificates that a public key infrastructure (PKI) uses. InterSystems IRIS uses X.509 certificates for its PKI, and each user associated with an X.509 certificate is known as an X.509 user. You can create, edit, delete, list, export, and import them.

  14. KMIP server setup

    A KMIP server is a key management server that communicates using the key management interoperability protocol (KMIP). You can create, edit, delete, list, test, export, and import KMIP server configurations.

  15. Exit


The ^EncryptionKey routine is for use with managed key encryption; it supports operations for encryption key management (technology for creation and management of encryption keys and key files), database encryption, and data-element encryption.

  1. Create new encryption key and key file

    Allows you to create a new database-encryption key, which it stores in a key file.

  2. Manage existing encryption key file

    Allows you to list administrators associated with a key file, add an administrator to a key file, remove an administrator from a key file, and convert a version 1.0 key file to a version 2.0 key file.

  3. Database encryption

    Allows you to perform encryption management operations, activate a database encryption key, display the unique identifier for a currently activated database encryption key (if there is one), deactivate the activated database encryption key, and configure InterSystems IRIS startup options related to database encryption. Encryption management operations are for converting an unencrypted database to be encrypted, converting an encrypted database to be unencrypted, and converting an encrypted database to use a new key; for more information, see “Performing Encryption Management Operations.”

  4. Data element encryption for applications

    Allows you to activate a data-element encryption key, list the unique identifier for any currently activated data-element encryption keys (if there are any), and deactivate the activated data-element encryption key.


The ^DATABASE routine is used to manage databases; it also allows you to set values related to InterSystems security.

  1. Create a database

    Allows you to create a new database.

  2. Edit a database

    Allows you to change the characteristics of an existing database, for example, by adding additional volumes.

  3. List databases

    Displays the characteristics of one or more databases.

  4. Delete a database

    Allows you to delete an InterSystems IRIS database. This action is irreversible.

  5. Mount a database

    Makes a database ready for use by InterSystems IRIS. Databases must be mounted to InterSystems IRIS in order to be usable. Databases can be set to be automatically mounted at startup.


    You can use the Mount a database option to mount any IRIS.DAT file accessible to the instance by specifying the directory containing it. However, if you do this with a database that was deleted from, or was never added to, the Management Portal database configuration (see Configuring Databases in the “Configuring InterSystems IRIS” chapter of the System Administration Guide), the database is not added to the Management Portal configuration and is therefore unavailable for portal database operations and for some routines, for example ^Integrity (see Checking Database Integrity Using the ^Integrity Utility in the “Introduction to Data Integrity” chapter of the Data Integrity Guide).

  6. Dismount a database

    Permits you to quiesce a database and remove it from use by InterSystems IRIS.

  7. Compact globals in a database

    Reorganizes the data inside IRIS.DAT. Note that this option does not reduce the size of the database file; to reduce the size of the database, see option 13.

  8. Show free space for a database

    Displays the available space for a database. This is calculated as the difference between its current contents and its current declared size.

  9. Show details for a database

    Displays detailed information on a specified database including location, size, status, and other controlling parameters.

  10. Recreate a database

    Creates a new, empty database based on the parameters of an existing database. You can specify the size of the new database, where the size of the original database is the default.

  11. Manage database encryption

    Removes all the logical data from a database while preserving the properties of the database for reuse.

  12. Return unused space for a database

    Frees either a specified amount of or all available extra space associated with a database, reducing it from its current size to its smallest possible size.

  13. Compact free space in a database

    Specifies the desired amount of free space (unused space) that is in a database after the end of the database's data. You can also eliminate this free space using the Return unused space for a database option (#12).

  14. Defragment a database

    Defragments a database, which organizes its data more efficiently. Defragmentation may leave free space in a database (see options #12 and #13).

  15. Show background database tasks

    Displays a list of background tasks that are running or that have run since startup. You can also use this option to re-enter the monitor screen, where you can cancel a currently running task as well as purge the history of completed tasks. (Note that the tasks listed here are not the same as those listed as scheduled tasks in the Task Manager.)


This routine allows the reporting of data from the logs, and the manipulation of entries in the audit logs as well as the logs themselves.

  1. Audit reports

    Permits you to specify selection criteria (date ranges, events, affected users, and so on) and display characteristics, then extracts the data from the audit log and formats it for presentation.

  2. Manage audit logs

    Allows the extraction of log entries to another namespace, the export and import of audit log data to and from external files, and maintenance activities against the audit log itself.

  3. Exit