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Network Security

There are three main network interfaces in Tableau Server:

  • Client to Tableau Server: The client can be a web browser, Tableau Mobile, Tableau Desktop, or the tabcmd utility.

  • Tableau Server to your database(s): To refresh data extracts or handle live database connections, Tableau Server needs to communicate with your database(s).

  • Server component communication: This applies to distributed deployments only.

Client to Tableau Server

A Tableau Server client can be a web browser, a device running Tableau Mobile, Tableau Desktop, or tabcmd commands. Communications between Tableau Server and its clients use standard HTTP requests and responses. We recommend configuring Tableau Server for HTTPS for all communications. When Tableau Server is configured for SSL, all content and communications between clients are encrypted using SSL, and the HTTPS protocol is used for requests and responses.

By default, passwords are communicated from browsers and tabcmd to Tableau Server using 1024-bit public/private key encryption. This level of encryption is not considered robust enough for secure communications. Additionally, this method, where a public key is sent to the recipient in the clear and without network layer authentication is susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks.

To adequately secure network traffic from clients to Tableau Server, you must configure SSL with a certificate from a trusted certificate authority.

See Configure External SSL.

Client access from the Internet

We recommend a gateway proxy server to enable secure client access from the internet to your Tableau Server. We do not recommend running Tableau Server in a DMZ or otherwise outside your protected, internal network.

Configure a reverse proxy server, with SSL enabled, to handle all inbound traffic from the internet. In this scenario, the reverse proxy is the only external IP address (or range of addresses if multiple reverse proxies are load-balancing inbound requests) that Tableau Server will communicate with. Reverse proxies are transparent to requesting clients, thereby obfuscating Tableau Server network information and simplifying client configuration.

For configuration information, see Configuring Proxies for Tableau Server.

Clickjack Protection

By default, Tableau Server has clickjack protection enabled. This helps prevent certain types of attacks in which the attacker overlays a transparent version of a page on top of an innocuous-looking page in order to lure a user into clicking links or entering information. With clickjack protection enabled, Tableau Server imposes certain restrictions on embedding views. For more information, see Clickjack Protection.

Tableau Server to your database

Tableau Server makes dynamic connections to databases to process result sets and refresh extracts. It uses native drivers to connect to databases whenever possible and relies on a generic ODBC adapter when native drivers are unavailable. All communications to the database are routed through these drivers. As such, configuring the driver to communicate on non-standard ports or provide transport encryption is part of the native driver installation. This type of configuration is transparent to Tableau.

When a user stores credentials for external data sources on Tableau Server, they are stored encrypted in Tableau Server's internal database. When a process uses those credentials to query the external data source, the process retrieves the encrypted credentials from the internal database and decrypts them in process.

Tableau Server to the Internet

In some cases, where users connect to external data sources, such as the Tableau map servers, then Tableau Server will need to connect to the internet. We recommend that you run all components of Tableau inside your protected network. Therefore, connections to the internet may require that you configure Tableau Server to use a forward proxy.

Communication with the repository

You can configure Tableau Server to use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for encrypted communications on all traffic that is exchange with the Postgres repository to and from other server components. By default, SSL is disabled for communications between server components and the repository.

For more information, see Configure Internal SSL.

Server component communication in a cluster

There are two aspects to communication between Tableau Server components in a distributed server installation: trust and transmission. Each server in a Tableau cluster uses a stringent trust model to ensure that it is receiving valid requests from other servers in the cluster. Computers in the cluster running a gateway process accept requests from third parties (clients), unless they are fronted by a load balancer, in which case the load balancer receives the requests. Servers not running a gateway process only accept requests from other trusted members of the cluster. Trust is established by a whitelist of IP address, port, and protocol. If any of these are invalid, the request is ignored. All members of the cluster can communicate with each other.

When a user stores credentials for external data sources on Tableau Server, they are stored encrypted in Tableau Server's internal database. When a process uses those credentials to query the external data source, the process retrieves the encrypted credentials from the internal database and decrypts them in process.