Policies (ULTIMATE)

Policies in GitLab provide security teams a way to require scans of their choice to be run whenever a project pipeline runs according to the configuration specified. Security teams can therefore be confident that the scans they set up have not been changed, altered, or disabled. You can access these by navigating to your project's Security & Compliance > Policies page.

GitLab supports the following security policies:

Policy management

The Policies page displays deployed policies for all available environments. You can check a policy's information (for example, description or enforcement status), and create and edit deployed policies:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Projects and find your project.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Security & Compliance > Policies.

Policies List Page

Network policies are fetched directly from the selected environment's deployment platform while other policies are fetched from the project's security policy project. Changes performed outside of this tab are reflected upon refresh.

By default, the policy list contains predefined network policies in a disabled state. Once enabled, a predefined policy deploys to the selected environment's deployment platform and you can manage it like the regular policies.

Note that if you're using Auto DevOps and change a policy in this section, your auto-deploy-values.yaml file doesn't update. Auto DevOps users must make changes by following the Container Network Policy documentation.

Policy editor

Introduced in GitLab 13.4.

You can use the policy editor to create, edit, and delete policies:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Projects and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Security & Compliance > Policies.
    • To create a new policy, select New policy which is located in the Policies page's header.
    • To edit an existing policy, select Edit policy in the selected policy drawer.

The policy editor has two modes:

  • The visual Rule mode allows you to construct and preview policy rules using rule blocks and related controls.

    Policy Editor Rule Mode

  • YAML mode allows you to enter a policy definition in .yaml format and is aimed at expert users and cases that the Rule mode doesn't support.

    Policy Editor YAML Mode

You can use both modes interchangeably and switch between them at any time. If a YAML resource is incorrect or contains data not supported by the Rule mode, Rule mode is automatically disabled. If the YAML is incorrect, you must use YAML mode to fix your policy before Rule mode is available again.

Security Policies project

NOTE: We recommend using the Security Policies project exclusively for managing policies for the project. Do not add your application's source code to such projects.

The Security Policies feature is a repository to store policies. All security policies are stored in the .gitlab/security-policies/policy.yml YAML file. The format for this YAML is specific to the type of policy that is being stored there. Examples and schema information are available for the following policy types:

Policies created in this project are applied through a background job that runs once every 10 minutes. Allow up to 10 minutes for any policy changes committed to this project to take effect.

Security Policy project selection

NOTE: Only project Owners have the permissions to select Security Policy Project.

When the Security Policy project is created and policies are created within that repository, you must create an association between that project and the project you want to apply policies to:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Projects and find your project.

  2. On the left sidebar, select Security & Compliance > Policies.

  3. Select Edit Policy Project, and search for and select the project you would like to link from the dropdown menu.

  4. Select Save.

    Security Policy Project

Unlink Security Policy projects

Project owners can unlink Security Policy projects from development projects. To do this, follow the steps described in Security Policy project selection, but select the trash can icon in the modal.

Scan execution policies

See Scan execution policies.

Scan result policy editor

See Scan result policies.

Container Network Policy

WARNING: Container Network Policy is in its end-of-life process. It's deprecated for use in GitLab 14.8, and planned for removal in GitLab 15.0.

The Container Network Policy section provides packet flow metrics for your application's Kubernetes namespace. This section has the following prerequisites:

If you're using custom Helm values for Cilium, you must enable Hubble with flow metrics for each namespace by adding the following lines to your Cilium values:

  enabled: true
      - 'flow:sourceContext=namespace;destinationContext=namespace'

The Container Network Policy section displays the following information about your packet flow:

  • The total amount of the inbound and outbound packets
  • The proportion of packets dropped according to the configured policies
  • The per-second average rate of the forwarded and dropped packets accumulated over time window for the requested time interval

If a significant percentage of packets is dropped, you should investigate it for potential threats by examining the Cilium logs:

kubectl -n gitlab-managed-apps logs -l k8s-app=cilium -c cilium-monitor

Change the status

To change a network policy's status:

  • Select the network policy you want to update.
  • Select Edit policy.
  • Select the Policy status toggle to update the selected policy.
  • Select Save changes to deploy network policy changes.

Disabled network policies have the network-policy.gitlab.com/disabled_by: gitlab selector inside the podSelector block. This narrows the scope of such a policy and as a result it doesn't affect any pods. The policy itself is still deployed to the corresponding deployment namespace.

Container Network Policy editor

The policy editor only supports the CiliumNetworkPolicy specification. Regular Kubernetes NetworkPolicy resources aren't supported.

Rule mode supports the following rule types:

Once your policy is complete, save it by selecting Save policy at the bottom of the editor. Existing policies can also be removed from the editor interface by selecting Delete policy at the bottom of the editor.

Configure a Network Policy Alert

You can use policy alerts to track your policy's impact. Alerts are only available if you've installed and configured an agent for this project.

There are two ways to create policy alerts:

  • In the policy editor UI, by clicking Add alert.

  • In the policy editor's YAML mode, through the metadata.annotations property:

        app.gitlab.com/alert: 'true'

Once added, the UI updates and displays a warning about the dangers of too many alerts.


See the Category Direction page for more information on the product direction of security policies within GitLab.