The “Public” Database Role in SQL Server is a special database role that is given by default to all logins. You cannot remove a login’s membership to this role because this behavior is built into SQL Server.
What does the “Public” database role does in SQL Server?
Should we make use of it or at the end of the day just ignore it?
When you create a new login (and consequently a new database user) in SQL Server and do not give it any permissions anywhere (that is securable objects), then this database user inherits the permissions the public database role has.
So, let’s see an example. On a SQL Server 2014 instance I have just created a login named ‘testLogin’ (not quite unique, isn’t it? 🙂 and just granted access to the ‘Adventureworks2014’ database without doing anything else. As you can see from the below screenshot, my login was just granted the Public database role on the database.
The question now is what permissions the ‘testLogin’ inherited on AdventureWorks2014? I have not provided any permission so it’s just the permissions provided by the Public database role.
If we check the securableS for the Pulbic database role in AdventureWorks2014 security, we can see that the Public database role is granted with SELECT access to certain system catalog views such as:
Security recommendation about the “Public” database role in SQL Server
USE [Database Name]; GO SELECT DB_NAME() as DBName, pm.[permission_name] as PermissionName, ob.[name] as ObjectName, pm.class_desc as ObjectType, ob.type_desc as TypeDescription FROM sys.database_permissions pm INNER JOIN sys.database_principals pr ON pm.grantee_principal_id= pr.principal_id LEFT JOIN sys.objects ob ON pm.[major_id] = ob.[object_id] WHERE [state]='G' and major_id>=0 and pr.[name]='public' and ob.[name] IS NOT NULL; GO
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Artemakis Artemiou is a Senior Database and Software Architect, Certified Database, Cloud and AI professional, Author, a 9 Times Microsoft Data Platform MVP (2009-2018). He has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry in various roles. Artemakis is the founder of SQLNetHub. Artemakis is the creator of the well-known software tools Snippets Generator and DBA Security Advisor. Also, he is the author of many eBooks on SQL Server. Moreover, Artemakis teaches on Udemy, you can check his courses here.