Let's first clarify the physical tiers you describe here. The Web browser on the client tier, but really doesn't participate in the description of tiers for the server-side application. Users will provide credentials through the browser that must ultimately be authenticated by IIS or passed through to ASP.NET for custom authentication. The .NET application I presume is hosted on the Web server physical tier, along with IIS. The database...
server physical tier hosting…well…the database application. potentially The server-side then has two physical tiers. If this is an intranet-based application, the Web site is likely configured for Windows authentication in IIS, which means IIS will authenticate the user within the Windows domain. Authorized requests will be forwarded to the ASP.NET runtime for processing, and if the application is configured to impersonate the authenticated user, application code will be governed by what the impersonated account is authorized to do:
For example, if the logged in user is authorized to access the database (which really means, whichever database objects the account is granted access to, and for whatever type of access like db_datareader, dbdatawriter) then functionality to access the database will execute without exception. But this is not realistic as you mention. That means the code that tries to access the database must first impersonate an account that is granted appropriate access to the database objects. If the intranet application impersonates the logged in user, then this impersonation must be handled on the fly, and must be reverted so that the logged in user is once again the identity under which the remainder of the request thread executes.
If the application does not impersonate the logged in user, ASP.NET application requests will be executed with the ASP.NET identity configured in the
So, the solution?
What accounts do you need?
For more information on this subject, see my article on The Server Side.NET referenced here in my blog: dasblonde.net
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