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IAM Online Speaker Spotlight: University of Michigan’s Gail Lift and Bruce Timberlake on Implementing Grouper ABAC



Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

By Jean Chorazyczewski, Director, InCommon Academy
With Q&A by Gail Lift and Bruce Timberlake, University of Michigan

In today’s complex IT landscapes, ensuring secure and efficient access control is paramount. Grouper, an open-source software component of InCommon’s Trusted Access Platform, simplifies group provisioning and permission assignment. 

But what if you need a more granular and adaptable approach? Enter Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC).

The next IAM Online webinar on July 17 dives into the world of Grouper ABAC with Gail Lift, application developer lead, and Bruce Timberlake, senior application systems administrator, from the University of Michigan (UM). 

The duo will discuss how UM leverages ABAC to create access control groups that were previously unsustainable, while keeping affiliation data in context for accurate and auditable access control. This session is a must-attend for anyone seeking to modernize their access management with Grouper ABAC.

Bruce Timberlake posing for a profile picture.
Bruce Timberlake
Senior application systems administrator
Gail Lift posing for a profile picture.
Gail Lift
Application developer lead

Contributor: Liam Hoekenga, application developer senior

Here is a preview of the insights and expertise that attendees can expect.

Speaker Q&A

What has been your biggest lesson learned in your implementation of Grouper ABAC?

Implementing Grouper ABAC has provided us with significant insights and lessons. The flexibility of ABAC allowed us to rethink our approach to group provisioning, moving away from premade groups to dynamically defining memberships based on attributes. 

This shift not only improved agility but also enhanced customization, aligning access permissions more closely with organizational needs. 

Additionally, ABAC enabled us to simplify group membership definitions by directly specifying attributes, reducing complexity, and improving clarity in access management.

What advice would you offer to your peers about approaching this type of implementation? 

Based on our experience, practical tips for approaching Grouper ABAC implementation include embracing experimentation and iterative refinement. 

Try different approaches confidently, knowing that ABAC supports easy adjustments and reversals. Iterate quickly; if initial attempts do not yield desired outcomes, pivot swiftly to refine strategies. 

Adopting an agile mindset, where failing fast leads to rapid learning and improvement, is key to effectively harnessing the power of Grouper ABAC.

Why is this an important topic to cover? 

Understanding the importance of Grouper ABAC is crucial for modern access management practices. 

ABAC represents the future of access control in Grouper, offering more flexibility and scalability compared to traditional methods. By leveraging ABAC, institutions can ensure access controls closely align with user needs and organizational requirements, avoiding unnecessary complexities. 

Moreover, ABAC streamlines group management processes, reducing manual effort and enhancing security through automated, attribute-driven access controls.

What do you hope attendees will learn from your presentation? 

Attendees can expect to discover the exciting capabilities of ABAC and its transformative impact on access management practices. Learn how adopting ABAC can lead to greater user satisfaction by providing more tailored and efficient access control solutions. 

Our goal is to inspire attendees to embrace Grouper ABAC as a pivotal tool for modernizing and optimizing access management strategies.

Join us for IAM Online

Please join us online for “Implementing Grouper ABAC” at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 17, 2024.

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