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Take the scenario of a Point of Sale system, like Square. There is a 'hub' account that is logged in all day from the tablet, that all employees use to make transactions.

Every employee then also has their own individual personal accounts that they can access from their computers at home, giving them an indication of their sales, tips etc.

The hub account itself, in terms of login information, would only be available to the Owner (to restrict anyone from logging in to the Hub remotely). The owner now requires 2 sets of login details, Hub details & their personal account details.

In onboarding new owners who are setting up their business for the first time, what are recommended points to take? Are 2 sets of logins / areas too much? Or should the Hub account be completely hidden from the Owner & handled in a way where they are just constantly logged in to the Hub without having to know their Hub login details.

It is a unique situation, hence why I asked if there were any examples of how such a scenario is handled.

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  • Welcome to the site, Angela. Requests for examples are unsuitable for a Q&A site because they have no one correct answer and quickly become outdated. Can you give some more context about the specific problem you're trying to solve? What stage of onboarding are you interested in? (sign-up? retention?) What are the user groups? What is the relationship between the groups? Are any users members of multiple groups? Why? Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 17:02
  • I apologise. I have added more information around the scenario. Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 17:15
  • Much better. Good answers will include evidence (such as results of studies or examples of successful products), so a good question shouldn't need to ask for examples specifically. When you explain the problem in detail, it makes it easier for answers to cite evidence relevant to your specific question. +1 Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 18:51

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A concept parallelism that could well fit this is an Access Control List. Operating systems, database systems, websites and a great number of things work on an ACL paradigm.

The basic concept is organizing the structure of "content" into organized views. For example: The Hub is a view and the user account is a view. The owner has access to both views, typically from the same credentials. While users only have access to their personal account view. In the case of an operating system, the Administrator may have access to everything, a user will typically only have access to their own files, or things they have been granted access to by the administrator.

One typical method for handling these different views is to present them to the user as different pages, menus, tabs or some other demarcation. You have to create a scope for the users. This can be defined with User and Role.

Anyone that will login is a user. These users has a Role. In our example either Owner, or Operator. The Role has permissions that allow or disallow access to different features. There is another level of specificity that can be used called Group, that can add permissions to users that perform the same set of tasks so individual users don't need to be managed for standard access permissions.

Another method, which isn't as parallel to your example, but is still related, is an override system. This type of system allows a "superuser" to perform additional functions beyond those of a "standard" user. We see this in the checkout line at a grocery store in their POS systems when a price needs to be changed or something needs to be corrected.

The superuser can still perform the tasks of a standard user by checking people out, but can also (depending on security policies) override their own needed changes. This same manager can, at the end of the day, access the administration system to close tills, run reports or adjust schedules.

As this relates to your questions, The Hub could be locked behind a confirmation dialog that requests "Owner Credentials" to access. This would still not require an additional set of credentials on the owners part. It just provides an indicator that the user is about to enter an area that needs special attention and access rights.

Please keep in mind this is an extreme oversimplification of an Access Control system. With ACLs there is no need, other than security, to have multiple logins for a system like you've described. I would suggest delving into Access Control and Authorization before deciding on a scope. Depending on the needs and functions of a specific project, the outcomes can vary drastically.

All of this comes from personal experience. I've built quite a few systems with various Access and Authorization methods. The following links aim to provide more information about Access Control. How it is implemented is dependent on your environment, limitations and special considerations for the project at hand.

Best of luck,

Michael

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  • Great answer! I am working on a similar issue and using your second approach.
    – Okavango
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 6:16

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