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Variable Access to Web Resources Based on Membership

One of the largest issues on the web likely to face many associations is providing selective access to areas of the web site based on criteria in the member database. Many associations have multiple member types or levels. Some have memberships based on geographical or special interest areas. Some have both.

Where association web site security becomes particular complex, is when you deliver member benefits based on different levels of membership and/or a number of chapters, sections, special interest groups, practice areas, or other specialized membership groups. It's not feasible in the long run to have even a single level of member only access that is manually administered but maintaining a site with a complex array of different access levels by manual means is not practical even in the short run due to the staff resources it would consume.

This resembles the security needs of a corporate intranet with various divisions and departments and multiple management levels that require a complex matrix of security access. Here however, the company can dictate all the technology that will be used throughout the company to insure a high level of uniformity. Further as directory technology progresses, the possibility of managing a single directory that controls access to all of a companies computing resources is approaching reality.

In contrast, an association may not even want to be in the position of recommending technology to its members let alone being able to dictate the computing platform its members use. As a result an association is likely to see members accessing its web site with multiple browsers, nearly any operating system and coming from various ISPs. Sooner or later all associations that provide multi-tiered member benefits will have to build web sites where all access to both static and dynamic content is controlled automatically by software that accesses the member database, or copies of it, and translates various codes in the member database to access rights on the web site.

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