Untangling Account Management With User Permissions

Companies, like most things, rarely grow in a straight line. Plants will take root where they can, and send shoots where they can to get the most sunlight, even if there are obstacles in the way. But vines and branches aren’t known for their efficient pathing, which can make a tangled mess of the whole plant.

So get a good sun hat and some pruning shears ready; you’ll need them today!

The difference between organic and structured growth is one of purpose and planning. Small teams that are successful will prompt expansion, and expanding companies can get lost in the weeds without a proper structure to keep everything in line.

When it comes to your Uptime.com account, we provide the tools to structure your monitoring, down to who has access and what they can do. Permissions are more than just managing a headache. At scale, they can become a thatched mess of old and new users and growing security risks.

User Types

Your Uptime.com account can have a variety of user types. An Account Owner will oversee all aspects of the account, including user management and billing. An Administrator can create, adjust, or remove users, checks, and other features, while View and View and Modify can see or edit check reports, alerts, and other associated information.

Users vs Contacts

Users can log in to an Uptime.com account directly, but not everyone that needs to receive check uptime alerts needs to log in themselves. This is where Contacts come into play.

Contacts are how you determine who (or what) receives an alert. Utilizing multi-channel alerting will mean that shared integration channels – via Slack, PagerDuty, or the like – will get alerts first, before directing the information to individuals.

Here’s the short of it: if someone needs to know when a check goes down, but isn’t directly responsible for the troubleshooting process that follows, consider making them a contact instead of a user.

Here are some examples that make for good contacts:

  • Your Project manager
  • Your marketing team (for home page and marketing assets)
  • CTO or other executive stakeholders for Escalation purposes
  • Client-sided SRE Teams
  • and many more

User levels

For those that do need to access the Uptime.com account, consider the minimum necessary access required to do the job. If your account is segmented via sub-accounts (more on them later), then limit the user to the proper sub-account to narrow their focus.

Generally speaking, users usually are the ones taking action on your systems to get them back online. Whether that’s restarting processes or deeper technical dives, these users need the right diagnostic tools to get things back up and running.

Once you’ve determined what the user has access to, figure out how much control over the checks they need.

View access is good for lower level insights including the check’s Alert Details, while others in DevOps might need View and Modify to tweak the optional settings and adjust for improved accuracy.

Administrator access is best for your managers and owners who can allocate users and manage the account on a day-to-day basis. Admins will prune permissions to the necessary levels, and oversee any feature usage or adjustments within the account, including an Audit Log of all account changes.

Account Owners

Account Owners, sometimes referred to as the Account Primary, are the highest-level user in an Uptime.com account, and are the ultimate arbiters of access, changes, and uniquely, account billing and upgrades.

Changing Owners

One of the most common user questions we get is how to change ownership of an account. The reasons vary. Sometimes the former CTO left for a different company. Other times, the DevOps user that started the Free Trial has remained owner by default since then.

In either case, the process is the same: Have the Owner email support@uptime.com and indicate who the new owner should be. We’ll take care of the rest.

Billing

The most sensitive information on an Uptime.com account is the payment and billing information, and for that reason its access is limited to the Account Owner only.

While all users are able to see and interact with the Self-Service Subscription tool, which can generate a quote based on selected a la carte add-ons, only the Account Owner can make that upgrade.

Security and Segmentation

The uptime monitoring and reporting of a website is as crucial in today’s market, so the security of those monitoring systems is just as important. With Uptime.com, there are a few security options that are provided out-of-the box, assuming the relevant subscription level.

SSO and 2FA

Single-Sign On, or SSO, allows assigned users to login to their Uptime.com account using their existing company credentials. Like password managers and other tools, this helps to maintain the account’s security by re-routing the login to a trusted source. After first time validation, enter the email address (no password) and you’ll sign in with the SSO provider instead.

Two-Factor Authentication, or 2FA, is a similar account protection system. Instead of using a consolidated login provider, each account user needs to configure a secondary verification method to login. The most common forms are generated codes from an email, text message, or authentication app, which are entered after the account credentials.

Both of these systems can be enforced account-wide by the Account Owner, to ensure the security of the entire account with safeguards in place in case your SSO or 2FA provider goes down. Seamless security for your account assures you will still have access if  these third party providers fail.

 

Sub-accounts

To continue with our plant and gardening metaphor, sometimes the most efficient way to keep a plant growing is to keep it in its own planter. Sub-accounts are the best way to achieve that level of segmentation within your Uptime.com account.

The neat thing about sub-accounts is that they act as a mini-version of an Uptime.com account, with all the access to individual features like reports, check Alert Details; everything that has been allocated to it. Limiting a user to a particular sub-account makes sense from both a productivity and security standpoint, and can be a great organizational tool for the account Admins.

Reap What You Sow

Account management doesn’t have to be a chore, but it will get that way if left alone for too long. With the right structure and planning done at the beginning, you can set up your Uptime.com account, and your team, for success. The work put in at the beginning will pay dividends down the line as your team grows organically.

Make sure that the right users have the right permissions to do their job, and nothing more. Protect your accounts with security features like SSO and 2FA, and segment the work into its distinct sectors to narrow the focus.

Now get out there, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Happy Gardening Monitoring!

Minute-by-minute Uptime checks.
Start your 14-day free trial with no credit card required at Uptime.com.

Get Started

Don't forget to share this post!

Alex Brown is a technical content writer and support specialist for Uptime.com. With a background in IT and a degree in Medieval History, Alex brings a unique combination of technical know-how and a love for writing. He lives in Seattle with his partner and two cats, and spends his free time writing novels, browsing second-hand bookstores, and playing soccer.

Catch up on the rest of your uptime monitoring news