Simplifying Complexity: Strategies for Managing Access in Ambiguous Hierarchies


“In our organization, the departmental structure and job titles are quite ambiguous, with many roles being unique to individuals or applicable to only a small group of employees. I am considering utilizing the Company, Department, and Job Title attributes to establish dynamic groups within EntraID, which would facilitate the allocation of app and resource access based on these categories. However, given the diversity of titles and departments, this approach would result in the creation of around 200 groups, which appears excessive. Is this complexity typical in organizational structures, or are there more streamlined methods for grouping that are commonly employed? Additionally, would it be more practical to concentrate solely on departmental categorization and handle access permissions for specific job titles individually, as needed?”


In the intricate tapestry of today’s corporate world, the clarity of departmental structures and job titles often becomes muddled. This ambiguity can create significant challenges when it comes to managing access to company resources and applications, particularly when considering the implementation of dynamic groups within identity management systems like EntraID.

The creation of around 200 groups to accommodate the vast array of job titles and departments in your organization might seem like an overkill, but it’s not an isolated case. Many organizations face this dilemma due to the unique nature of their operational structures and the diversity of their workforce. However, such a high number of groups can lead to inefficiencies and administrative burdens that are counterproductive in the long run.

Typical vs. Ideal Structures

While there is no universally “normal” situation, as organizational needs vary greatly, there is a consensus that a more streamlined approach is generally beneficial. The goal is to simplify the access management process without compromising the security or the necessary granularity of access permissions.

Streamlining Strategies

One effective strategy is to employ a role-based access control (RBAC) system. RBAC focuses on assigning permissions to roles rather than individuals, which can then be attributed to job titles within broader departmental groups. This method reduces the number of necessary groups and simplifies the management process.

Focusing on Departments

Concentrating on departmental categorization as the primary method for grouping, supplemented by individual access permissions where necessary, can indeed be a more practical solution. This approach allows for a scalable and flexible framework that can adapt to the evolving nature of job functions and titles within an organization.


In conclusion, while the complexity you’re experiencing is not uncommon, it is advisable to seek a balance that ensures both security and manageability. By adopting a more streamlined method of grouping, such as focusing on departments and leveraging RBAC, you can create a dynamic and efficient access management system that caters to the unique needs of your organization.

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