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My advise, manage user authentication manually by accessing ldap directly (see post of rr). Second, use the standard roles and rights from the security module. In general I haven't seen much companies using ldap for managing access using ldap, most apps have their own security rules. But for loggin on it works well in situations where there is a central account management (single signon).
The App level security is kinda new to me so I'm not even very well familiar how this is programmed. I know this more from the Admin point of view. So far I only developed Apps with a single point of entry and never delt with the App Levels or User Levels. I need to use GROUPS in my case however because I need ADMIN, EDITOR, USER levels (groups). I'm not really sure how SC takes care of that. I have seen some Macros for allowing/disallowing app access etc. but this is new to me. The bad part is that there is no documentation at all and no place to learn how SC implements security.
I could either Group Apps, then manage access to the group OR group users and manage each group access. So far I did the second scenarion, but today (after few days of thinking) I guess the first option would be better (easier to manage).