Grant Temporary Access with a Hubot Chatbot

Last modified on March 24, 2023

If you are using a Hubot chatbot to automate common activities, you can integrate with the sdm Linux binary to handle common administrative tasks. This guide shows how to add a Hubot command to grant temporary access to datasources and servers. In this guide, we use the Heroku deployment method; modify as needed if you’re using a different deployment type.


  1. Set up a Hubot chatbot according to the directions on the Hubot site.

  2. Once the setup is done, copy the Linux binary into the bin/ directory in your Hubot tree.

  3. Create an admin token in the Admin UI with the following permissions:

    • datasource:grant
    • datasource:list
    • user:assign
    • user:list
  4. Add two environment variables to your Hubot:

    heroku config:set SDM_HOME=/app
    heroku config:set SDM_ADMIN_TOKEN=<admin token here>
  5. Add an SDM script to scripts/. Here is a barebones example that will grant access to datasources for one hour.

    module.exports = (robot) ->
    robot.hear /access to (.*)/i, (res) ->
    target = res.match[1]
    email = res.envelope.user.email_address
    res.reply "Granting #{email} access to '#{target}' for 1 hour"
    spawn('sdm', ['admin','users','grant-temporary','-d','1h',target,email])
  6. Deploy the changes with git push heroku master

  7. Test by telling the bot Grant me access to datasource. It should respond with Granting <email> access to 'datasource' for 1 hour


There are a number of ways to improve your Hubot’s StrongDM integration. Here are a few examples:

  1. Ensure the datasource/server requested actually exists by having the bot run sdm admin datasources list -j which will output a JSON-formatted list of datasources, and sdm admin servers list -j for SSH/RDP.
  2. Add additional sanitization and error checking.
  3. Ensure (through your own systems) that the requester is authorized to perform temporary grants of this nature.