Software Roles and Permissions and Why They Are Important

Software roles and permissions help to keep your business information secure. Here's how to make sure only those who need access get it.
software roles and permissions

When it comes to business software, few things are more important than user management capabilities. You’ll inevitably have multiple people harnessing the same app, so that they can collaborate and fulfill their professional duties efficiently.

This is where roles and permissions come into play, but what are they and what makes them significant for organizations today?

The basics

As the name suggests, user ‘roles’ are essentially a way of assigning people certain privileges and restrictions within a software ecosystem according to their position within a company. Permissions are a description of what a given user can or cannot do, based on their assigned role.

It’s a pretty straightforward setup, even if the ways it is achieved are complicated. It boils down to choosing who can view and make changes to data in a mission-critical-app.

The benefits

There are a large number of advantages that come with the correct implementation of software roles and permissions, many of which are related to current cybersecurity concerns. These include:

Granular permissions let you only give data access to those who need it

It’s no good having every piece of information available to every user, as this is a security disaster waiting to happen.

Granular permissions allow you much greater control for access based on user roles. You can even deploy custom Airtable permissions with a view to tailoring the level of access precisely and uniquely.

Internal and external collaboration is easier

Without roles and permissions, you might be hesitant to bring outsiders into your business software ecosystem for fear that this unfettered access would leave mission-critical data exposed to manipulation and theft.

With them, you can allow contractors, clients and partners to collaborate with you using in-house resources, without taking any risks.

Tracking user interactions is useful for performance analysis

When employees are assigned roles and granted certain permissions, along with access restrictions, this opens up a world of wider monitoring options.

You can track changes to files, see who made the changes, and assess all sorts of other metrics, which is handy for things like performance reviews and target tracking. This applies to everything from customer support teams to sales, marketing, creative and beyond.

With in-depth reporting available via many modern software solutions, and plugins providing this where it is not offered natively, this makes managing the human side of the equation much simpler.

Automation is available to streamline user management further

Obviously you can make manual changes to roles and permissions if you wish, but this can be time consuming if you want to also apply changes to a large number of folders, sub-folders and the files they contain.

Thankfully automation has been brought to bear on much of this, meaning that when you make tweaks they can be applied automatically, and even retroactively, to data within an individual software solution or an entire infrastructure.

Breaches are detectable, traceable and fixable

Cybersecurity breaches often happen without the victim being aware anything is wrong, but spotting suspicious activity is less taxing if you have a tight grip on user roles and permissions.

Likewise if you want to track the source of something like a malware infection, you can see exactly whose account was compromised and was responsible for making the unwanted changes to the file system.

The bottom line

Any software solution worth its salt, especially one targeted at business users, must include roles and permissions to protect data and accelerate collaboration, among other things.

Look out for these features if you’re responsible for procuring software for your company, and also remember to use them where they’re present to reduce risks.

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