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Tim Colby

By: Tim Colby on April 15, 2022

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What Is Role-Based IT Access? (Benefits For IT & Users)

IT Support | Information Security

In the old days, when people had important documents they wanted to keep secure, they would lock them in a filing cabinet. The only people who could access the files would have a key or would need to contact the file administrator. 

Most organizations have adopted a similar system for electronic files. But, it can get complicated. 

Who needs access to which documents? Do they need permanent or temporary access? How does the IT organization administer access rights without it becoming a logistical nightmare? 

Small and medium businesses are often a little looser with access rights. But, should they be? Should everyone be able to find salary information? How about billing files? What about product designs? 

In this article, I’ll explain how role-based IT access minimizes the need for individual customization, makes things quicker for both IT and individual users, and enhances document security. 

What Is Role-Based IT Access? 

Instead of treating each user as a separate entity, role-based IT access relies on assigning access to resources and applications based on the person's job role and department. Access is always granted to the group, not the individual.

For example, anyone in the accounting group would likely have access to accounts receivable, accounts payable, invoices/billing, and budgets. But if the accounting group is particularly large, they may have sub-folders for accounts receivable and accounts payable. 

The accounting manager would likely also have access to a management group that might include long-term business strategy and other top-level documents. The rest of the accounting group would likely not have access to those folders. 

An all employees group would provide permissions for files containing information that everyone needs to be able to access routinely. 

What Are The Benefits Of Role-Based IT Access For IT Professionals & Users? 

Both IT professionals and users benefit from role-based IT. Here’s how: 

Benefits Of Role-Based IT Access For IT Professionals

1. Streamlines Device Set-Up 

Role-based access streamlines the majority of customization issues for IT professionals while maintaining the ability for customization when required. 

In essence, rather than manually assigning individual permissions, the IT professional sets all folder permissions at once. This makes setting up users faster, easier, and more accurate. 

2. Reconfiguration Is Easier

When an employee takes on a new assignment within the company, the IT staff can easily turn on and off the appropriate permissions. Or, if a contractor or someone within the organization needs temporary access to a group of folders for a short-term assignment, it is easy to turn on and off. 

Benefits of Role-Based IT Access For Users

 1. Faster Response 

Role-based IT access makes it much faster and easier for the IT folks to turn on and off permissions, which streamlines the whole process for users and minimizes wait-time for permissions to be activated. 

2. Ability To Add Granularity

There are opportunities to add granular permissions and access in subfolders as mentioned in the accounting example I shared previously.

Security Benefits Of Role-Based IT Access 

In addition to the benefits for IT professionals and users, there are security benefits to role-based IT access as well. 

When user permissions are assigned by group, it minimizes the possibility that someone will inadvertently gain access to something they shouldn’t. It also requires you to have job roles clearly defined and limits the asks for individual permission to a folder on a file share because policy dictates that all access is granted via group

What’s Next For Role-Based IT Access?

While this article focuses on the benefits of role-based access using on-premise servers, there are additional benefits to using cloud services to manage access

For example, in the cloud, role-based IT access is mapped behind the scenes. Access permissions are tied directly to a user-id, so a user can access the same files no matter whether they are using a personal device or a company-issued one. 

As role-based IT access solutions evolve, there will be additional benefits.

Where Do You Go From Here? 

After reading this article, you have a basic understanding of role-based IT access. You now understand what it is, how it works, and some of the benefits it offers. 

You may decide that role-based IT access is the way you want to proceed. If you have an in-house IT staff, they can likely help. If your IT staff is small or you need support, you may want to engage an external provider. 

At Kelser, we believe in providing the information you need to manage and protect your data.

As a managed IT services provider, we work with companies like yours to keep their infrastructure available, efficient, and secure. But, we aren’t here to sell you our managed services. We know managed services aren’t right for everyone.

If you are wondering, though, whether managed IT would be a good solution for your organization, read this article to find out: What Does A Managed Services Provider (MSP) Do? (Essential & Premium Services).

About Tim Colby

Tim Colby manages Kelser Corporation's service desk. He has over 13 years of managed service experience working mainly in industries such as healthcare, finance, and defense. Tim specializes in server and virtualization infrastructure, audit and compliance readiness, and Microsoft 365 messaging and collaboration services.

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