The Importance of User Roles and Permissions for System Security

The Importance of User Roles and Permissions for System Security

In membership management software user roles and permissions play a very important role in the system security arena.

Cyber-crime is an eventuality every organization has to deal with. Phishing, fraud, intrusion, insider threats are some harsh facts of the virtual world. The trends in each of these areas have profound and complex impact on system security.

Role-based access control has become one of the main methods for advanced access control by restricting network access based on an individual’s role within an organization. Access can be based on multifarious factors, such as authority, responsibility, and job competency. Nevertheless, access to computer resources can be limited to specific tasks such as the ability to view, create and modify a file. Hence, lower-level employees are not allowed access to sensitive data if that data is not of any relevance in accordance to fulfilling their job responsibilities. Role-based access is of great help for an organization which has a large set of employees working in the company where administrators find it difficult to closely monitor network access.  Using this form of access control makes if very easy for company to secure company’s sensitive data and important applications.

User Roles and Permissions for System Security

The best practices for securing your membership software’s users, roles, and permissions are based on the following ideas:

Review your roles

We often use words like malicious user, attacker or untrusted to define website crawlers who intend on abusing resources or manipulate data. We need to assess and analyse on what roles do website crawlers have and the permissions they are granted with. It is very important to assess which roles are trusted and which roles are not trusted, and what permissions have been given to those roles. What permissions have been granted to anonymous user needs to be looked at. The bigger the software is built, the greater are the chances for an attack.

Even if you have created a stunning software (like club management software, gym software) with class apart features, and have allowed users to create accounts without administrator’s approval, you might want to consider which permissions you’ve granted the authenticated role. You need to figure out which users should be allow to access on your system with the system administrator’s approval and which users shouldn’t be allow to access to your system. This is one of the very important parameters to consider in order to keep your software secured from untoward attacks.

Know the defaults

It is essential to be cautious about cascading permissions created by contributed modules since community-contributed modules are not very secure. Even though Role Management in membership software is a difficult task, however, some modules grant roles upon account creation. It is recommended to keep knowledge about the defaults since most security advisories for contributed modules crop up as a result of cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities. Such scenarios happen on module administration screens wherein user-supplied data is not systematically filtered. It is advised that the permissions with respect to the principle of least privilege be given to users with absolute need.

Assess your elevated permissions

It is very much important to analyse certain permissions before it is made available to users with respective roles because the same can allow full control of your system. It is advised to examine the entire list of permissions meticulously to ensure that roles have only the permissions that they require for their function. In case of any vulnerability or threat, consider removing permissions from a role – it’s easier to add a permission later or create a new intermediate role than to restore your database from backups and inform users of a foreseen security breach.

Ensure users are given access to information with minimum/no rights to modify or change without permission.

A role is essentially a set of permissions, called capabilities, that you assign to a group of users on your system. A default role can be of the following types:

  • Admin
  • Editor
  • Author
  • Contributor
  • Subscriber
  • Super Admin

A specific action of function that a user is permitted to complete is called Capability. For example, publishing and editing are two different functions and a user can be given the rights of editing or publishing or both at the same time.

A capability is a specific action that a user is permitted to complete. For example, editing in system functionality is one distinct capability while publishing a functionality is another capability. Capabilities could be of different types which includes add, editing and deleting functionality, creating categories, defining links, moderating comments, managing plugins and themes, and managing other users.

Assigning roles to new users can out you in a quandary: giving them access to perform their tasks with added permissions to make far-reaching changes to your system software. If not, you could also play safe by not giving them enough access to perform certain actions on the system. This is where being able to customize and create new user roles on your system becomes a useful ability to have. Having appropriate user roles is crucial when assigning editors, authors and contributors to produce and manage functionalities. The default user roles may be designed with capabilities that fit the requirements of modern system, but meticulous care must be taken while customizing or revising the roles and permissions of users.

Best practices for efficiently managing user roles and permissions:

Understanding user roles and permissions and knowing whom to give/restrict permission is key to efficiently manage the platform. Whether it be a small or a large business with a handful or a battalion of users, here are some valuable tips to help you manage user roles and permissions on your membership management software efficiently:

  1. ONLY GIVE USERS THE LEVEL OF ACCESS THEY NEED

This helps to keep your system secured, restricting users from making unapproved changes or keeping content safe from the risk of being accidently deleted. Before assigning a user a role, assess what tasks they need to perform on the software and only assign them the role that’s fives them the capabilities they need and nothing more.

  1. LIMIT HOW MANY USERS HAVE THE ADMINISTRATOR ROLE

While some might recommend that a company should keep only one administrator and assign trusted members of the department the editor role, this won’t be practical in all cases. At some point, other team members might require higher level access. Some enterprises, might require higher level of access at some point of time. Large companies (like timeshare business) assign admin roles to several people. You need to make sure that the people who have this role use strong usernames and passwords with two-factor authentication process. It is recommended to review your admins and reassign them new roles of remove users where necessary.

  1. REGULARLY REVIEW USER ROLES AND CAPABILITIES

Always review user roles when performing maintenance prechecks. It is always recommended to check how many users you have for each role and assign users to different roles if necessary.

 

CONCLUSION

Membroz membership software provide a strong foundation for managing members and organize data in a systematic order and streamline work functionalities. Such customizable applications help you manage and allow businesses to integrate and manage their most important processes.

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