Both big and small businesses are now digitalized, i.e., handling all the processes online. While it is beneficial in many ways for business owners, it is significant that app access should be made easy to use and access any service for the users too. Now, about the user, not everybody will use the application in the same way, and this means the need to set up privileges or permissions to suit every user. The process or strategy through which the app has set permissions so that every user can access it easily is known as the user role permission model. So, what does it take to create a user role permission model that will fit all your needs? Keep reading for a better understanding.
Access Control Process
Simply put, the access control processes include strategies put in place for users that grant them access to your application.
In most cases, most applications will have a guest user and a registered user.
A guest user gets permission to use your application but can’t get access to other functions meant for a registered user.
On the other hand, a registered user can get access to use several other functionalities in your application, and they always have an account with your app.
So, from the above examples, one application is used differently by different users.
User Role Permission Model
As far as the user role permission model is concerned, the whole process revolves around three elements that include:
A role in the user permission model is described as users that are grouped in one entity to hold details of an action or to address the details performed by action.
For instance, if you have, let’s say, 3 users who don’t have a registered account with your application, they all belong to the guest role, and they are all known as guest users.
A user of your application is someone or a group of people who do the same or different activities using the same or different resources or data on your application.
For instance, in your application, a user can be a guest user or a registered user. They can as well be a group of people doing different things; as long as they are using your app, they are all users.
Simply defined, permissions are all the actions performed by users or users when using your app.
For instance, when a registered user views and downloads something, they are performing an action since they have permission to your app.
Practices for Designing User roles and Permission system
Now that you have an understanding of user roles and permissions. What should you do to ensure the system is effective and worth the efforts? Let’s learn below.
Create a Team of experts
In any large establishment, before you take action on user roles and permission, you need to have an expert team of role analysts and business analysts. The role of these experts is to get information from the IT staff and business owners through interviews to get the exact requirements for the whole process. It is significant that this procedure takes place in all the departments taking part in the program. With such a team, you will balance the technical requirements and the business processes.
Have a clear strategy
Start by accessing the systems, policies, processes, and data to define the future state of the system and determine the measure to use to ensure users can access the system and the app without hassles. Do an analysis of the current state with the one you desire so as to note any gaps and challenges like:
- Irregular authorization and authentication models
- Improper clarity in terms of responsibilities and roles
- Issues with the process
- Quality of the data
Once you evaluate and note these issues on time, you can now implement a workable strategy that will solve all the arising issues.
Build Policies Related to a Role
Of course, you will define the roles first; once you have a role, each role should have a policy.
For instance, superuser or administrator roles should have a wide range of permissions. However, these permissions should be assigned to a smaller number of individuals.
On the other hand, the guest role should have minimal access to protect against privilege escalation and unauthorized activity while enabling basic functionality.
Again, regular user roles should have only specified permission related to activities and actions that concerns their job. Otherwise, anything else should be restricted.
Create an identity and access management system
The purpose of this system is to ease the implementation process. It gives the whole system a repository of identities to simplify the process of retrieving information about user roles. Also, through the system, user management finds it easy to update the system when an employee leaves or another one joins the organization., even more, when contractors and partners change.
Conduct a Bottom-Up Role Analysis
After establishing all the roles for business needs, you need to do a bottom-up analysis concerning access rights in the company. The process is known as role mining, and you can use tools that are automated to perform data analysis as you define the current access privileges to different users. Once you have performed data analysis, check if any of the access rights affect any of the business requirements as described by the stakeholders.
Test and Verify Your Roles
Of course, the one goal you are aiming at is improved productivity. The user roles will determine the user productivity since when not well-defined, they can block the user from doing the right thing as they handle different activities. So, ensure you test the roles before the deployment process to avoid serious issues that will require a lot of effort and use a lot of resources to rectify the matter.
You can simply ask users and stakeholders to try performing their daily activities, then relate the user roles with the system to identify any gaps where users are blocked from performing certain activities for productivity purposes. You can then establish a way to rectify the matter when it is still early.
Start with a Top-Down Role Analysis
While designing the system, you will need to make an informed decision when building technical roles. This means that you will have to involve top managers to get the required information when creating the roles. Then, note the functional access the workers require, then ensure every user in each role has all access rights. Should you realize that everything isn’t okay, splitting the roles further may be the next solution. Also, don’t forget to involve other business managers to remove irrelevant roles to have a clean and clear structure.
Update Your Roles
Of course, after setting the roles, that isn’t the final step. Your business is bound to evolve and grow immensely. Besides, your employees will keep changing; some will be coming in while others will be leaving. This means that the roles will be changing as the business advances. So, ensure you review the roles regularly as you determine their relevancy while grouping users with the required roles.
Having a role maintenance process where users get reassigned varied roles while updating the business needs might be the ideal plan.
Use the Least-privilege Principle to Define RBAC Roles
This rule means that users should access limited actions and objects in any computing environment.
Any access that is beyond the last privileges must have specific roles accompanying the privileges.
For instance, in a tech establishment, a guest user will have fewer privileges compared to an IT administrator.
If you are planning to design user roles and permission systems, make sure you comprehend all the basics and the practices you need to put in place to enhance productivity.
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