Guide to managing users and permissions

Published by Alex Olivier on March 18, 2024
Guide to managing users and permissions

Managing users and permissions is a core responsibility of system administrators and is central to maintaining a secure IT environment regardless of the size or type of your business or institution. Effective management of users and permissions enables hassle-free access to digital resources while also protecting potentially sensitive information from unauthorised access or misuse.

What is user management?

User management is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of tasks carried out by system administrators in order to ensure every user is properly identified and assigned the correct permissions. User management typically entails:

  • User account setup: Creating new user accounts, assigning access rights etc…
  • Managing user authentication: Resetting passwords, setting up multi-factor authentication and more.
  • Auditing user activity: Monitoring account activity for compliance, deleting unnecessary accounts.
  • Making ongoing adjustments: Changing permissions when necessary, assigning new roles.
  • Deprovisioning: Deleting accounts, offboarding users, revoking or restricting access.

Why is user management so important?

Digital resources are the lifeblood of most businesses and institutions these days. Ensuring the integrity of that data and that it is used in compliance with data handling regulations is of primary importance. The best way to ensure the absolute safety of company data would be to forbid anyone to access it. But that is simply not possible. Which makes managing users and permissions a mandatory exercise.

No matter how large your operation, virtually every member of your staff will need some degree of access to your system. But obviously, not everyone needs or should have access to every piece of information. Through adept management of users and permissions, you ensure your business runs smoothly and efficiently while walling off various digital resources from users who have no compelling need to access them.

What about user permissions?

Once a user has entered the system via your chosen authentication method there needs to be a way to ensure their activity falls within acceptable bounds. That’s where permissions come in. 

User permissions indicate which resources a user will be able to access and what they will be able to do with those resources (i.e. edit, copy, delete etc…). This type of permission-based control over user activity is a bedrock principle of data security. 


Managing users and permissions is a non-negotiable aspect of maintaining the integrity of your digital resources. Without effective management of users and permissions, chaos would reign and your enterprise would be at frequent risk of collapse. 


Book a free Policy Workshop to discuss your requirements and get your first policy written by the Cerbos team