Form Follows Function. This is a quote from famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan. Sullivan designed buildings to be functional first and then worked on building aesthetics. For software implementation, you might say Function Follows Security.
For any software, especially document management software, it is extremely important to understand the capabilities of the software’s security model before you begin to work out the configuration and hierarchy of your data. That is unless you don’t mind having users who need multiple user names and passwords to create the access they need?
While going through the analysis phase of the implementation, list out the types of information that will be managed in the system. Then list out all the different groups of users that will need access to the system and what parts of the information or levels of access these groups might need. Also consider what type of access such as View, Contribute, Edit and even Delete rights. This will help to create an access matrix that will be invaluable as you lay out the structure.
It would be relatively easy if each group of users each only accessed one set of information. In that world, most any document management system would provide the security capabilities and it should be very functional. For instance, only users in the accounting department will need to access or contribute documents to the Accounting folder. Only users in the marketing department will need to access marketing information.
However, no company that I am aware of is quite that simple. Users in the legal department probably want access to review marketing information before it is released. The finance department most surely wants to understand the recent accounting reports. And as we have witnessed in our customers, some users should only see accounting information related to the subsidiary they work for – it gets granular.
Security is a very complex issue in document management and in most software applications. Gone are the days where it was easy to prevent people in the Cleveland office from accessing file folders located in the Minneapolis office. The physical separation was pretty secure. The digital separation of information is controlled by security and requires due consideration and planning.
So before you choose a solution, get an understanding of what your security matrix looks like and then make sure you understand the solutions capability to meet the needs. Also, remember that the advanced security setups that are available today should not be looked at solely as a pain to configure. Instead, look at this as an opportunity to share information in the most productive way possible – ie. Not via unsecure email.
Millennia Group provides cloud based workflow, imaging and document management solutions that help companies take advantage of technology. www.mgdocs.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 630-279-0577.