Why It’s Important for Admins to Understand & Manage Permissions


As a Salesforce Administrator I’m sure you have process on your brain. I know I do. I’m always thinking about how to make the sales process more efficient, improve the service process, or any other business process that surfaces. Process plays a huge role in everything we do, in every level of business. Building good processes is all about getting the right data at the right time to the right person. And that’s why, as a Salesforce Admin, you are managing the company’s most important asset: data.
A critical part of managing data is understanding how to use permissions in Salesforce. Let’s take a look at the three most important reasons you need to understand and manage permissions as a Salesforce Admin.

Great profiles lead to Admin productivity

Let’s get started with the profile. If you have ever set up a user, you know the first step is assigning them a profile. Profiles are super important in Salesforce since they control what the user sees and is able to access. There are standard profiles that come out of the box with every Salesforce instance, and on top of that, you can create custom profiles. How many profiles do you currently have in your org? The bigger that number is, the more difficult your life as an Admin may be since you need to keep track of what each one means.

Profiles and permission sets go together like peanut butter and jelly. Like tea and biscuits. Like tacos and hot sauce. And the key to being an Awesome Admin is to start by having the fewest number of profiles possible, then adding permission sets to grant access to users. This means as an Admin you aren’t juggling hundreds of profiles when trying to troubleshoot something—you are only juggling dozens. Setting up the most restrictive, yet productive profile is key. As users change roles, jobs, and their tasks expand, you can make adjustments as needed. Think of the last time you went to work, but as you were leaving you noticed it was raining. You didn’t start your morning routine over, you just added an umbrella or jacket to adapt to the change. This same idea applies to adding a permission set to a profile instead of creating a new profile.

Getting started with profiles is easy with Trailhead. I love this Data Security Trail and highly recommend it.

Knowing who sees what leads to user productivity

After going through the Data Security Trail, you’ll understand that there are more than just profiles and permissions that can make a user productive. There is also access to records, fields, and sharing. I know what you’re thinking, “I’ll just make it easy and let everyone see everything.” But that isn’t always a good thing. Remember that as part of a process you are focused on data capture and visibility. As a record moves through a process, it should have inherently more data on it. But that’s not always useful for everyone. If you are at the end of a process is it really productive to scroll past endless fields of data that aren’t relevant to what you need to know? It’s not.

That’s why I love the Who Sees What series that Salesforce has on YouTube. I’m a visual learner and I love watching videos to learn how to do something.

Thinking through who should see what is important as an Admin because you can drive productivity and adoption in your organization by making sure that users see relevant data at the time they need it most. I’ll never forget when I got started as an Admin and got a frantic, late-night call from a sales rep who was trying to close an opportunity before the end of the quarter. He said, “Mike, I have no idea what fields to fill here. Help!” If only I could have had Dynamic Lightning Pages then! Then I would’ve been able to prevent his frantic call by only displaying the fields he needed to view on his Opportunity page experience in order to get his job done.

Build for growth

Knowing user profiles and permissions also helps you build your organization for growth. If you are just getting started with an implementation, think ahead about adding additional departments, divisions, and users.

Group of business people at a meeting looking at the profits of the month smiling and looking very happy

Planning ahead for thesemeans you can set up those most restrictive profiles for each group and anticipate growth. It also means that as you work with your IT team and other stakeholders you know what teams see what data and what permission sets you need to create. You can think of it like making a hamburger: some people want it with cheese, some with pickles, some with both. But, if you make a solid hamburger, then you are just customizing for the needs of your users and not rethinking the whole hamburger recipe every time.

Understanding and managing permissions in Salesforce are at the core of what an Admin does to make their users, and themselves as productive as possible. Take the time to invest in learning more about maintaining data security with the Data Security Trail on Trailhead and by watching the Who Sees What Series on YouTube.

The fun way to learn
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