A lot of smaller businesses don’t make proper use of file permissions. Operating Systems have the ability to control access to certain files based on a number of parameters. These can include the User’s account, groups and actual computer, among other things. This is something which unfortunately goes unused in many situations where it could be beneficial.
Why should businesses make use of permissions?
The main reason you would want to have properly configured permissions for your files and folders on your network is obviously security. There are actually a number of security concerns stemming from this. Many types of malware strike hard and fast at whatever they can get their digital hands on. This means that with improper permissions, anything which the employee has access to is at risk, potentially including backups and other sensitive data.
Any situation where certain files should not be accessible by particular employees is a case for why proper file permissions are essential in a business environment. Luckily, it is easy for an experienced system administrator to plan and implement this kind of security. All major Operating Systems include support for variable file permissions.
What are the drawbacks?
As with most information security situations, you have to walk a fine line between security and usability. If you lock down your users too much, they may not be able to access things which they actually need. Even if they shouldn’t technically need access to a certain file, in cases where roles overlap, they may still need access beyond their department. In order to circumvent this issue, it is important to conduct a proper audit before implementing these sorts of changes.