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Today we are going to talk about groups: how you use them with Files.com and what they can do for you.
At the simplest level, a group is a category of users. You get to determine what that category is and what it means. It can be anything that helps drive your use case. Departments would be one example. You could have a group called Art Department, and another called Sales.
Making a new group is as easy as clicking on new group, once you choose Settings, then groups, click on new group and then give your group a name.
If you want to add some notes, then you can do that as well. You can also select a member for this group right from this interface. To save it, click Create.
So now we've got this group called Sales. In addition to that, if you need to add members to the group, you can select the group at any time and choose Add another user to this group.
So now we have two users in this group.
Another example might be naming groups along functional lines. You could have a group called uploader bots, and one called office staff or something based on job descriptions such as content creators, and then editorial, and maybe approval committee. The point is that groups can be named anything that makes sense to your organization.
So what are the benefits of defining groups?
Well, one giant benefit is that user permissions become easier to manage, especially when you have large user populations.
Let's say that we want to have a large population of users able to process the survey responses that are uploaded to this folder. [see video] Let's open the permissions for the folder to see who has permissions right now. Okay, we're going to add a new permission, but instead of a user, we're going to choose a group. So let's say that strategy development is going to be the group that is going to access this folder, and we just want to give them read and write permission. We don't want to allow them to delete items from this folder.
So we click add permission. Now the strategy development group has permission to this folder.
Let's go to strategy development [in the group interface], and let's add some more users.
Alright, so we've got a few more members added to this group. We already have the permissions defined for this group as well. So these users automatically are granted the permissions that the strategy development group is given.
You'll also notice that in a group editing setting, you can add an email notifier, so when files arrive in the folder from the survey responses, we can have the members of this group automatically notified by email when new files arrive.
Let's click on survey responses, and then select. We're going to notify on new files only, not copies or moves. Now we click save. You don't need to check each user's permissions individually, you just need to make sure that they are assigned to the correct group. You can see that by clicking on the group's matrix here [see video], and you get a nice visual for which users along the vertical column here are members of which group.
So, if we're focused on the strategy development group, we can see which users are members here. And if you need to go look at an individual user to make a change, you can click the link for that username. That takes you right back to that user's detail page. When a user is added to a group, they are automatically granted the permissions that are given to that group. And when a user is removed from a group, those permissions are automatically gone.
With so much to keep track of during the course of your day, this is one of the best ways to keep things simple and avoid missing an important detail. In fact, since I'm logged in as a full site administrator, I can go to Settings >> groups >> group settings, and toggle a setting here that requires that all permissions be managed via groups. So, no individual user permissions are added at the user level. When I change this setting, users that already have permissions will maintain those, but any changes to those users, and any new permissions or new users that are added, may only be added through group membership.
Another significant benefit of using groups is that your full site administrators can delegate new user creation to a group administrator. To convert a regular user into the administrator of a group, all you need to do is add them to your target group and check this box. [see video - groups interface]
In fact, if you need to, you can have more than one administrator for a group. Group administrators do not have the same level of access and authority that full site administrators do, but they can create new user accounts for groups where they are the group admin. This means that any new user your group administrator creates is bounded by the permissions granted to that group, and any changes to such users must be made by a full administrator, not the group administrator. This is a safe way to delegate project management without requiring that the full site administrators do everything.
And beyond these two cases, using groups is just a good way to organize your folder tree and users so that your data makes the most sense to the people who need to work with it, and your security model is also more understandable and easier to navigate.
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