Understand Roles and Role Hierarchy | Zoho Creator Help

Understand Roles and Role Hierarchy

What Does This Page Cover?

Learn about how you can give different departments and people of your organization specific roles and decide who reports to whom.

Availability

  1. Roles is accessible in all plans of Creator. Addition of new roles is possible only in the paid plans.
  2. Only the super admin, admins, and developers can create and manage Roles.

Overview

Any organization or business will have different people looking into different aspects of growing in the industry. Various departments work together to achieve this. Each department will have a head, managers, team leaders, seniors, juniors, etc. Data, being the most important and confidential part of a business, needs to be shared within these roles with utmost precaution. Considering this, data added by a superior not being accessible by subordinates who have lesser experience in data handling, makes up for a reliable method.

Roles and Role Hierarchy in Creator

User Permissions encapsulates three triads that govern the accessibility of an application's components and the data stored in it. When you incorporate the potential of permissions, role hierarchy, and data sharing rules in an application, a standardized and controlled approach of data handling can be achieved.

In Creator, Roles helps you create different types of roles for users based on their position in your organization hierarchy. After creating roles, you can:
  1. Assign them to the users in your organization.
  2. Define rules that allow the sharing of records from one role/user to another.
  3. Enable role hierarchy. Based on the role assigned to them, a user will be able to view the data of their subordinates but not their superiors. The Share Data with Peers option enables access of records to peers, i.e., people of the same role.

You can create and manage the hierarchical structure of your organization through each step in the Roles tab as seen below.

See How It Works



Use Case

Say there are senior sales executives and junior sales executives under the Sales Department of your business. The seniors take care of large scale orders and the juniors look after orders made by small scale businesses. The Share Data with Peers option enabled during the creation of these roles ensures that the users of the same role can view records added by each other. By enabling role hierarchy, the senior sales executives will be able to view the records added by the junior sales executives since the former stand higher in the role hierarchy. 

In the Edit mode of the application, User Permissions is situated under the Permissions section of the Settings page. When the Roles tab is clicked, a screen appears from where you can view roles, add more of them, and manage role hierarchy.

Role Configuration
  1. Name - You can specify a name for the role.
  2. Reports to - You can choose the role under which they come, and thereby where this role stands in the hierarchy.
  3. Description - You can explain the purpose of the role.
  4. Share Data with Peers - This allows the visibility of added records by the fellow users who are assigned with the same role.

Manage Role Hierarchy

  1. When role hierarchy is:
  1. Disabled - Each user assigned to a role can access only their own records according to the permission set assigned to them.
  2. Enabled - Users assigned to a role can access both their records and that of their subordinates, according to the permission set assigned to them.
  1. The record owner is the user who owns a particular report's records. They can be of two types:
    1. Added User: The user who adds a record in the live mode of the application is considered as the record owner.
    2. Field names of the Users fields, if added to a form, appear in the Record Owner dropdown. When chosen, the user who was selected in this field while adding a record will be considered as the record owner for that particular row of data.

Achieving Granular Access Control Using User Permissions

Any organization will want authority over how their data is circulated within their organization. When a systemized structure which decides how and who can access an application's data comes into place, both the management of data and its security is ensured. Using the combined power of permissions , role hierarchy, and data sharing rules helps you achieve this.

Each of the above features allows you to create a different type of exclusive access for users, to the data of an application. They work in different ways to achieve the intricate control of data that an organization needs.

Permissions vs Role Hierarchy
This table explains which records a user can access when they are assigned with the permissions listed below.
Permission Set Actions
Role hierarchy Disabled
Role hierarchy Enabled
View
Records added by them.
Records added by them.
Edit
  1. Records added by them.
  2. Records added by their subordinates.
  1. Records added by them.
  2. Records added by their subordinates.
View All
All records.
All records.
Modify All
All records.
All records.

Data Sharing vs Permissions
Data sharing rules allow the records of a report to be shared from one user/role to another. However, the shared data will be accessible by the receiver only if they have the permission to access that report.

Data Sharing vs Role Hierarchy
Data sharing rules overrule role hierarchy and allow users/roles to access shared data.

Usecase : Say you add a user, Teresa, to an application. You assign her a role and a permission set while adding her to the application. A few scenarios are explained below to bring more clarity on how you can use User Permissions to define which records she can access.


  1. Scenario 1 - To let her access and delete only the records added by herself in a report, you assign her with a permission set that allows View, Edit, and Delete actions.
  2. Scenario 2 - To let her access both, her records and the records of her subordinates, you enable role hierarchy.
  3. Scenario 3 - To customize the sharing of records from a role/user to her (when she does not have access by default), you define a data sharing rule.
  4. Scenario 4 - To let her view all the records of a report regardless of who added it, you assign her with a permission set that allows View All/ Modify All actions.

Points to Note

  1. By default, a CEO role exists in all applications. They have access to all the data added by all other users in an application.
  2. While adding a user to an application, they need to be assigned with a role. You can either choose the default CEO role or any other role that you've added in the Roles page.
  3. Admins cannot be assigned with roles but can view all the data in an application.
  4. Developers cannot be assigned with roles.
  5. When role hierarchy is enabled, a superior can access the data added by their subordinate, given, they have the permission to access that report.
  6. When environments is enabled, the configured roles and change in role hierarchy will reflect on the users in the live mode only when the application is pushed to the Production environment.

Limitations

  1. The number of roles that can be added to an application depends on the plan your Creator plan. See our pricing page.
  2. The Roles and Role Hierarchy feature will not be applicable for the integrations forms. This implies that anyone who has access to integration form's report will have access to all the data irrespective of their role.
  1. Manage Roles and Role Hierarchy
  2. Understand User Permissions
  3. Understand Permissions
  4. Understand Data Sharing
  5. Understand Users

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