Advanced User Permissions

Me:
Software Product Designer
Small business owner
Trying to love Airtable

User need cases - based on this thread

  1. restrict data access by users with varying levels of access needs (by field / by view / by base etc)
  2. prevent unwanted deletion

Airtable product concerns

  1. Keep things simple
  2. Keep permissions from becoming barrier to productivity

Comments
Airtable rightly knows its ideal customers are likely to be non-enterprise level teams looking for simple (yet powerful) solutions. Nobody wants complicated permission groups / tiers / and layers.

Solution
Views. They currently have all the building blocks of a structured permission system.

  1. Locked view is already a flag on a view that allows modification or not. Separate this out from “Personal” they are not mutually exclusive states.
  2. Hidden fields. Combined with locked views, we now have granular control over both and edit permissions. (view permission already = shared links)
  3. Now add per-user access to views. Kind of already exists with personal views, which is a single user association to a view. Now open that association to multiple users.
  4. Finally, a user permission tier that can edit records but cannot create or alter views. Both functionalities already exist within Editor and Commenter permissions.
  5. Finally ho’s able to configure the user to view associations? Creators only.
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Oh yeah, deletion.
Just keep a accessible log of deleted records. You do already have that right? Let us see who done it and recover.

Thanks Peter. Reading through the whole thread above the focus has been mainly on accidental deletion or seeing figures and general info that isn’t relevant. We would have significant personal and in the UK specifically GDPR issues (affects personal data) without the ability to lock down views. I suspect many potential UK users will not be able to proceed without more granular permissions. Your solutions would appear to solve these for us.

All we really need is another switch on the Duplicate Base options to set a ‘Do not allow Editors to duplicate this base’ - keeping this permission at a Creator / Owner level.

  • What industry do you work in? What role do you have? How are you using Airtable?

We are a business which has developed a business change and planning methodology. I’m the COO, and have translated our methodology from a spreadsheet based approach to use Airtable.

For data privacy and segregation, we set-up a new base for each project/client and provide the Practitioner / PM editor access to this base. They use this to manage their project, and may give clients viewer or editor access to the base.

  • Are you most concerned with view access, write access, share access, or another form of information access?

Our #1 concern is being able to stop the duplication of a base. This is for 2 reasons:

a) The base is the codification of our IP - we want to control how this is spread and stop it being copied without permission.
b) We want to give our practitioners control over how clients access the project data.

We are essentially using Airtable as the MVP of our toolset before developing a stand-alone app.

  • Who are you using Airtable with? With other Airtable collaborators? If so, are these other collaborators base or workspace collaborators? Or, are you using Airtable with non-Airtable users? If so, are they using forms? How are they using these forms?

All collaborators are Base collaborators.
Practitioners are typically Editors
Clients typically engage via forms and read only Table View links
One client role may be given editor access to the base - this is case-by case.

  • What is the nature of the information that you’re concerned about? Where does it live? In specific cells? In records? In fields? In field configurations? Just in specific views? In entire tables? In the names of records, fields, or tables? In share links?

We are concerned primarily about the protection of the base as a whole rather than individual data elements.
While some degree of role-based permission / data segregation would be useful, this is not critical for us at this stage of development.

  • Do you use linked records at all? If so, how would you expect that linked records would interact with more granular permissions?

Yes, but as we are not concerned with role based data access, this is not a concern for us.

Can we PLEASE have it so we can turn off base cloning ability?!

Protecting sensitive client information / formulas is a big deal for us. All it would take is hiding a single button for anyone that is not an admin :slight_smile:

Thank you for all that you do! Love Airtable.

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If you want to allow someone to edit only certain fields, we’ve created a tool that allows you to do that. It generates a basic editor that’s ideal for giving access to users who just need to do light work.