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The role of role-based security in social knowledge networks

We've discussed the importance of having fine, granular control over who has rights to blog, post ratings, create and edit wikis, etc., in a social knowledge network. This control is crucial as the concept of "social in the enterprise" becomes a reality for many organizations.

Many companies look to vendors to guide them to achieving the benefits of social technologies, while avoiding potential pitfalls of insecure, uncontrolled access.

This brings me to the second installment of our security in social knowledge networks series. Today we're talking about role-based security.

Role-based security is a means of controlling access to certain capabilities, workflows, and areas of enterprise software business applications. This access is based on credentials supplied by the user, typically verified using single sign-on security, and often used to enforce policies.

This feature is inherently part of the social knowledge network platform. It addresses the concern many organizations have that are looking to unlock the benefits of social technologies, without having users "run amok" posting and editing content.

With role-based security, users can be granted access privileges based on many factors, such as seniority, expertise, functional role, location, and more.

For example, a junior engineer in a consulting firm might have rights to view a proposal between his firm and a client, but probably doesn’t have rights to edit it.

Another example might be a managing partner of an engineering consultancy who is responsible for the firm's waste water treatment practice. She has full access to the firm's project management, document management, and general ledger enterprise applications for everything related to the waste water practice.

However, she only has minimal or no access to other practices' business applications, such as those for transportation or life sciences.

This way, the integrity of an organization's knowledge base is preserved and protected.

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