Security Best Practices: Access Levels and Upload Workflows

A common question I hear from our clients is “What are other firms doing to manage their user workflows?” It’s actually one of my favorite topics to discuss because OpenAsset has a robust set of permissions you can, and should, take advantage of. So let’s get to the good stuff!

Access Levels:

A huge benefit of OpenAsset is the ability to control access to the content you’ve uploaded. Access levels are indicated by our red, green, and yellow “stoplight” system –  allowing administrators the peace of mind to store content while maintaining full control over who has access to the files. Since OpenAsset should be your central repository for your digital assets, I recommend uploading as much content as you can. Using Access Levels, an administrator can upload content and label it as red “Restricted” without worrying about confidentiality or misuse of certain images. You can use Category Permissions for Groups in OpenAsset to block the General User Group from viewing or using any red “Restricted” content. This is the setup that most of our clients use, since it gives them the flexibility to limit access to images while still allowing storage of all assets.

On the other hand, if you don’t want to play the role of “Hall Monitor,” you can configure Category Permissions for different groups in OpenAsset to view red “Restricted” access level content and have it serve as a symbolic “Do Not Use” warning to the General User. You can even change the text on the access levels to make it clear and easy for the end-users to understand. If your users are familiar with the stoplight system, this might be the better approach. Just remember this rule: if they can see it, they can use it. See the Access Levels page on our help site for more information.

Common Uploading Workflows:

We recommend that the main “owners” of OpenAsset be part of the Administrator Group, enabling them to upload, create/manage keywords and users. The Admin group holds the keys to all the doors, so having your Admins understand internal user workflows is important. Different users may only need access to certain aspects of OpenAsset, so to help you manage the groups, here is a link to our help site with more information on Group Permissions.

For many AEC firms, it makes sense to have a group of users with the ability to upload, alleviating any potential bottlenecks. To manage quality assurance and vet the content, we recommend creating an “Advanced User” or similar custom group. You can then set Category Permissions so that those users can submit their upload for approval by an Admin. You can even set it up to limit certain groups to upload only to specific categories in OpenAsset (for example, all users can upload non-project “Reference” assets but only admins can upload “Project” assets). Allowing people to contribute content on their own helps with engagement, adoption, and ensures that OA is built as a “team effort”. Here is more info on how to set up the upload approvals.

A little bonus tip!

​Set up notifications for:

  • new file uploads
  • upload requests
  • new shared items (like albums)
  • files deleted
  • and files replaced

OpenAsset can then automatically notify you via in-browser alerts and/or email. This is a really useful way to manage and keep track of what’s coming in or out of OA.  Learn more on how to configure notifications.

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