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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

Network operating systems have access rights (called permissions in the Windows NT/Windows 2000 environment) that are assigned by network administrators to grant users access to file systems and directory services (such as Novell Directory Service or Microsoft Active Directory).

Rights/permissions are granted by network administrators, supervisors, or department managers, depending on the management structure. Rights and permissions in file systems are granted to individual users or groups of users and include the ability to read a file but not change it, or the ability to read and change files. These rights/permissions may control the following:

  • The time the user can log on or the specific computers the user can operate

  • The resources the user can access, such as printers, fax machines, and communication services

  • The level of control that administrators or subadministrators have in defining the rights/permissions of the users and/or resources they manage

  • The ability to access file systems, as defined at folders in the file system

  • The ability to access network resources, as defined in each level of a directory tree, such as Microsoft Active Directory or NDS (Novell Directory Services).

Typical rights and permissions include no access, list (view a directory listing), read, add & read (drop a file in a box, but not be able to change it), change, execute a program, change permissions, and take ownership (obtain rights to a directory or file).

Typically, a user is granted rights to access files in a particular folder, and rights may be restricted to just that folder. Users who have rights to access files, directories, or objects are usually called trustees of those files, directories, or objects.

Inheritance may also be applied, which means that rights flow down from the parent folder to subfolders. Inherited rights make administration easy because a user or a group of users can be given access to a whole directory tree in one step. However, administrators/supervisors can block inherited rights to prevent users from accessing specific directories in a tree or set custom rights as appropriate. The fact that rights carry down through the directory tree is of great importance in the planning of directory structures. You should create directory structures that take advantage of the way that rights are set at specific branches of the tree.

Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.
All rights reserved under Pan American and International copyright conventions.