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Permission Sets vs Profiles

Permission Sets versus Profiles

Salesforce’s Summer ’14 release includes a developer’s preview (Developer Edition instances only) of Custom Permissions, which will allow the ability to control access to custom processes via Permission Sets.  Since introducing Permission Sets, Salesforce has slowly increased the types of settings access can be granted to via this method.

If you haven’t been utilizing Permission Sets, you might be wondering what are the pros and cons of using them, and what should one consider as part of “Best Practices” of using Permission Sets versus additional custom Profiles.

While a Salesforce user must be assigned to a single Profile, Permission Sets are optional and users can be assigned multiple Permission Sets.  They can be used to increase access to the areas they support, which include:

Assigned apps, Tab settings, Record type settings, Object permissions, Field permissions, App permissions, Apex class access, Visualforce page access, and System permissions

One common area that cannot be controlled via Permission Sets is Page Layout assignments.  If you have a shared profile, all users with that profile would see the same Contact page layout in regards to shared fields they have access to.  If one group wanted to see the Mailing Address right below the Contact Name, but another group wanted to see the Email field below the Contact Name instead, you wouldn’t be able to achieve that with a shared profile.

The positives of using Permission Sets with shared (or fewer) profiles is it tends to be easier for internal Administration teams to manage long-term, especially if some users need “cross over” access - such as managers who oversee more than 1 group of users and might need access to additional custom fields or objects for the different departments they manage.  A deciding factor can be whether one of the goals of your organization is to have a unified look/feel of Salesforce for all users in regards to accessing shared objects such as Account and Contacts.  This can be especially important if users sometimes transfer departments within your organization where you might not want the Contact page to look very different just because a user is in a new department.  In this option, using fewer Profiles and adding Permission Sets where users need greater access will help you accomplish this goal.  If different departments within your organization need their own unique experience of the system, where you’re trying to partition off Salesforce as much as possible to use it as different systems, than separate Profiles will give you greater flexibility.


To manage Permission Sets, as additional groups on-board to Salesforce it would be analyzed whether they would use the existing Profiles with custom Permission Sets created if new features were developed specifically for them and supported by Permission Sets or if a new custom Profile was necessary to support their needs.

You can read additional information in Salesforce Help or contact your Buan Consultant for any questions you may have.


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