Don’t Share Your eTapestry Login, How to Manage Users and Security Groups
It is a best practice to create a new Blackbaud® eTapestry® user with a distinct eTapestry login for each person that accesses your eTapestry database. Once everyone has an eTapestry login, manage their access with security groups and eTapestry preferences.
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User Access and Restrictions
There are two views (“school of thought”) for providing user access in eTapestry.
Restricted user access
The first view restricts a user’s access to only the features, functions, data, and areas of eTapestry needed by that user. This philosophy relies on clear organizational roles to determine how much access a user needs. Once those roles are determined, a user’s eTapestry login is restricted with security group preferences so that user cannot affect areas of the software that don’t apply to their role.
This method of user management is effective, but it puts a burden on your eTapestry administrator to clearly define how much access each eTapestry user should receive.
Open user access
The alternative view is to provide unlimited access to all users. Unlimited access could be limited slightly to include all eTapestry features and functions that aren’t administrator related (like adding new users and adjusting administrator preferences).
This method of user management is also effective, but it requires highly trained eTapestry users. There is also a burden on the administrator to manage data quality and monitor user activity. However, this method generally produces a richer, fuller database.
Sidekick Solutions advocates for open user access. We recognize that open access isn’t feasible or practical in all situations, but we recommend maintaining open access to the maximum allowable extent for the following reasons.
- Open access allows more users to enter data, which provides for a richer data set and more robust reports
- Open access spreads out knowledge of data entry, which mitigates the impact of staff turnover
- Open access empowers more users to invest in the database, which promotes buy-in across the organization
Keep in mind that open user access does imply that users are well trained and knowledgeable. Don’t provide an eTapestry login to someone who isn’t prepared to operate the database or doesn’t have the required resources to be effective with eTapestry.
Provide users the following resources to be successful with this model.
- Data entry, query, and report training (even if the user won’t be running reports, report training helps with general knowledge of the database)
- Data entry user guides and standard operating procedures
- Procedures for users to ask questions and get answers from administrators
- Data quality reviews, reports, and check-ups on a regular and consistent basis
Assign an eTapestry login to each user that needs access to your eTapestry database. Then arrange those users into Security Groups. Even though you may want to provide unlimited access to most users, there are situations where a few common security groups come in handy.
Adding Security Groups
Go to the Management tab and select Security Groups to add a new security group. An eTapestry database comes with two security groups out-of-the-box. Your database may have others depending on how it has been managed since the day your database was activated. We recommend at least two additional security groups for a base eTapestry system. Reasons for each security group are provided below.
Every eTapestry database has this security group. This security group has unlimited access to all feature, functions, settings, and options in eTapestry. Each database should have at least two active users assigned to the Admin security group. That way you have a backup eTapestry login if something should ever happen to one of your eTapestry administrators.
Every eTapestry database has this security group as well. This security group has basic data entry capabilities but little else. Default users don’t have access to mass email, forms, reports, or mass updates among other features. Leave this security group as is. Build additional security groups from the Default group, but don’t edit this group from its original settings.
3. Default + Reporting
This is a custom group that you may choose to create. It is copied and modified from the Default group. Some users need access to data entry and reporting, but not other features. Data entry and reporting are features that go hand in hand, so we recommend creating a security group that is an exact duplicate of the Default group except add the reporting module to the new group.
This is another security group that isn’t standard. You need to deactivate eTapestry login credentials when a staff member leaves the organization. Deactivating an eTapestry login is as simple as going to that user account, selecting “Rights,” and deselecting the enabled checkbox. Deactivate users, do not delete them. Move inactive users to the Inactive security group. Turn off all features and capabilities in the Inactive security group. That way, former users won’t be logging into eTapestry.
Setting eTapestry Login Preferences
The decisions on how you will manage users are yours, but these are a few suggestions to get you started. Keep in mind that security preferences extend well beyond basic security groups. You can segment the records a user sees as well as the fields a user sees with the Advanced Security Module in eTapestry. You may even choose to go ultra-specific with security groups for all users.
Good user management should have the goal of keeping your eTapestry database clean, healthy, and protected.
Whether you choose to keep your security groups open or restricted is your call, but we do recommend reviewing your eTapestry Login Preferences. Be sure to select a password requirement setting that matches your HR and organizational policies for password management. You can access this option via the My Organization area under Preferences.
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