Managing user permissions in any tool can be a burden. From a lack of clarity into what each permission actually enables, to the laborious task of trying to decide the appropriate permission level for users that will enable them to do their job while also safeguarding the business, managing users is rarely a task that administrators get excited about.
While user permissions may not be that exciting, they do serve a very important role for your business. This blog post will cover what user permissions, permission sets and teams are in HubSpot, why companies should utilize them and when they should. It will also cover how you can manage these permissions, sets and teams to meet your needs in HubSpot as well as who should own the management of these items at your company.
What are user permissions, permission sets and teams in HubSpot?
User Permissions in HubSpot give you the ability to allow or restrict users from accessing certain areas or features in HubSpot. Permission Sets are groups of permissions that you can establish (only available in Hubspot Enterprise subscriptions). Permission sets are different from Teams in HubSpot which give you the ability to group users by department (or group) and preset some system preferences for users based on what may be relevant to their team.
HubSpot’s user permissions enable a multitude of permissions which are grouped by the categories listed below.
HubSpot User Permission Categories:
You can learn more about HubSpot’s user permissions here.
While user permissions are the primary method of controlling access in HubSpot, you can also limit the ability to edit certain properties to only certain users at the property level as well as restrict certain users from accessing certain content by assigning content access.
Permission Sets (often called Roles in other tools) allow you to define a set of user permissions in a single place and then apply those permissions to one or multiple users based on what they need to access in the tool. As an example, I could create a View Only ge.hubspot.Permission Set that only has permissions to view but not edit anything and assign that permission set to all relevant users in the system. Where Permission Sets can simplify the ability to establish permissions quickly and modify a group or records permissions in one place, the longer I have used them the more complexity I feel they add, as looking this often results in Admins having to look at multiple permissions sets to determine a users access to an area in HubSpot as opposed to having a single view of permissions on the user level that you can manage without affecting other users.
With user permissions and permission sets out of the way, the final feature to demystify in HubSpot related to user management is Teams. As mentioned, Teams in HubSpot give you the ability to group sets of users together for organizational and reporting purposes. The first benefit of Teams is they easily enable you to see the users in your system broken out by the Team they are a part of. Teams also give you the ability to enable and limit access to records, reports, routing rules, notifications, workflow rotation actions and custom views/team tags. So while teams do not help you manage permissions that allow users to take action in the system, they do enable a lot of other features like custom team views, the ability to preset dashboards and signatures, and the ability to tag your team in comments and report on your team’s assets.
Why should companies utilize user permissions and teams as part of their administration and governance policies?
Companies should utilize user permissions to ensure that only people that need access to certain areas of HubSpot have access. While the scenarios are completely different, I would equate not using permissions in HubSpot to not locking your house when you leave. While we all hope that people who know they shouldn’t be in our house will not enter and cause damage or steal our items, we all know that in reality trust is not enough to protect our homes or our company’s data. As a result, it is a best practice to limit system access and user permissions to only enable users to access what they need to accomplish their job and safeguard the company in all places that we possibly can. You can always provide more permissions to a user that is unable to access something but you can’t always undo the actions of a user that is playing outside of their comfort zone in the tool or who intentionally access or steal data they should not have had access to in the first place.
In addition to user permissions, SSO (Single Sign On) is encouraged for all organizations that want to manage access to company tools (HubSpot included) in a centralized platform. Doing this ensures that all access for a user can be removed if needed without having to manually log into every tool to revoke access.
When should companies utilize custom permissions, permission sets and teams?
Companies should be utilizing user permissions and teams yesterday. All jokes aside, I have logged into a few instances in my career only to find that all 50 users are Super Admins which is always appalling to me. That being said, HubSpot forcing admins to configure user permissions from scratch when added typically results in users having access to only what they need (assuming the admin actually understands the permissions, lol).
Unlike user permissions, which are painful to audit and reconcile if you have not been managing them well for a while, Teams are VERY simple to configure at any time. If you are currently using HubSpot and have not configured your Teams I would heavily encourage it so you can take advantage of all the features Teams enable.
How can companies configure user permissions, permission sets and teams to meet their needs in HubSpot?
The first steps to successfully configuring User Permissions in HubSpot is to make yourself familiar with what permissions can be managed. Odds are there will be a few items that you are not familiar with which will help you create a list of areas in the tool that you have the opportunity to learn more about. Once you fully understand the permissions available, I typically find that it is simplest to create a spreadsheet that has permissions listed as rows. Creating this sheet will give you the ability to define permissions for each of your HubSpot users and define a team that each user should be a part of. Doing this exercise will also help you identify permission sets that are shared between multiple users which is an indication that creating a permission set is beneficial (for users with a HubSpot Enterprise plan).
Once you have completed this exercise, you can create or update your permission sets and teams to align to your spreadsheet and then confirm that those permission sets and permissions are accurately applied to your users.
User Permissions, Permission Sets and Teams are configured in HubSpot by navigating to Settings > Users & Teams.
Who should manage HubSpot user permissions, permission sets and teams at a company?
User permissions and roles should be managed by the system’s primary Admin. This Admin should ensure that a member of your IT team also has access to HubSpot should they ever need to add or remove users. While some HubSpot administrators will work with Legal to determine the appropriate permission sets for external contractors/vendors, I often find that the HubSpot Admin is typically in control of defining how restricted they want to make their system for internal employees. Good Admins will know that it is better to provide less access than too much.
In summary, we have covered what user permissions, permission sets and teams are in HubSpot. We have covered why these permissions/sets/teams provided you with the tools you need to protect your instance while also protecting your users from themselves, as well managed permissions will not allow users to take actions that are outside of their expertise or job function. We have covered when a company should implement permission sets and teams and why familiarizing yourself with what permissions are available in HubSpot will help you determine how to best configure these features in your instance. Finally, we touched on who typically owns managing user permissions, sets and teams in most organizations.