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Mergetool.com’s Field Level, Actions, and Data Security helps United Subcontractors increase efficiency without sacrificing security

United Subcontractors, Inc., (USI) is a market leader in the installation of a wide range of residential and commercial products in the construction industry. Installation services include insulation, windows and doors, shelving, garage doors, glass services, and a variety of specialty services. The company has 1,200 employees and more than 35 locally managed branches.

The Challenge

USI is a national company with branch offices that compete with locally-owned businesses offering similar services. As part of a national network, USI branches have the competitive advantage: they handle responsibilities at the local level to maintain a personal touch with their customers, while at the national level the company partners with suppliers to ensure access to materials at competitive prices. This business structure has two primary benefits: The branches can focus on serving customers rather than dealing with administration matters; and USI is able to standardize building processes and systems companywide for sales, production, quality control, certifications, training, billing, collections, and safety.

Since opening its doors in 1998, USI has completed more than 40 acquisitions—each acquisition having its own business processes and data that had to be absorbed by USI without interrupting local operations. With 35 distinct operating units and 1,200 employees, USI found itself with some processes being handled at the branch level and others at the company’s headquarters—and many opportunities for increasing efficiency—so the company decided to streamline its back office processing in certain market areas by combining several distinct NAV companies into a single NAV company.  

A downside to combining several NAV companies into one NAV company was that employees from one branch would have complete access to information about other branches within the same company—which was unacceptable. System administrators needed the ability to control exactly what data each employee could access and control. Although Dynamics NAV has solid data security features, it does not allow administrators to define the level of detailed, record-level (data) security that USI required for each user. Bradley Roberts, ERP Application Manager, began looking for a solution that could provide that ability.

The Solution

After searching unsuccessfully for a sufficient add-on solution, Bradley began working with USI’s internal NAV developer to build a custom solution. Not long into their development efforts, however, Bradley found out that a solution was already in the works at Mergetool.com. Field Level, Actions and Data Security would give him exactly what he was looking for—unprecedented control over security at the field and data level.

USI had previously purchased Mergetool.com’s NAV Easy Security tool in early 2011 as a fast and easy way to set up and maintain security, permissions, and user roles for approximately 130 concurrent users. Easy Security had reduced the time it took to set up a specific role from well over an hour to only a few minutes, so Bradley was confident that Mergetool.com Field Level, Actions and Data Security could do the job.

“After having used Easy Security, I was excited to find out Mergetool.com was developing a tool that would provide record level security,” said Bradley. “I was interested to see what they would come up with to solve this problem, because I was confident it would be both usable and effective.”

NAV Easy Security makes it quick and easy for companies to assign permissions for multiple users across multiple groups and companies by automating much of the process. Easy Security records permissions as roles are being created or updated. Every record, codeunit, form, report, table, and security level associated with a task is automatically recorded. Tasks can then be combined to build roles which are assigned to the appropriate users. These Each role can be adjusted to create additional roles without re-recording the same tasks.

Like Easy Security, Field Level, Actions and Data Security provides sophisticated functionality while keeping setup simple and fast. Field Level, Actions and Data Security offers the following:

Field Level Security – It is often necessary to give access to important information such as the Customer card to many employees for maintaining address information or other similar tasks. Typically, however, the ability to change a customer’s credit limit or posting information is more strictly managed. With the field level security features, individual fields on pages and forms can be set to Edit, View, or Hide, allowing administrators to customize access by user. When a field is set to “View,” users can see the value but cannot edit the content of the field. When the field is set to “Hide,” the field is completely hidden from view.

 Action Security – As with field level security, actions can be set to Edit, View, or Hide. When the action is set to “View,” it is visible but grayed out and cannot be accessed. While “Hide” completely removes the action.

Data Security – Most organizations need to restrict access to data, depending on the role of the user. With the data security features, access to data can be controlled by field value for any user.

“With Field Level, Actions and Data Security, we can be as granular as we want with controlling data and field access,” said Bradley. “After specifying which tables of data we wanted controlled and running some automated processes, we were able to set up whatever rules we wanted on a company-by-company basis. And new rules are quick and easy to implement.”

The Results

Like NAV Easy Security, all of the objects within Field Level, Actions and Data Security are unique and required no modifications to existing objects – no code merges were necessary, so installing it in USI’s customized NAV solutions was easy. This configuration will also make it easy to migrate it forward with future NAV upgrades.  

“The challenge with implementing record level security,” Bradley explained, “is that form objects essentially need to be modified in order to control visibility of data. Programming this ourselves would have required us manually adding code to many different forms, and the functionality would have been quite limited. Easy Security’s Source Code Analyzer made it easy to identify which forms needed to be modified, but even better than that, Field Level, Actions and Data Security managed the code changes on those forms itself. I didn’t even need our programmer to do it.” 

Bradley received the objects on a Wednesday and by Friday had record level security up and working in a testing environment. Because the install process is very straightforward, rolling it into the live database was fast and simple.

“Mergetool.com has done a great job developing an application that stands on its own and doesn’t interfere with other NAV functionality—I love that kind of programming elegance,” said Bradley. “It uses the strengths of NAV to program itself. It does all the heavy lifting.”

With Field Level, Actions and Data Security, Bradley sees the possibility for even more efficiencies in the future. The company now has the ability to set up users at the branch level to have some control over processes that previously were handled at the corporate level because of security concerns. These kinds of opportunities give USI the flexibility to make process improvements that make sense without sacrificing needed security controls.

About Mergetool.com

About Mergetool.com Mergetool.com focuses on delivering services, tools, and products to enhance the performance of Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formerly known as Navision). For more information, visit us at www.mergetool.com.

About Field Level, Actions, and Data Security 

 With Field Level, Actions, and Data Security, administrators have an unprecedented ability to customize user permissions and access to sensitive company data at a more detailed level than ever before—while making people’s jobs easier. Control of access and permissions all the way down to the field, action, or data level lets Dynamics NAV administrators create profiles that are truly tailored for each user, department, or company. Users can see and have access to only what they need, eliminating confusion, reducing errors, and making their jobs easier. For more information on Field Level, Actions and Data Security and other services, tools, and products that enhance the performance of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, visit www.mergetool.com


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