Security Basics

Security is especially critical for core business applications, such as PeopleSoft applications. Typically, you do not want every department in your company to have access to all your applications. Nor do you want everyone within a department to have access to all the functions or all the data of a particular application. Additionally, you may want to restrict who can customize your applications with PeopleTools.

PeopleSoft software provides security features, including components and PeopleTools applications, to ensure that your sensitive application data, such as employee salaries, performance reviews, or home addresses, does not fall into the wrong hands. Most likely, you use other security tools for your network and relational database management system (RDBMS). These tools work together to protect the PeopleSoft system from unauthorized access.

As you implement the PeopleSoft Internet Architecture, you need a robust and scalable means by which you can grant authorization to users efficiently. When you deploy your applications to the internet, the number of potential users of your system increases exponentially. Suddenly, you have customers, vendors, suppliers, employees, and prospects all using the same system.

The PeopleSoft security approach is tailored for the internet. It enables you to easily create and maintain security definitions, and you can perform many maintenance tasks programmatically.

You can apply security to all users, including employees, managers, customers, contractors, and suppliers. You group your users according to roles to give them different degrees of access. For instance, there might be an Employee role, a Manager role, and an Administrator role. Users who belong to a particular role require a specific set of permissions, or authorizations, within your system, so that they can complete their daily tasks.

You must also secure the objects and definitions in your PeopleSoft development environment. Just as you restrict sets of end users from accessing particular pages and components, you also restrict the definitions that your site’s developers can access using PeopleSoft Application Designer. A definition refers to any of the objects that you create within PeopleSoft Application Designer, such as records, pages, or components. Each object definition may have individual security needs. For example, you may have a large development staff, but perhaps you want only a few developers to have access to specific record definitions.

PeopleSoft Security Definitions

Because deploying your applications to the internet significantly increases the number of potential users your system must accommodate, you need an efficient method of granting authorization to different user types. PeopleSoft security definitions provide a modular means to apply security attributes in a scalable manner.

A security definition refers to a collection of related security attributes that you create using PeopleTools Security. The three main PeopleSoft security definition types are:

  • User profiles.

  • Roles.

  • Permission lists.

Note: A PeopleSoft security definition called an Access Profile also exists, but these are defined at the database level.

User Profiles

User profiles define individual PeopleSoft users.

Each user has an individual user profile, which in turn is linked to one or more roles. You add one or more permission lists, which ultimately control what a user can and cannot access, to each role. A few permission types are assigned directly to the user profile.

Typically, a user profile must be linked to at least one role in order to be a valid profile. The majority of values that make up a user profile are inherited from the linked roles.


Roles are intermediate objects that link user profiles to permission lists. You can assign multiple roles to a user profile, and you can assign multiple permission lists to a role. Some examples of roles might be Employee, Manager, Customer, Vendor, and Student.

A manager is also an employee and may also be a student. Roles enable you to mix and match access appropriately.

You have two options when assigning roles: assign roles manually or assign them dynamically. When assigning roles dynamically, you use PeopleCode, LDAP, and PeopleSoft Query rules to assign user profiles to roles programmatically.

Permission Lists

Permission lists are groups of authorizations that you assign to roles. Permission lists store sign in times, page access, PeopleTools access, and so on.

A permission list may contain one or more types of permissions. The fewer types of permissions in a permission list, the more modular and scalable your implementation.

A user profile inherits most of its permissions through roles, but you apply some permission lists, such as process profile or row-level security (data permissions), directly to a user profile.