Writable Shared Areas
Precedence Technologies strongly recommends that shared areas are only writable by the users you really need to write to that area. For example, a common configuration in a school is to have a shared area that is readable by everyone, but only writable by staff members. This way the area is managed by staff who can upload files to this area as they wish.
Occasionally we are asked to create a shared area that is writable by everyone. This is technically very easy to achieve, but generally proves to be a bad idea. As soon as a shared area is created that is writable by all users, you are opening yourself up to a range of problems.
- Pupils will be able to overwrite each others work, delete sections of the shared area, etc. For example, any user could delete all the files in an area if they wanted to (and as most people have experienced at some point, it's even possible to delete files by mistake).
- Viruses spread throughout the network. A common virus infects all drives by setting up a hidden autorun file. A writable area allows this to quickly infect all computers attached to the network (and all users' home areas).
- Username and passwords are not always kept secure. It is easy for a malicious sibling to destroy months of work.
- It is very easy to create a script which deletes all files in your home area. If this is called something enticing such as Cool new game, it will tend to be run by most users with potentially catastrophic data loss.
We have set this up for schools in the past after giving them this advice and many of them have experienced a selection of these problems since.
If you are prepared to risk having these sorts of problems with a writable shared area, we will be happy to set this up for you. However, we would require you to send an email waiver stating that you understand that you will take full responsibility for all data loss.
N.B. Any data loss is unlikely to be restricted to just the writable shared area, so a waiver such as "we will take full responsibility for all data loss **WITHIN THIS SPECIFIC AREA**" is not good enough