As of right now SalesForce has recently released permission sets (as of the Winter ’12 release) as a way to lower the amount of custom profiles you need to setup when you are Administering SalesForce to your users. While functionality is great, sometimes the use cases behind using such a feature can be lost on people.
Permission Sets are “permissive” by nature meaning that you cannot use them to lock down users but rather open up the functionality of Salesforce to users. Its quite common that administrators have requests that come in to open up permissions for a specific user. In the past this was only accomplished by creating a custom profile which was time consuming and hard to manage. I can imagine that there are a a lot of companies with this currently in place today but no longer do you need to do this.
In order to find the permission set functionality go to Setup | Manage Users | Permission Sets as you can see below…
When you click to create a new permission set you’ll notice that you need to give it a label name, API name, description (optional), and the user license type that this permission set should be created for specifically.
Lastly you need to set the permission, hence the name “Permission Set” using the “Object and Field Permissions” option.
Once you are finished the last thing that you need to do is assign users to your newly created permission set by going to the individual user record under the “Permission Set Assignments” related list and selecting the permission set you want to assign to the user and you are all done!