Computers connected together in peer-to-peer networks do not have any central, or special, authority—they’re all peers, meaning that when it comes to authority, they’re all equals. The authority to perform a security check for proper access rights lies with the computer that has the desired resource being requested from it.
It also means that the computers coexisting in a peer-to-peer network can be client machines that access resources and server machines and provide those resources to other computers. This actually works pretty well as long as there isn’t a huge number of users on the network, if each user backs things up locally, and if your network doesn’t require much security.
If your network is running Windows, Mac, or Unix in a local LAN workgroup, you have a peer-to-peer network. Keep in mind that peer-to-peer networks definitely present security-oriented challenges; for instance, just backing up company data can get pretty sketchy!
Since it should be clear by now that peer-to-peer networks aren’t all sunshine, backing up all your critical data may be tough, but it’s vital! Haven’t all of us forgotten where we’ve put an important file? And then there’s that glaring security issue to tangle with. Because security is not centrally governed, each and every user has to remember and maintain a list of users and passwords on each and every machine. Worse, some of those all-important passwords for the same users change on different machines—even for accessing different resources.