Re: proper permissions of /home/users ?
Well, it will all depend on what type os usage this box has. A good rule of thumb is: if it is open to the public on certain ports, then it is open to the public. Period. In other words, a potentially vulnerable system. So there is a whole truckload of things you should consider, not only /home!
But, generically, /home/<user> should be at *least* 750. On my machines it is 700 by default (which is to say, unaccessible by anyone else except root and the owner).
Hoc volo, sic jubeo, sit pro rationa volontas.