SharePoint Site Collection Administrator vs. Site Owner

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SharePoint Site Collection Administrator vs. Site Owner

Security is crucial when it comes to collaborative cloud platforms like SharePoint. SharePoint offers impressive levels of granularity with extensive security and protection models. It allows users to configure security at various levels while assigning various permission levels. Most site roles are straightforward to comprehend; there are two confusing times, i.e., Site Owner and Site Administrator. These are the two most essential roles in SharePoint systems, but most fail to comprehend the significant differences. This blog clarifies the primary differences between these two.

Difference between SharePoint Site Collection Administrator vs. Site Owner

But before understanding the difference between these two, we need to understand the difference between Site Collection versus Subsite. SharePoint consists of several web applications, each enclosing one or more site collections. And each site collection has one or more subsites. In SharePoint, different permissions can be assigned at every level by providing the possibility for a granular permission configuration. Every security group has a unique set of permissions. The group ‘Site Owner’ gives permits, i.e., ‘Full Control,’ to the subsite. It provides all the permissions available to the group members on a particular subsite. It allows them to create or erase libraries and lists and offers the option to create new subsites, activate site features, etc.

On the other hand, a ‘Site Collection Administrator’ is allowed with the same permission on every site collection site as the ‘Site Owner.’  This ‘subsite level’ cannot be overridden in any way; it is a compelling role and must be assigned carefully. The ‘Site Collection Administrator’ role comes into play when all the permission from a subsite is removed by the ‘Site Owner,’ making the subsites unapproachable to all the users, excluding the ‘Site Collection Administrator.’ Besides this, the ‘Site Collection Administrator’ can access features like site collection, content publishing, reports auditing, etc. The term ‘Administrator’ must not be confused with the class role or ‘Server Admin’ as it does not grant any permission to execute the tasks on servers. It neither deals with giving access to other web applications or site collections.

Which Role Should Be Assigned to Whom?

It depends on your enterprise. A ‘Site Owner’ is usually responsible only for a subset of sites in a SharePoint portal. Site Owners are generally the key users, as they are responsible for maintaining the major part of the intranet while ensuring that all the sites, libraries, and lists are accessible to the authorized content editors. All the users have the necessary permissions, and all the needed features are enabled. The ‘Site Collection Administrator’ role can be fulfilled by one or more people depending on the size of your SharePoint Portal. It is typically someone from the IT department if the implementation involves only one site collection. However, a key user is selected to fulfill multiple site collections or web applications. If the company has the Record Management features installed, the Record Manager will most likely be the ‘Site Collection Administrator.’

Role Demystification of SharePoint Site Collection Administrator vs. Site Owner

The ‘Site Owner’ is not allowed to change anything at the Site Collection level, and they are responsible for only one part. They have complete control over subsites and are permitted to create subsites and lists, grant permissions to the users, and activate all the site features. On the other hand, a ‘Site Collection Administrator’ can also do the same and much more. They can change settings, apply settings of the entire Site Collection, and even erase things from there, as they have complete access to all the subsites. The golden rule for assigning the roles of ‘Site Collection Administrator’ and ‘Site Owner’ is to choose qualified people. Only one role should be assigned to one person because both roles come with much power and responsibility.


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