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 facilitates its users to configure security at various levels while assigning a variety of different permission levels. Where most of the site roles are straightforward and easy to comprehend, there are two that are confusing most of the time, i.e., Site Owner and Site Administrator. These are the two most essential roles in SharePoint systems, but the majority fail to comprehend the significant differences between them. 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, and each of these web-application encloses 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 admin 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. Basically, it provides all the permissions to the group members that are available on a particular subsite, and allow them to create or erase libraries and lists along the options to create new subsites and activate site features, etc.
On the other hand, a ‘Site Collection Administrator’ is allowed with the same permission on every site in the site collection as the ‘Site Owner.’ This ‘subsite level’ cannot be overridden in any way; in fact, it is a very powerful role and must be assigned carefully. The role of the ‘Site Collection Administrator’ comes in play when all the permission from a subsite is removed by the ‘Site Owner,’ making the subsites unapproachable to all the users excluding ‘Site Collection Administrator.’ Besides this, the role of ‘Site Collection Administrator’ has access to features like all the site collection features, 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, and neither it deals with giving access to other web-applications or site collections.
Which Role Should Be Assigned to Whom?
It depends on your enterprise. In a SharePoint portal, a ‘Site Owner’ usually is responsible only for a subset of sites. 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 role of the ‘Site Collection Administrator’ 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 the role if there are multiple site collections or multiple web applications. If the company is having the Record Management features installed, the Record Manager is most likely to 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 its one part only. They have complete control over subsite 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 are allowed to change settings and apply settings of the entire Site Collection and can even erase things from there, as they have complete access to all the subsites. The golden role for assigning the roles of ‘Site Collection Administrator’ and ‘Site Owner’ is to choose qualified people, and only one role should be assigned to one person because both of these roles come with a lot of power and responsibility.
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