SharePoint Security and Permission System Overview

September 1 2010 459 comments

SharePoint Permission and Security Mechanisms

From time to time, our customers ask us about how SharePoint security and permission features work, and how should they be utilized. In this post we try to walk through the basic permission and security features of SharePoint. This post is not intended to be a complete description of every security and permission related feature in SharePoint, but we try to gather all the essential pieces here. We took many screenshots to illustrate what each setting or feature means in practice, enjoy the ride, ;-) !

Additional Resources:

Farm Administrators

Farm Administrators group is a group that is managed centrally via SharePoint Central Administration web-site:

Farm Administrators include by default SharePoint Farm -account, SharePoint installation account and BUILTIN\Administrators group. Farm Administrators have basically “all rights” in SharePoint Farm (or at least they have the ability to get them).

You can give Farm Administration rights to AD groups and AD users:

Additional Resources:

Authentication Providers

With authentication providers you can control how you would like to have your users authenticated in a web application. You can also enable/disable anonymous access and client integration and control client object model permission requirements among others:

Additional Resources:

Web Application Level Permission Policies

With web application level permission policies you can control centrally, with Central Administration, what kind of permission policies you want to apply to all site collections and sites under specific web application. By default SharePoint gives us four predefined policies:

Our recommendation is that you should not edit the default policies, but instead go ahead and create a new policies, if the out of the box policies are not what you are looking for. Policies itself do not grant any permissions unless you attach users or groups to that policy. Policies are just a definitions what the user who has granted the policy can do in the entire web application. With web application policies you can either Grant or Deny the permission.

Here is an example of adding a new web application level permission policy:

Additional Resources:

Web Application Level User Policies

User Policy is the place where the magic happens in a web application level. User policy is basically a AD user or AD group mapping to certain Web Application Level Permission policy. You can even define a Zone in which the policy is applied. For example you can use different policy for users who use the SharePoint sites from your internal network (intranet zone), and different policy for those who access the sites through public internet (internet zone), or just apply to “All Zones”. User policies are especially useful for service accounts and in development/integration environments where you probably recreate site collections often (maybe with TFS autobuild scripts).

Here is a screenshot of applying Manage Content -policy to Content Editors AD group:

Additional Resources:

Web Application Level Anonymous Policy

You can also define web application level anonymous users’ policy through Central Administration -site (but you can only select the policy from a three predefined policies):

Additional Resources:

Web Application Level User Permissions

This is just a checkbox list from where you can manage what kind of permission levels can be used in a web application and site collections (by default all check boxes are checked, and in general we rarely need to modify the selections):

Site Collection Administrators

Site Collection Administrators have full control of a specific SharePoint site collection. You can only use AD users (not AD groups, at least with the UI) as site collection administrators (We don’t actually know why it is like that, do you?). With Central Administration site, you can define two users as site collection administrators, but in site collection settings you can add more site collection administrators. Here is a screenshot of Central Administration site collection administrators settings page:

Additional Resources:

Anonymous Access Permissions

You can control what parts of your site the Anonymous users can access with Anonymous Access Setting:

Anonymous access can further be restricted by enabling View Form Pages Lock Down -feature. Our advice is to enable this feature in every public SharePoint site. More about this feature and some other anonymous access suggestions, please consult the following article:

Site Collection Level Permission Levels

Like in Web Application level permission policies, these are the actual permissions that SharePoint will check when user accesses resources in a SharePoint site. This time we have Grant only abilities (in Web Application Level Permission Policies you could use Grant and Deny). In itself permission levels are only definitions that group the more fine grained permissions together in a more useful entity.

By Default SharePoint has these permission levels defined in site collections (levels can be a little bit different depending on what features have been enabled in a site collection):

You can also define your own permission levels, if predefined levels do not match the requirements. As a general principle, it’s not a good idea to modify predefined permission levels (it will only cause confusion). Own permission levels can be created in similar fashion as web application level permission policies:

Additional Resources:

SharePoint Groups

SharePoint groups are a little bit like AD groups, but these groups are managed in SharePoint instead of Active Directory. SharePoint groups can be used to delegate rights management for the site owners instead of system administrators. Whether this is a good thing or not… well it depends on what you want to archive. SharePoint groups are global to the whole site collection. You cannot specify SharePoint group that exists only in a (sub-)site level. SharePoint groups cannot be used over the site collections. One thing SharePoint groups do support that AD groups do not, is membership requests. You can control SharePoint groups’ permission levels whenever you want to use that group. Basically SharePoint group is just a collection of AD groups and AD users with attached permission level(s). While permission level can change for the group the members are globally defined (site collection wide).

Here is a small clipping of Group creation settings (not all settings are visible, but you get an idea):

SharePoint Groups do no directly give any rights to ad users or ad groups (unless you use some predefined group that already has for example site level permissions attached to it). You have to use that group somewhere. Next we walk through all the places where you can use SharePoint Groups, AD Groups and AD users to actually give the permissions.

Additional Resources:

Site Permissions

Site permissions is where all the permission management begins. More specifically the root site permissions (root site is the top site in a site collection). These are the permissions that all sub-items (sub-sites, libraries and lists, folders and document sets, documents and items) will inherit. That’s why it is important to carefully design the site permissions as the whole site will use these by default (unless the inheritance chain is broken). Our advice is to try to find some general permissions so that you do no need to break inheritance chain too often.

When you grant site permissions you can use AD groups, AD users and SharePoint groups. You can either add users to some of SharePoint groups or grant the permissions directly (aka attach permission level to user or group). I’m not sure why Microsoft recommends granting permissions though SharePoint Groups, because in many cases it makes a little sense. Probably because of in-built functionality that is attached to SharePoint groups or that when using SharePoint groups, you are able to move your site more easily to different domain (for example from development to cloud service, BPOS anyone?). Our advice is that go with SharePoint groups or grant directly, but try not to overuse SharePoint Groups as it only causes confusion in the end.

Here is a screenshot of SharePoint site level permission granting screen (this exact same functionality is also used in other levels described below):

Each sub site can break the permissions inheritance chain and specify their own permissions, just like you specify them in a root site.

Additional Resources:

Library or List Permissions

Library and List permissions can be managed though list settings. Basically the management works exactly the same as with Site permissions. First you break the inheritance chain and then you start to manage individual list’s or library’s permissions. You can grant rights for AD users, AD groups and SharePoint Groups. By default libraries and lists inherit their permissions from parent site.

With lists and libraries you have also some other security related features.

For example you can control Draft Item Security:

You can also control item/document scheduling, enable audience targeting and content approval (with or without workflows):

Additional Resources:

Folder or Document Set Permissions

Like with library and site permissions, folders and document sets can be granted with their own permissions by breaking the permissions inheritance chain.

Document Set and Folder permissions can be accessed from drop-down menu:

Additinal Resources:

  • Consult the links provided in Library or List Permissions

Document or Item Permissions

Last level in SharePoint site structure hierarchy is document or item. Document and item permissions can also be granted just like you did with structures above that (folders, libraries, sites…).

You can access document and item level permission settings page directly from the object you are interested in:

Additinal Resources:

  • Consult the links provided in Library or List Permissions

Miscellaneous Security and Permission Features

Web Part security settings can be configured at web application level:

SharePoint Designer permissions can be controlled with web application level settings:

See also: Managing SharePoint Designer 2010

Browser File Handling and Web Page Security validation can be controlled at web application level:

See Also: Security Validation and Making Posts to Update Data

You can also control blocked file types list (aka restrict of uploading certain file types):

See Also: Manage blocked file types (SharePoint Server 2010)

Self-Service Site Creation that is basically used for my sites is a way to give users a permission to create a new site collections in certain URL namespaces. This can be controlled through Central Administration -web site and the setting is for a web application:

See Also: Turn on or turn off self-service site creation (SharePoint Server 2010)

With SharePoint auditing features you can gather logs and get reports on what the users have been doing on the site collection:

This is a little bit unrelated to security, but as a note, SharePoint has also a two level recycle bin:

See also: Plan to protect content by using recycle bins and versioning (SharePoint Server 2010)

What Was Not Covered in This Article

There is also Windows Rights Managements Services integration in SharePoint… let’s discuss about that in a separate article, or give us a link to some article that discusses SharePoint/RMS integration! We could also talk a little bit about SharePoint managed accounts, but those are more of a infrastructure side. And what about security settings that some of SharePoint services contain? As you can see, SharePoint is a very flexible platform in these kind of things, but this flexibility comes with a price. That price is complexity. Hopefully this article clears some of that.

What we also didn’t discuss that are somewhat related to security are for example:

Whether to use AD Groups or SharePoint Groups as a Main Mechanism to Grant Rights?

Well, Everything starts from Active Directory. If Active Directory is a mess, it should be fixed before designing how to manage rights in SharePoint. If Active Directory is well maintained it also benefits the other applications that integrate to AD (for example normal file sharing and NTFS permissions, or systems like Microsoft CRM).

Use SharePoint groups sparingly. Try to utilize the predefined SharePoint groups that are created in SharePoint sites, if possible. Think twice before defining new Web Application policies or Site Collection Permission Levels, and create new ones only if there isn’t better way around it.

Final Words

Please give us comments and feedback! We will probably come back and update this article in the future.

Popularity: 32% [?]

459 comments to “SharePoint Security and Permission System Overview”

  1. Good day, Cool submit Casino Directory, Best Casino Directory,. There exists a difficulty together with your web page throughout website internet explorer, would likely examine this particular? Web browser however may be the industry chief in addition to a large portion of some others may neglect your fantastic producing for that reason difficulty.

  2. plac zabaw says:

    Zasłużony pozytyw, idealny partner do interesów Place zabaw

  3. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Very helpful information particularly the last part :) I care
    for such info much. I was looking for this certain information for
    a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  4. - Bol inox amovible d une contenance de 4 litres.

  5. The oft-cited suggestion of keeping one’s mind busy in retirement with mental puzzles and the reading of
    more books, well-meaning though it is, apparently isn’t cutting
    it. She gave me the last hug I would ever get, it was strong and
    wonderful. This can create a great deal of stress for your loved one and it may even make it more difficult for you to care for that person because they cannot tell you what
    they need.

  6. b says:

    If you want to improve уour ҝnow-ɦow onlу қeep visiting this site
    ɑnd ƅe updated with the newest informɑtion posted ɦere.

  7. This Clash of Clans hack is free for you to use and works on the
    web – you should not install any sketchy pc software!

  8. Merle says:

    Los Angeles’s high-octane offense happens to be the fastest-paced inside NBA the final five games.

  9. whoah this blog is magnificent i love reading your posts.
    Keep up the great work! You understand, lots age of conan unchained
    individuals are looking around for this info,
    you could help them greatly.

  10. So how do we teach them the skills they need to manage their money well when times are tough.
    But what does a mechanic have that makes him fix the engine and not
    us. Go with the story and encourage them to transform the it by adding something new.

  11. How can this be of benefit to you if you are the construction manager or project manager on a building site.
    These lines clearly imply sadness even without the use of
    words like “sorrow, ” “sad” and “grief. Even if there is no real posted discount, the trucks are
    selling for an estimated appraised value which is much lower than buying the same machine brand new.

  12. Garland says:

    To start, a cordless vacuum is a vacuum that employs a battery pack rather than a
    cord. What you want when it comes to lightweight vacuum cleaners is one that is large enough to cover the area that you
    want to clean quickly and easily. Many people suffer from allergic conditions, with asthma being
    one of them.

  13. Siisti blogi sulla! En tavallisesti paljoa blogaajia seuraa,mutta nyt pistin osoitteen muistiin – oli sen verran kiinnostavaa tekstiä.
    Muista pitää lippu korkealla tulevaisuudessakin!

  14. Carol says:

    Because of this capability, this equipment is mainly used in drainage cleaning where solids have already mixed in with the fluids.
    * Edwin Hubbel Chapin once said, “Every action of our lives touches on. While both parents were charged, one of the charges that the boy’s mother is facing is more serious than what the boy’s father is facing, according to WUSA-9 on April 3.

  15. Karin says:

    The entire effect of these rugs to a room should be considered when purchasing one.
    Their payloads are spread out over the entire dump body in order to maintain the weight requirements of the federal bridge laws.
    While both parents were charged, one of the charges
    that the boy’s mother is facing is more serious than what the boy’s father is facing, according to WUSA-9 on April 3.

  16. Tabitha says:

    As a homeowner, you will have maintenance and other related costs to keep your drain system running efficiently.
    In other words, structures would be designed or modified to collect the natural rainfall that falls onto the
    property, purify it and then store it in cisterns until
    the water is needed by the occupants of the building.

    It is not known what prompted officials to drain that specific septic tank looking for Noah’s body.

  17. Rickie says:

    The entire effect of these rugs to a room should be
    considered when purchasing one. Reed beds present
    sludge dewatering by plant consumption, evapotranspiration, and drainage.
    These microbes will settle in the tank and digest the waste
    in the tank.

  18. There is no need to purchase bottled water, which is expensive; you can store your own fresh drinking water
    for purposes of drinking in vertical storage tanks.

    This tool is a long, hollow, transparent piece of plastic branded with one-foot accretion. Today there
    are various insulation materials that are used directly over the exterior of the tire before
    the finish is applied.

  19. Klaudia says:

    Many consumers are also under the impression that supplements are inherently ‘natural’ and safe, but the
    lack of regulation surrounding the testing, manufacturing, and labeling of supplements can lead to potentially harmful products.
    Good cholesterol or HDL helps your body rid itself of dietary cholesterol.
    As after the tiring workouts session the body of bodybuilder is malnourished then the
    requirements of post workout supplements increases.

  20. Donny says:

    Brain O Brain capsules tackle stress and produce high level of energy,
     the herbs used in the preparation of these capsules contain iron in high amount which enhances the capacity oxygen carrying of the blood by increasing the number of red blood cells.
    Its member companies manufacture popular
    national brands as well as the store brands marketed
    by major supermarkets, drug stores and discount chains.
    Do a simple search on Google or Amazon for a keyword like “dog supplements” and instantly you
    will get hundreds of thousands of results.

  21. Sammy says:

    There are far too many out there to just search through each day.
    Not only does it help to increase size and strength, it also
    contributes tremendously to increasing lean muscle mass and gain.
    ‘Were the supplements tested independently for purity and strength.

  22. Rose says:

    Many consumers are also under the impression that supplements are inherently ‘natural’ and safe, but the lack of regulation surrounding the testing, manufacturing, and
    labeling of supplements can lead to potentially harmful products.
    In fact the height of a teenager increases dramatically.

    Research strongly suggests that people with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in their blood experience positive brain qualities such as
    fewer signs of blood flow obstructions and fewer episodes of Dementia.

  23. Jeffrey says:

    Most of those supplements work by stopping the cause
    of baldness. Good cholesterol or HDL helps your body rid
    itself of dietary cholesterol. Research strongly
    suggests that people with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in their blood experience positive
    brain qualities such as fewer signs of blood flow obstructions
    and fewer episodes of Dementia.

  24. Youu really make it seem really easy with your preentation but I fiind this matter to bee really one thing which I think I might by no means understand.

    It sort of feels too complex and very broad for me. I’m having a look ahead in your subsequent put up, I will
    attempt to get the dangle of it!

  25. Maxwell says:

    Many consumers are also under the impression that supplements are inherently ‘natural’ and safe, but the lack
    of regulation surrounding the testing, manufacturing,
    and labeling of supplements can lead to potentially harmful products.
    Not only does it help to increase size and strength, it also
    contributes tremendously to increasing lean muscle mass and gain. There
    are only 2 St Johns wort products that I know of, that have
    had been properly researched and the Flordis Remotiv is one of those.

  26. Allerdings muss hierbei unbedingt beachtet werden, inwieweit diese Möglichkeit
    seitens des Anbieters der KFZ Versicherung mit Einschränkungen belegt

  27. Jetta says:

    As you keep implementing content marketing strategies, which is actually sharing quality information, then your visitors will keep on coming back
    for more. Not only do you want lots of people to visit
    your website but you also want your visitors to stay on your site and see
    if the deal is worthwhile by simply checking out your site.
    However, there are certain things which can assist you differentiate which one is best and which
    is not.

  28. Stephen says:

    In just a few days, you can have your shop up and running with Zen Cart.

    This shows you how user friendly these templates are.
    Once each item on the list of services is defined, select all of the individual items for that list,
    click the Home tab on the ribbon and choose Bullets again to turn the bulleted list formatting back on for that block of text as
    shown below:.

  29. Sal says:

    Most of the card dealers sell their cards online through websites that specialize in international calling cards.
    If these eight steps seem overwhelming, welcome to the club.
    A money making attitude plus a money making opportunity almost always result in a
    money making reality.

  30. It’s really a cool and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that
    you simply shared this useful info with us. Please stay us up to
    date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  31. Great psychic article! This is the type of info that are supposed to be shared across the
    net. Thank you =)

  32. Many vintage cycling clothing items have reappeared after disappearing for several years.
    The solid motor has been joined in addition to the 4 tempo kits box consequent for the reason that to enhance the motorbike.
    You cannot need to keep young kids in your house given it would never
    certainly be a comprehensive binding occasion.

  33. Genia says:

    When you bike France you create the opportunity to travel on your own or be part
    of other guests to partake in a bicycle tour. Many of the gloves available have
    cushioning on the palms. As a result then found out they like saving
    so much money they have been able to take vacations and went another two years without a second vehicle.

  34. Siemens is certainly reserving them because of their top dealers solely initially,
    but accessibility should pick up in a few months because the item becomes more broadly distributed.
    After the trumpet-like hearing aids, the analog electronic kinds were launched.
    The fact that I had moderate to severe hearing loss was
    no surprise when audiologist Dr.

  35. Bernard says:

    You decide on what you want and you become crystal clear about your
    desire. If you feel good and see possibility instead of limitation, you are more likely to notice opportunities when they present themselves.
    For a human person, you might think that it will take long for
    you to receive a car because it is so expensive.

  36. Audry says:

    Merely put, the quicker a brand new-hire ramps to Quota the better for both parties; the brand new-hire and
    the gross most sales video games; Audry, supervisor.

  37. I believe this is one of the most vital info for me.

    And i am glad studying your article. But should remark
    on some normal things, The site taste is ideal, the articles is actually
    great : D. Excellent task, cheers

  38. Since these cards arᥱ printed aat home, іt turns оut tߋ bᥱ much more affordable.
    Ꭺѕ tthe ⅼine shortens, уοur
    senses heighten аѕ yοu taake a lߋоk through thᥱ оpen doors too ѕee үօur fellow bar ɑnd nightclub enthusiasts drinking, dancing and һaving
    а gkod time. Τhese portable bars aге usually mad from wood ⲟr bamboo.

    Feel free tⲟ surf tο mʏ ɦomepage:
    fuel pressure regulator audi a4 b5

  39. Karen Smith says:

    Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.

  40. Incredibly individual friendly website. Enormous information available on couple of clicks.|

  41. The advice is rather exciting

  42. I enjoy the information on your web site. Regards!.

  43. Thanks pertaining to offering these sort of superb content material

  44. scam says:

    Have you ever considered publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog based on the same topics you
    discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know
    my subscribers would appreciate your work. If
    you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e mail.

  45. Press releases should be optimized in much the same way that search engine optimization specialists optimize ordinary web
    pages to achieve higher rankings. Brainwave entrainment is
    one of the most popular forms of mind control on the market today, and the
    best thing about this is that you can do this on your
    own at any time of the day. New research has unveiled a
    discovery of a special protein which actually dictates the formation and growth of new hair follicles, specifically,
    in the human body.

  46. CSGO says:

    I delight in the data on your internet site. Cheers!.

  47. Great internet site! It looks really professional! Keep up the great work!

  48. csgo skins says:

    Many thanks, this website is extremely handy

  49. Corey L says:

    I’m looking to create or find a SharePoint 2010 Web App that I can put on a SharePoint page. I want to use it to show who has what permission to that page and as a way to give new people permission to that page. Please help


  50. Appreciation to my father who shared with me on the topic of
    this weblog, this blog is actually amazing.

Leave a Reply