Your IT department is responsible for the security of the various IT platforms and solutions that your organisation uses every day. This, on the surface, is logical, as your IT team are experts with these platforms and, in many cases, they understand the mechanics and internal infrastructure: how they are coded, built, customised, etc. It therefore intuitively makes sense that they should be fully in charge of access permissions, and other areas related to governance and document management best practice.
However, as organisations become more digitally-focused, the lines between who should be in control of the IT solutions that business users work with every day is becoming more and more blurred. Traditionally, your IT team would have been fully responsible for the permissions of your SharePoint platform, i.e. who has access to what. However, the more that IT solutions weave themselves into the fabric of the business, their management becomes more of a shared responsibility too.
Business users, your IT department and permissions governance
Since business users are using IT solutions more, it is they who should have the ultimate responsibility over where their work is stored and who has access to it. They, in other words, should be responsible for the governance of the work they are part of. This is the idea of decentralised access permissions management. Essentially, the different departments in your business (Finance, HR, Sales, etc.) have control over who has access to their content in SharePoint, rather than a central IT department mandating access to your SharePoint environment.
This is particularly true in the case of SharePoint permissions and permissions governance. Who should know better regarding access control and permissions than the department that uses the data itself?
What are SharePoint permissions?
SharePoint provides a range of permissions to different users and groups. Permissions simply control how an individual can access one part of SharePoint. Permissions impinge on Sites, Lists and Items.
The permissions levels in SharePoint (by default) include:
- Full Control
- Limited Access
- View Only
- Manage Hierarchy
- Restricted Read
‘Permissions’ means what you would expect and the levels above are fairly clear. You can read more here for a full break-down.
Remember: SharePoint is a hierarchy system; it goes:
Site collection–>Site–>Child Site–>List/Library–>Item
Permissions therefore basically means whether you have permission to view the parent site above the site you’re in or not. Every time a site is created, say, ‘North American Contacts’, permissions are assigned to control who can view the site. Within that site, you might also have a subsite, like, ‘New York Contacts’. The permissions for this subsite are automatically inherited from the parent site (i.e. ‘North American Contacts’). What’s important is to look at permissions from the perspective of an IT department vs. Ordinary business user.
The IT department in most organisations will have overall control of your SharePoint permissions. And while they are experts in their field, do they know the ins, outs and nuances of your HR department and who within that team needs access to specific files?
Decentralised access permissions management
There are several benefits of decentralising access permissions management:
Get work done faster
If you don’t have to go to central control to request permission access to a site library or list; if you can get access from much closer to home, or you already have access (because your team leader—also the Site Collection Admin or Site Owner—realised you would probably need access to the site) then you will be able to finish that task faster. This means other people can get on with their related tasks and you can move on to the next item on your to-do list.
Reduced frustration – higher employee engagement
There’s nothing worse than being treated like you are not trusted in your job, or having your responsibility restricted like a child. By having to make a request of your IT team to get access to something you already feel like you should already have access to can be incredibly frustrating. It is this kind of situation that leads to lack of employee engagement, which can destroy productivity and lead to a high employee turnover and other costly outcomes. Giving your teams an easier way to gain access or by giving the responsibility to those who know who needs access in the first place will save your organisation a lot of grief.
Your IT team is free for work of higher value
Imagine the workload that is lifted from your IT department if they no longer have to tend to access permissions requests. If your business teams are in charge of their own SharePoint Site access, then your IT team can put their energy into tasks of much higher value. Boosting their engagement, raising the quality of their work, and ultimately making your business a more effective organisation. Everyone’s a winner.
DeliverPoint caters for both IT and business users
In the past, giving your ordinary users the responsibility over SharePoint Permissions might have been difficult if you consider that the ordinary user does not automatically have the knowledge of SharePoint permissions management. DeliverPoint is a tool that gives ordinary business users full control over the management and reporting of their SharePoint permissions in a way that is easy to learn and use quickly.
The solution provides SharePoint Administrators and Site Owners with a fine-grained level of permissions management needed to make sure their teams always have the right access levels to get their work done.
For more information about how DeliverPoint can enable a better way to manage permissions in your company, contact us today.