Technical Information for SNAs

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Permissions and Sharing

SharePoint Online permissions can be as simple or as complicated as you like. SharePoint Online still has the settings you may have used in SharePoint on-premise, but in addition it has some new features and service-wide integration that can offer more potential for access control and sharing.

By default, in SharePoint Online the following permissions groups are available:

  • Site Owners: full control permissions - responsible for the structure, usage and permissions within the site; for managing access and permissions, site-level navigation (web parts), all structures (libraries, folders and document sets) and for all content held in the SPO site
  • Site Members: edit permissions - create content, can create and edit documents etc. They have a lower level of permissions, similar to being a "Member" in Microsoft Teams
  • Site Visitors: read permissions - can only browse, read and download content (if permitted). They do not have permissions to create or edit, just to read

When you need more granularity SharePoint Online allows Site Administrators and Site Owners to create additional SharePoint groups in your site and additional custom permission levels to assign to those groups. This allows the fine-tuning of permissions to suit your access control requirements.

More information about sharing permissions can be found on the Microsoft support website

External users will no longer require a temporary separate external account or a virtual card to access the service. Instead they can now collaborate or read content using their own accounts in line with OneDrive and MS Teams.

More information about external sharing can be found on this Microsoft support page

Please refer to this Quick Reference Guide for more information about Permissions and Sharing in SharePoint Online

Power Automate

What is Power Automate?

Microsoft’s Power Automate (previously known as Flow) is a service that helps you create automated workflows in SharePoint and other Nexus services that can enable you to simplify business processes and manage them more effectively. It replaces Nintex Workflow, a third-party product that is additionally charged for, which was used in SharePoint on-premise and is no longer available in SharePoint Online.

Some examples of things that you can use Power Automate for:

  • Automating repetitive business processes
  • Sending reminders on tasks
  • Moving business data between systems
  • Collecting and storing data from forms
  • PDF conversion of files in SharePoint Online libraries
  • Microsoft Form duplication checking

What to know more?

There is a lot of information online about Power Automate and many examples of flows. Here are a few introductory links to get you started:

Getting started with Power Automate

Using Power Automate to connect with SharePoint  (Requires a Power Automate license before accessing)

What is Microsoft Flow? [External blog, accessed April 2023]

5 reasons why you need to embrace Microsoft Flow  [External blog, accessed April 2023]

How to Connect a Form to a SharePoint List using Microsoft Flow in 3 Steps [External blog, accessed April 2023]

We have also written a Quick Reference Guide about using Power Automate with SharePoint Online

Retention and Compliance

For most organisations, including the University, the volume and complexity of their data is increasing daily. Effectively managing this information is important because we need to:

  • Comply proactively with industry regulations and internal policies that require you to retain content for a minimum period of time
  • Reduce your risk in the event of litigation or a security breach by permanently deleting old content that you’re no longer required to keep
  • Help the University to share knowledge effectively by ensuring that our users work only with content that is current and relevant to them

Update, April 2023

There are currently several issues around compliance and retention; the University does not have a single source of unified ownership or guidance, and the tools provided by the current SharePoint Online licence are limited and do not include the event-based triggers that many retention schedules use.

To date, retention and compliance labels and tools are not available in SharePoint Online. Once a way forward is agreed, retention tools will be implemented retrospectively for existing sites, and made available to new sites where required. 

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