SharePoint Permissions | Groups vs. Levels

by | MS SharePoint

In this blog, we’ll discuss SharePoint Permissions. We’ll explain why they are important and why you should utilize them. Along with it, we’ll talk about the difference between Permissions and Authentication. Moreover, we’ll discuss Groups and Levels and why learning the difference between the two is a critical factor when setting up Permissions on your SharePoint site.

SharePoint Permissions is a fundamental feature of a SharePoint site. It keeps the site more organized and manageable. Also, it’ll provide security throughout the entire site.

SharePoint Permissions

Permissions Vs Authentication

SharePoint Permissions

Permissions and Authentication are two similar things but it can provide you benefits for each. They’ll give your site security.

When you set up a SharePoint page permission, you are allowing a certain person or persons from your organization to access a page. They’ll be able to make some modifications, add, or delete a file.

On the other hand, Authentication provides additional security as the user will have to prove who he/she really is. Aside from inputting passwords when a user logs in, they will need to prove themselves that they are what they say they are.

When you log in to your SharePoint Site, Authentication is done through Microsoft 365. Keep in mind that the authentication is done outside of SharePoint authentication. This is because the SharePoint site is the same as the authentication for Outlook, Microsoft 365, or anything Microsoft-related.

To put it simply, Authentication proves you are who you say you are, while Permissions is based on who you are.

The Importance Of SharePoint Permissions

SharePoint Permissions provide benefits to your organization. If you don’t want other people from your organization accessing a list or data, or even the page itself, Permissions will resolve it for you.

The main advantage that Permissions can give your organization is that you’ll be able to allow who in your group can access which page and file.

For example, you want Person A to access the page. This person can add and modify the data in the page. And if other people try to access the page, they wouldn’t be able to. However, once they are authenticated that they are Person A, they can access and control the page.

But the best thing about setting the Permissions throughout your SharePoint site is the balance.

SharePoint Permissions

As mentioned above, you can set a person in your organization to have control over a page while the others will have the other pages. You can also set a group on a page, and have individual settings for everyone.

For example, you can give Person A settings 1, 5, 10, and 12, while Person B has settings 2, 6, 8. Person C has settings 11, 12, 13, 14, and the other members of the organization. This means Person A cannot access a document Person C has. The same thing goes for Person B to Person C.

You can also give all the users Permissions. This will allow them to have full access to the entire site. They could add, edit, delete, and a lot more. However, we wouldn’t recommend this. Since they have full access, they could accidentally delete a file and clear the Recycle bin.

Groups Vs Levels: A SharePoint Permissions Overview

SharePoint Permissions is composed of two main factors: Groups and Levels. In this part of the blog, we’ll explain their differences, and why they are important.

Groups (sometimes called Teams) and Levels have categories.

Groups Categories

  • Owners. They are the ones who own the site and have full control. This is basically the owner, and in most cases, their right-hand man or someone they fully trust.
  • Members. They are directly relevant to the SharePoint site.
  • Visitors. These are all the people in your organization. They might not be directly relevant to the SharePoint site.

However, you have to keep in mind that you can also add other groups. If you have a large organization, you can name them depending on their office or location. Other examples are “Senior Management”, “Tenured”, “Cisco Members” and a lot more.

Level Categories

  • Full Control. This is where people in the group have full access. Mainly, the Owners group has this level.
  • Design. Groups can add a page and design it. Also, they can add new pages, edit table constructs, edit table columns,and change column formatting
  • Edit. This has a lower level than Design because users in this level can’t add pages or data on the SharePoint site.
  • Contribute. Groups in this level can add items to the list, edit their structure, or add comments. They won’t be able to add new pages.
  • Read. This is the lowest default level. They can only read data and can’t modify any items.

Similar to Groups, you can also add other levels. For example, you can make a level called “Approval and it will only have permissions to approve things, not to edit things only to approve them. You can have another permission level called read tables, which only allows users to read tables on your site and nothing else.

The Importance Of Groups And Levels For SharePoint Permissions

The main benefit of Groups and Levels is the alignment of Permissions. You can set who in your organization will be in the Owners group and other groups to their corresponding levels.

But the best part of it is that you can add new Groups and Levels aside from the default. With this, you can easily decide who has specific permissions as you can mix and match the levels. Plus, you can specify what they can do.

For example, we have a new group, and we’ll call it Group X. Then, let’s make other levels of permissions, and we’ll call it Level 1 and Level 2. Groups on Level 1 can edit a page, while groups on Level 2 can change the column heading of a table. And if we align Group X to both Level 1 and Level 2, they’ll have permissions on both.

Keep in mind that if a user is part of multiple groups, they’ll inherit both of their permissions. For example, a user can be part of the Visitor group and Group X. That means that the user will have the Read level and at the same time, the Level 1 and Level 2

Also, you can mix and match the Permissions on Levels for full customization.


To sum everything up, you’ve learned what SharePoint Permissions is all about, and why they are very important. You also learned the difference between Groups and Levels along with their categories.

Utilizing Permissions on your SharePoint is highly recommended because it provides security. Also, it makes the organization more systematized as everyone can have their own Permissions.

I hope that this was helpful. If you’d like to know more about this topic and other related content, you can certainly check out the list of relevant links below. 

All the best,


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