Data Ownership within Microsoft 365. Why it doesn’t add up.

In some areas, Microsoft 365 supports the concept of data ownership. Microsoft Teams have owners. O365 Groups have owners. Managing the owners of these types of resources is supported throughout.

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However, from there things get a bit confusing. Site Collections have Administrators. SharePoint sites have ‘owners’ groups, but they could be renamed or deleted. O365 Groups have owners and ‘owners’ groups, but they’re different things. Subsites may have an ‘owners’ group, unless they inherit permissions. Libraries and folders have no owners at all. It’s messy.

Ownership and Full Control Permissions: Not the Same Thing!

Also, most of these concepts of ‘owner’ are usually just used for granting Full Control permissions to things, not actually assigning responsibility from a governance perspective. The separate concepts of ‘full control permissions’ and governance ownership tend to get blurred together.

It is important to recognise that ‘ownership’ is a governance concept, not a permissions one. Ownership tells us who is responsible for the business data, who has oversight, and who do tasks such as reviews or approvals get assigned to.

Overlaying Data Ownership with Torsion

Torsion adds a layer of data ownership functionality on top of Microsoft 365. Torsion fills the functionality gaps around data ownership at the various levels of Microsoft 365, makes data ownership work consistently across the board, and makes it simple to manage and understand.

Users and data owners can all see clearly exactly who is responsible for any file, folder, library, site or Team. Administrators and auditors can easily search, run reports and explore data ownership across the information estate.

And critically, Torsion turns ‘data owner’ into more than a meaningless title and permissions assignment. With Torsion, data ownership is about business users actually taking governance responsibility for data. Data owners are assigned tasks, exercise oversight, and make decisions.

Data owners are the only people who really understand the data, and are most qualified to make decisions about who should have access to it. That’s why we believe data ownership is the most important thing in Data Access Governance. Properly controlling ‘who has access to what’ begins with understanding ‘who owns what’.