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We definitely want members of the subsite to access the parent site, but not necessarily the other way round. Is this easy to do?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes it is possible, the sub-site has its own Permissions and you can setup its unique permissions so that the users you want have access to sub-site [not all of them]

You simply need to play with Site Settings -> Permissions when in sub-site!

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Yes, you have to break role inherticance in subsites

with powershell here:

with the GUI I guess its possible as well.

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