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I created a workflow for confidential documents to be approved in SharePoint Online 2013. However once the document is submitted to the document library, the submitter must have access to ONLY their items and the group of approvers (approx 40 persons) must all have access as well.

Each year, it is expected that 2000 documents will be submitted. The problem is long term. i.e is breaking inheritance on the individual documents would eventually cause a performance problem ? Unlike SP 2010, SP 2013 has increased the list scope to 50,000 from 5000 , however I am still not 100% sure, that breaking inheritance is the best way forward.

A less secure way of having users see their documents, was to remove the manage personal views permission and perform audience filtering on this list web part. ( don't like this idea ). Is there any other solution that can effectively make this work ?

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Are you limited to a single document library? Depending on what kind of content you are storing, is there any way to split them up and have multiple libraries? Are the 2000 documents that are submitted each year all of the same type of document that they cannot be separated? If you can split any of the documents up into active and archived documents, then maybe you can have another library as an archive in which documents are moved there after a set period of time. Are the 40 approvers in a SharePoint group? Assigning the permissions to the group on the list item will make things easier.

  • Correct, same content type & 40 approvers are in a group. The archiving sounds better, a 2 year schedule would be reasonable (~4K items) ? – Jameel Jun 20 '16 at 12:40
  • A 2-year schedule does sound reasonable for archiving documents from the main library. A retention policy is a good way to make that work unless you wanted to use another workflow or something else. – spguy Jun 20 '16 at 13:50
  • Ok, last question, moving the document would not preserve the unique item permission ? so I guess a business rule would be after 2 years, the submitter would no longer have access but only the group of approvers via permissions on the archive document library itself. – Jameel Jun 20 '16 at 17:01
  • Right, I'm pretty sure that the list item permissions are not preserved. In any case, the archive document library should be restricted to only the approvers anyway and anyone else who should be able to access the archive. If this answers your question, don't forget to mark the answer. – spguy Jun 20 '16 at 17:34
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As @spguy mentioned, having separate document libraries can also help. However, if that is not an option, you can consider using folders to limit the fine grained permissions.

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