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we are looking into the possibility of outsouring the administration of our farm. Because of the nature of sensitive data inside some of the site collection, we want to prevent data leakage. We want the administrators to be able to do their job, but not touch the actual data.

A couple of things that come to mind: - With access to central administration you could add your own account as site collection administrator or give it Full Read permission on a web application granting permissions that way. - We use DocAve for back-up restore, the administrator should be able to manage that. But it should not be possible to restore data somewhere the admin has permissions to read it. Or copy the entire back-up store of course. - Where auditing is enabled; an admin would have the possibility to disable the auditing, look into the data unnoticed and then enable auditing again. Offending logs can be deleted.

I'm not looking for solutions for the above things. I'm looking for general experience with these kinds of things and food for thought on how to solve / prevent any issues. We either want to prevent anything from happening, or at least have an indication that something happened if it did.

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    Even if possible I don't think it's a good idea. This is where security checks come into place against employees before hiring them. Sep 13, 2013 at 10:19
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    Handing someone the keys to the house means they can look at everything inside. By virtue of SharePoint's permission model you can't outsource all administration to someone but have them not be able to access content. You need an administrator you can trust.
    – shufler
    Sep 13, 2013 at 21:10
  • Ok, clear enough. I agree with you guys to be clear on that, but management thinks this should be possible (or at least wants validation that it isn't).
    – Jasper
    Sep 20, 2013 at 11:31

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I have had to deal with several access governance scenarios similar to what you mention above. Long story short, it's difficult to prevent them from being able to access data as a farm admin, but you can implement checks and event logging that would keep them accountable. For instance, event receivers which fire off an email when security group membership changes.

As for physical files on the server they need to restore, we required they submit a request when they needed access to that data. Furthermore we encrypted the database with TDE to make it useless if stolen (warning only do this if you know what you are doing. )

Hope this helps!

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