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Different Admin Roles in Office 365 and When to Use Them

Published By Nilesh Kumar
Debasish Pramanik
Approved By Debasish Pramanik
Published On October 13th, 2023
Reading Time 8 Minutes Reading
Category Office 365

Office 365 covers a robust set of tools and functionality. However, none of those features matter if we lack a proper administrative feature to manage and maintain them. Furthermore, Office 365 has one of the most advanced and different admin Roles in Office 365. These multiple roles and responsibilities are difficult to understand even for IT veterans. Therefore. here we have an expertly crafted guide that covers all the major admin roles. Let’s start with the overview of the structure as a whole. 

Overview of the Different Admin Roles in Office 365 

User Admin: A User Admin assists a new employee in setting up their user account and permissions.

Teams Administrator: A Teams Administrator troubleshoots video conferencing issues, ensuring a smooth virtual meeting.

SharePoint Admin: A SharePoint Admin configures document libraries and access controls for a collaborative project.

Service Support Admin: A Service Support Admin resolves a critical network outage, minimizing downtime.

Search Admin: A Search Admin optimizes search results on an e-commerce site for improved user experience.

Power Platform Admin: A Power Platform Admin automates data processing for sales reports using custom apps.

Password Admin: A Password Admin assists an executive in regaining access to sensitive financial documents.

Office Apps Admin: An Office Apps Admin updates software and deploys new features to improve office productivity.

License Admin: A License Admin reallocates unused software licenses, reducing unnecessary expenses.

Helpdesk Admin: A Helpdesk Admin guides an employee through troubleshooting a software installation issue.

Groups Admin: A Groups Admin creates and manages project-specific collaboration groups for efficient teamwork.

Global Admin: A Global Admin reviews and approves access requests to sensitive company data.

Fabric Admin: A Fabric Admin monitors server performance to ensure seamless within  Microsoft Fabric and Power BI.

Exchange Admin: An Exchange Admin restores a deleted email folder for a department head.

Billing Admin: A Billing Admin audits cloud service usage to optimize costs and eliminate unnecessary expenses.

Now let’s discuss why such separation is necessary.

Reasons for Separate Admin Roles in Office 365 

Reasons for role separation can be highlighted via the answer to these user queries.

“What’s the rationale behind having different admin roles in Office 365?”

  • Distinct admin roles help in creating specialized users that respond better to queries.

“How do Global Admins in Office 365 contribute to streamlined management?”

  • Global administrators monitor and control all the management features and data across Microsoft online services to ensure a smooth workflow for all other users.

“Is it viable for a single global admin role to handle the entire spectrum of Office 365 tasks?”

  • Though it’s possible, it’s not advisable due to the excessive workload on a single individual and security risk of organization-wide lockout.

“In what ways do admin roles play a role in ensuring Office 365 compliance?”

  • Many industries have strict regulatory policies regarding passwords, user data retention, etc. So if the tasks are divided, it ensures that there is no oversight due to excessive workload. Which in turn makes the organization O365 compliant.

“Can one administrator simultaneously hold multiple roles in Office 365?”

  • Yes, individuals within the organization can have multiple roles as long as they do not interfere with other work-related parameters.

Also Read: Procedure for Exporting Office 365 Mailbox to PST using eDiscovery Step Wise

Now that most of the common user queries are answered, let’s get to the in-depth discussion on the key admin roles of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

Detailed Description of Different Administrative Roles in Office 365

Global administrators are the only ones who can 

  • Reset all passwords in bulk
  • Lock or unlock other global admins.
  • Roll out organization-wide policy changes.
  • Add/remove domains 

User admins are the workhorse of Office 365. This is because their responsibilities cover almost all basic tasks. Which include adding users, assigning licenses, creating views, and overseeing password policies, to name a few. User admins perform these tasks for non-admin roles. Moreover, some of their additional responsibility also includes resetting FIDO keys, enforcing signouts, etc.

User admin tasks can be divided into: 

  • The Helpdesk Admin’s main responsibility here is to deal with user issues like password resetting, forced signouts, service request management, etc. The helpdesk admin cannot change the privileges or permissions of other admins. 
  • License administrators can apply both user, group-level product licenses and remove them too. Therefore, give this role to the person who has a deep understanding of the license issue/ revoking mechanism of Office 365.
  • Office Apps Admin is the one who updates the What’s New content to reflect all changes that come to the Microsoft 365 apps. They simplify complex technical knowledge in easy-to-understand language. Moreover, they also create and manage the cloud policy for M365.    
  • Password admins are a subset of user admins. A separate password admin role should only be created if the user admin already has a bunch of other responsibilities.
    The power platform admin role is another designated role solely created to manage and maintain all power programs like Power Automate, Power BI, etc.
  • Search Admin specializes in enhancing the search results. They manage what contents pop up when a user searches for a specific query. Individuals with the search admin directly work with the Microsoft search configuration, which also covers some content management tasks as well. 

Some Other Roles and Their Responsibilities

User Experience Success Manager: Users with this role are responsible for finding out the Experience Insights as well as the Adoption Score of products. Moreover, they also have access to Usage Summary reports.

Reports reader: As the name suggests, with this role, individuals gain reading privileges to check data on resource usage. Moreover, they can also log into the admin center and view the activity statistics reports on a daily basis.

Organizational Message Writer: This role communicates with end users directly with the help of Microsoft-product-surfaces. Furthermore, it also includes preparing and publishing organizational messages through the official channels. All message regulation and review responsibilities also come under this role.

Message Center Reader: These users are entrusted with the task of monitoring the Message Center. Furthermore, the M365 admin center emails them a digest that contains the weekly summary of all the latest posts and updates in the Message Center. These messages can then be shared with other members of the group. Beyond their responsibilities within the Message Center, the users with the “Message Center Reader” role also have read-only access to Azure Active Directory (AD) services.

Message Center Privacy Reader: Like the Message Center Reader, this role is also assigned by the global admin. Moreover, all users who are allocated this role within the organization have direct oversight of the notifications that arise out of the message center. The key difference between the privacy-focused reader role and the regular one is that private hidden messages are also visible to the former.

Global reader: Users with this permission have unrestricted access to view and check all policies and permissions. They can look into Mail Enabled Security Groups, Distribution Groups, and Security Groups along with all other groups belonging to M365. However, they can’t edit or change the preexisting settings themselves. 

Best Practices for Role Management within the Office 365 Ecosystem

Some of the expert recommendations to make the most of your Microsoft 365 services are as follows.

Recommendations regarding the Global Admin Role:

  • Keep at least two global admins (this number can vary according to organization size).
  • One of the global administrators must have their MFA disabled to act as a failsafe in case the MFA stops working.
  • At least one admin must have the Privileged Authentication Permission to reset the passwords of other global admins.

Recommendations regarding the Rest of the Roles:

  • Different admin roles in Office 365 should be assigned according to the individual’s responsibility. For example, a user whose job is to schedule meetings on a Teams channel can complete all their tasks with Team Administrator privilege. Therefore, assigning them a global admin role is overkill and increases the risk of security breaches.
  • Therefore, to avoid unnecessary complications, the number of roles should be kept to a minimum, and the rule of least permissive should be followed.
  • Apart from the break glass global admin, all other roles must have MFA enabled on their account. This is to reduce the organization’s vulnerability against employee-generated errors.
  • Review permissions should be regularly and update them whenever there are structural changes within the organization. These changes must also take into account external regulatory factors.
  • Users should have adequate training that matches the responsibilities of their role. 
  • Split Admin roles in Office 365 for more efficient workload management. However, this separation must not hinder the operations of other users.


In this discussion, we covered the different admin roles in Office 365 along with their responsibilities. Here we saw why there are so many separate admin roles and the scenarios in which to use them. Apart from the roles themselves, users were also provided with expert tips to make the best use of each role. Moreover, the only way to utilize such an excellent facility is to migrate to Office 365 via a professional method.


By Nilesh Kumar

As a Chief Technical Writer, I know the technical issues faced by home and professional users. So, I decided to share all my knowledge via this blog. I love to help you with challenges while dealing with technical jargon.