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SharePoint Admin Center: How to manage SharePoint sites

What is the SharePoint Admin Center? It is the web interface that provides SharePoint Online administrators with all the tools to centrally manage sites, content, and data security. In this article, we will look in detail at the features offered by the SharePoint Admin Center along with our tips for making the best use of them.

We will also introduce you to Microsoft 365 Archive Manager, the solution developed in intranet.ai to manage SharePoint (and also OneDrive) storage space through intelligent analysis of corporate archives and the elimination of less useful content. So that you never exceed storage limits in SharePoint Online and avoid the need to purchase additional storage.

SharePoint Admin Center: What is it and what is it for?

SharePoint Online is Microsoft 365's most popular and widely used platform for creating modern sites capable of supporting the work of business teams (in the case of collaboration sites) and simplifying internal communication. The latter is the case for communication sites, such as the intranet, with features for managing content, from documents to company news.

To function at its best, ensuring the best user experience and privacy of shared data, SharePoint provides a dedicated web interface where only Admin users can access all the configurations needed to manage corporate sites.

This is the SharePoint Admin Center, the hub for managing SharePoint Online in Microsoft 365.

This centralized interface then provides the tools to:

  • Create new sites in your SharePoint Online instance
  • Manage access to content and information stored in SharePoint
  • Oversee the operation of active SharePoint sites, including occupied space
  • Put policies in place to support collaboration, with an eye toward security

And more, which we will see in detail in this article.

What is intranet.ai?

intranet.ai is the ready-to-use corporate intranet, designed to reduce costs and implementation times, thus creating a collaborative and modern digital work environment:

  • Initial price of 3,650 €/year for a complete intranet
  • 50+ applications, including advanced search, document management system, push notifications via Teams, personal profile, and FAQ pages
  • 100% integrated with SharePoint Online and Microsoft 365

 

SharePoint Admin Center: How to log in?

The SharePoint Online Admin Center is accessible only to administrators with an Office 365 subscription, which of course includes SharePoint Online.

Global administrators within the corporate Microsoft 365 tenant hold the highest level in terms of permissions, having access to all the features offered in the SharePoint Admin Center. However, they can grant Admin Center access permission to other users as well, assigning them the Admin role to:

  • Manage SharePoint site collections
  • Set storage quotas
  • Supervise other Admins and site owners

To assign the Admin role in SharePoint, global administrators must then:

  1. Log into the Microsoft 365 administration center
  2. Select the "Roles" item
  3. Select the "Role Assignments" item, on the left hand side
  4. Double-click on the role "SharePoint Administrator"
  5. Select the "Add users" command
  6. Add the users to whom you intend to assign the role

The users added to the list are then enabled to manage SharePoint Online and its sites, through the configurations available in the SharePoint Admin Center. How to get there

At this point, Admin users need only to:

  1. Go to admin.microsoft.com
  2. Log in with their Office 365 credentials
  3. Select the SharePoint-related admin center by scrolling to the left pane

By clicking on the "SharePoint" item, Admin users are redirected to the SharePoint Admin Center, where they will find all the tools to better manage the corporate SharePoint environment.

SharePoint Admin Center: What are the main features?

Here is what the Admin Center offers to improve users' experience and ensure the security of corporate data in SharePoint Online sites.

Below, you will be introduced to the most important configuration areas, which contain specific settings for defining policies, adjusting sharing options, overseeing the structure of site collections, and more.

SharePoint Admin Center home page

The SharePoint Admin Center home page provides the first important information about the status of your SharePoint Online instance. In fact, dashboards are presented showing real-time updated data on:

  • Enterprise site usage over the past 30 days
  • Service status
  • System updates

System updates represent messages from Microsoft that are intended to inform administrators about enhancements, new features, and any changes to SharePoint that might affect the user experience.

There is also a text search bar that can be used to retrieve active SharePoint sites and monitor their usage. Such as, for example, occupied storage space.

The share occupied by the set of SharePoint sites, on the other hand, can be found in the upper right-hand corner, where a simple graphic shows the space occupied versus the space still available to the company.

This overview of available storage is essential for proper SharePoint management.

It should be remembered that the storage space for SharePoint Online provides 1TB per individual company, to which must be added 10GB for each licensed user that includes SharePoint.for example, a company that has 100 users with a Microsoft 365 license that includes SharePoint Online will have 1TB + (10GB * 100) = 2TB of space.

Once this quota is exceeded, access to almost all features for storing and sharing documents and information within SharePoint Online is prevented.

If 12 months are then exceeded without the company having purchased new storage space, Microsoft can disable the account and irretrievably delete all content in it.

Other than an overview of the current state of storage, the SharePoint Admin Center does not offer useful tools to avoid exceeding the available quota. It only allows you to delete sites in the instance.

To manage their storage space, companies therefore have three alternatives:

  1. Purchase new storage space for SharePoint before exceeding the quota. Probably, the least convenient option, since the price is 0.2€/GB/month.
  2. Buy Microsoft 365 Archive, the solution that Microsoft designed precisely to provide additional storage space for SharePoint sites. A cheaper option than buying new storage directly, with a price tag of 0.05€/GB/month.
  3. Use Microsoft 365 Archive Manager.

Microsoft 365 Archive Manager is the solution we developed at intranet.ai to lower the costs of the previous options and give companies the ability to manage their storage space themselves, taking action not only on SharePoint Online but also Teams and OneDrive.

Free up space with Microsoft 365 Archive Manager


Microsoft 365 Archive Manager is the solution for managing storage space in Microsoft 365, saving on the purchase of new storage:

  • Reduces the space taken up by SharePoint, Teams and OneDrive at no additional cost.
  • Retains collaboration features, lost with Microsoft 365 Archive.
  • Helps manage archives in the Microsoft cloud independently.

 

Active sites, for managing active SharePoint sites

As an alternative to the search bar on the home page, administrators can view the list of active SharePoint sites in the corporate tenant from the "Active sites" item (found on the left, under the "Sites" heading).

However, this page is not only useful for viewing active sites. In fact, each site listed is accompanied by a set of useful information to know its "history" and main configurations. Among this information, we find indicated for each site:

  • Microsoft Teams group or channel connected, if any (and thus understand whether the site came into existence as a result of the creation of a private group or channel in Teams, or not)
  • Number of occupied GBs
  • Primary administrators
  • Template used
  • Date of creation
  • Etc.

Also on the "Active sites" page, administrators can create new sites with the "Create" command.

Interestingly, accessing the SharePoint Admin Center to create a new site offers a unique advantage: the ability to use additional templates beyond those offered by default on the SharePoint home page. These templates allow administrators to avoid starting from scratch when creating a site, and they provide features not available in the templates accessible to regular users.

Deleted sites, to see deleted SharePoint sites
(and decide what to do with them)

Immediately below the "Active sites" heading, we find "Deleted sites," which provides access to the SharePoint Admin Center page dedicated to (but not irretrievably) deleted sites.

The feature to highlight on this page is the "Restore" command, which can be used to restore deleted SharePoint sites. Very useful, especially when a site is removed by mistake. But beware: administrators have a limited time to restore a site. After which, SharePoint sites in the "Deleted sites" area are permanently deleted.

The time available for restoration varies by site type. Except, however, for SharePoint sites tied to a Teams channel (which must be restored within 30 days of deletion directly from Microsoft Teams), team and communication sites can be restored in this area of the SharePoint Admin Center within 93 days of their deletion. Here's how:

  • Select the sites to be restored from the list presented in the "Deleted sites" area.
  • Click on the "Restore" command in the upper left corner.

Once the 93 days have passed, the sites are totally removed from the SharePoint Online environment. To avoid losing important data, the advice is to back-up or rely on third-party solutions to archive information from a site that, while unused, may prove useful in the future.

Policies, for sharing and accessing content in SharePoint

Under "Policies," you will find two very important areas of the SharePoint Admin Center.

These are the areas that bring together the sharing and access configurations, respectively.

Starting with the "Sharing" area, administrators have the ability to define limits for sharing content in SharePoint and OneDrive. Specifically, the following four levels are available:

  1. Sharing with anyone
  2. Sharing with new guests and existing guests
  3. Sharing with only existing guests
  4. Sharing with only people in the organization

Administrators can then choose the degree, from the most permissive, for sharing links and files without a sign-in request, to the strictest, for sharing with those with corporate accounts.

The second area of interest under "Policies" is called "Access control" and offers more advanced settings than the "Sharing" area for protecting SharePoint and OneDrive files. Under "Access control," there are then four main categories of settings to manage access to content:

  1. Unmanaged Devices. Administrators can allow, restrict or block access for devices that do not belong to the corporate domain, or that have operating systems or browsers that do not comply with the configuration set for SharePoint.

  2. Inactivity Timeout. A security option that is used to set an inactivity period, after which a user is notified and eventually logged out.

  3. Network Location. The configuration that allows access to SharePoint Online to be filtered based on the user's IP address. For example, administrators might allow access only to users using the corporate network.

  4. Legacy Authentication. The setting to allow or block access from third-party or older Microsoft Office applications (Office 2010 and earlier), which cannot impose device-based restrictions.

The "Sharing" and "Access control" areas together thus provide a wide range of options for deciding who can access what in the corporate SharePoint environment, tailoring platform permissions to the organization's security policies in a flexible and granular manner.

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Settings, to access additional configurations

Under the generic "Settings" item in the SharePoint Admin Center, there are settings for:

  • Choose how notifications are handled.
  • Indicate the Home sites in your SharePoint Online instance.
  • Define default configurations for creating new sites.
  • Manage limits for the storage space occupied by each site.
  • Etc.

Basically, settings for customizing the enterprise SharePoint environment are found here.

As for a Home site, this is a site that acts as a landing page, providing a single point of access to the SharePoint Online environment. Administrators can set up a communication site as a Home site to broaden its scope and centralize news and content useful to all users in the organization.

Term store, to change the taxonomy of SharePoint sites

Selecting the "Term store" item in the SharePoint Admin Center takes you to the page where you can manage the metadata of your sites.

Metadata is the information behind the system for searching and storing content in SharePoint Online sites. Here, then, the settings on the "Term store" page play a key role in the proper management of SharePoint and the corporate data it hosts.

Administrators can create or modify the local taxonomy for a SharePoint site here, taking action at the level of tags, term sets, and individual terms that can be customized with properties such as name, description, and usage designations.

It is also possible to assign a person or group of users to a specific term set. In this case, assigned tags do not grant additional permissions, but help identify (or rather track) users by a term set such as, for example, a job title and department.

Migration, to manage migration processes in SharePoint

The SharePoint Admin Center offers a tool designed to manage migration processes: Migration Manager, which can be found under "Migration" in the navigation bar on the left.

Migration Manager brings together the settings for migration to SharePoint Online, supporting the transfer of data present in platforms such as Microsoft Stream, Dropbox and Google Workspace.

Also in this area, a download of the SharePoint Migration Tool is made available. A useful tool for migrating content from older versions of SharePoint On-Prem or from files taken from network folders.

Advanced, for accessing advanced configurations

In the "Advanced" section of the SharePoint Admin Center, a number of advanced configurations are offered to administrators that are used, among other things, to manage the permissions required by custom applications that are installed in SharePoint Online.

These are settings that contribute to the management of the platform's extension possibilities, allowing you to take action on the permissions that custom components have to interact with the data in SharePoint or, more generally, in the corporate Microsoft 365 environment.

To conclude the overview, find below a summary table of the features and configurations available to SharePoint Online administrators in the Admin Center.

 

 

The features available in the SharePoint Admin Center

 

SharePoint Admin Center area Features available in the area
Home page
  • Dashboard with up-to-date data on site usage, service status, and system updates.
  • Search bar to retrieve active sites.
  • Overview of available storage.
Active sites
  • Display and management of active sites.
  • Information about any connected Teams group/channel, number of occupied GBs, primary administrators, template used, creation date, etc.
  • Creation of new sites from exclusive templates.
Deleted sites
  • Viewing of deleted sites.
  • Restoration of deleted sites (functionality generally available within 93 days of deletion).
Policies
  • Configurations for sharing links and files, including limits (sharing with anyone, new guests, only existing guests, only people in the organization).
  • Access management for unmanaged devices, inactivity timeout, filtering by IP address, and legacy authentication.
Settings
  • Notification management mode.
  • Home site setup.
  • Default configurations for creating new sites.
  • Limits for storage space occupied by each site.
Term store
  • Metadata and taxonomy management of SharePoint sites.
  • Creating/editing tags, term sets and individual terms with custom properties (name, description, usage designations, etc.).
  • Assignment of users to specific term sets.
Migration
  • Configurations for migration to SharePoint Online.
  • Support for data transfer from platforms such as Microsoft Stream, Dropbox, Google Workspace.
  • Download SharePoint Migration Tool to migrate content from older versions of SharePoint On-Prem and network folders.
Advanced
  • Configurations for platform extension and interaction of custom components with SharePoint and Microsoft 365 data.

Need help managing your SharePoint sites?


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Giuseppe Marchi

 

Microsoft MVP for SharePoint and Microsoft 365 since 2010.

Giuseppe is the founder of intranet.ai and one of the leading experts in Italy in all matters related to Microsoft 365. For years, he has been assisting companies in creating their digital workplace environment on the Microsoft cloud, focusing on people's experience.

FAQ on the SharePoint Admin Center


What is the SharePoint Admin Center?

The SharePoint Admin Center is the web interface that provides SharePoint Online administrators with all the tools to centrally manage sites, content, and data security.

How do I access the SharePoint Admin Center?

Administrators must go to admin.microsoft.com, log in with their Office 365 credentials, and select the SharePoint admin center from the left-hand pane.

What are the main features of the SharePoint Admin Center?

The main features include creating new sites, managing access to content, supervising occupied space, implementing collaboration and security policies, and managing the configurations of active SharePoint sites.

How do I assign the Admin role in SharePoint?

To assign the Admin role in SharePoint, global administrators must access the Microsoft 365 admin center, select "Roles", then "Role Assignments", double-click on the "SharePoint Administrator" role, select "Add users" and add the users to whom they want to assign the role.

How do I manage storage space in SharePoint Online?

To manage storage space in SharePoint Online, you can purchase additional space, use Microsoft 365 Archive, or use Microsoft 365 Archive Manager, a solution that allows you to reduce the space occupied by SharePoint, Teams, and OneDrive without additional costs.

What is Microsoft 365 Archive Manager?

Microsoft 365 Archive Manager is a solution developed by intranet.ai to manage SharePoint (and also OneDrive) storage space through intelligent analysis of company archives and the elimination of less useful content for users.

How do I restore a deleted SharePoint site?

To restore a deleted SharePoint site, administrators must go to the "Deleted sites" page in the SharePoint Admin Center, select the sites to restore, and click the "Restore" command. This must be done within 93 days of deletion.

What are the sharing options in SharePoint?

The sharing options in SharePoint include sharing with anyone, sharing with new and existing guests, sharing with existing guests only, and sharing with only people in the organization. These options can be configured in the "Sharing" area of the SharePoint Admin Center.

What is a Home site in SharePoint Online?

A Home site in SharePoint Online is a site that acts as a landing page, providing a single access point to the SharePoint Online environment. Administrators can set a communication site as the Home site to centralize news and content useful for all users in the organization.

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