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Setting up administrative accounts with lesser privileges

Setting up administrative accounts with lesser privileges

Bitwarden member roles include four pre-defined permissions sets including a configurable Custom member role (Enterprise only). Owners and Admins have full access by default
to prevent lockout and allow for Bitwarden account administration.

To limit the day-to-day access a user has to the entire Organization, Owner account(s) can be set up on service account email addresses - these are not accessed on a regular basis, but only to perform tasks that require access to all vault data at once - and Admin account(s) can be downgraded to the Custom member role with a specific permissions set.

This guide assumes that you have already determined a storage and approval mechanism for the Owner account(s). It is recommended to remain logged into an Owner account while modifying the Admin account(s) to reduce their privileges.

Defining your custom member role

The below Custom member role will replace your users’ Admin member role:

Manager Permissions

  • In the left column allow this Custom member role to Edit and Delete the collections they have been assigned, including adding and removing users from the collection.

Check any of the following boxes under the Admin Permission heading:

  • Event logs

  • Reports

  • Create new collections

  • Manage groups

  • SSO

  • Policies permissions

Note that none of the options above provide access to vault items.

Using the Owner member role as a service account

Now that the Admin users have been downgraded, several tasks can only be accomplished via the Owner account(s) due to the cryptographic or API permissions these tasks require. These tasks are:

  • Import/Export of the organization vault

  • Editing/Deleting unassigned collections

  • Admin password reset

  • Manual user onboarding/offboarding

  • Accessing the organization API key

Department Head/Manager permissions

Once you have changed your Admin users to this Custom member role, you will need to designate people to manage access to each collection. There are two ways to configure this, depending on how much access you want to give to the "department head".

Manager member role

The pre-defined Manager member role provides the ability to edit or delete any collections they are assigned, including adding and removing access for users. This role is best if you have a static set of collections that need restricted access.

Custom member roles for Department Heads

If your "department head" needs to be able to create new collections in addition to managing their currently assigned collections, you will want to change those users to a Custom member role as well, with the following permissions:

Custom Member role with department head permissions
Custom Member role with department head permissions

Additional Resources

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