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What security context does a workflow run in?

Sorry to ask such a basic question...

Our Environment: SharePoint Server 2013, Nintex Workflow 2013

When a list workflow is activated to run because a list item is modified, what security context does that workflow run in?  Is it with the rights/permissions of the person who modified the list item, or is it with the rights/permissions of the Workflow Owner?  According to a definition I found in the "Nintex Workflow 2013: Help Files" PDF document, the Workflow Owner is the user who published the workflow.  In that same document, regarding the rights with which certain workflow actions are executed it states "This can be the rights of the initiator or the rights of the workflow owner."  So how is it determined which of these two it is?

I understand that for certain actions one can enter "Override Credentials", but my question is prior to that: What security context is used if no Override Credentials are entered or if it is an action that does not offer that option.

If anyone could answer my question and point me to the documentation that speaks directly to this issue, I would be grateful.


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Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: What security context does a workflow run in?

Great question Lee.  When a workflow is published as a item based workflow that runs when an item is added or modified, the workflow runs under the rights of the person who created or modified that item.

If the workflow has actions that are set to run as the workflow owner, then those actions will run with the permissions of the owner.  They will not run as the owners name but with the permissions of the owner.

Hope that helps.