Policy audit within SharePoint & Microsoft 365

2020 has been a tough year so far. Remote working at the drop of a hat was easier for some companies than others, who may still be getting used to this new way of working. Some companies will comfortably shift into remote working permanently, whereas others will clamouring to be back in office environments  as soon as possible. With new ways of working comes new working practices. For those looking to instil a whole new company culture, it may be time to undertake a policy audit.

A policy audit isn’t a pleasant task if you have many policies out of date, not a great understanding of where they are or even who manages them. This is where we can help. Policy management should ideally be part of your governance management – and at the moment, governance is more important than ever. Part of this management is making sure your workforce are properly educated and informed on new practices.

Policy Audit – best practice

Having good governance in the form of sound compliance procedures running throughout an organisation is essential. Well thought-out policies that are adhered to enable stability within the practices of your business.

However, when policies are difficult to find, understand or implement, it can cause difficulties and potentially make your organisation vulnerable.

Complexities can also arise from the management of a policy’s lifecycle; the administration alone can be an arduous and manual undertaking. A thorough policy audit should cover the effort involved in the creation of policies – from drafts to full distribution to expiry.

Enforcing policies with Microsoft 365

The level of resource needed to serve your organisation’s policy management can be a big factor. Some organisations have teams dedicated to managing these policies, whereas other companies may just have one person (or several systems in place!) in charge of policy management.

A common issue many organisations face, no matter their size and resource, is the ability to enforce these policies. This will be revealed in your policy audit.

As with any content management best practice, we recommend SharePoint and Microsoft 365. Its ability to store and share records and documents is ideal for this type of compliance management; and Policy management doesn’t need to be any different if you’re already using Microsoft 365 and SharePoint  for your document management.

However, there is one clear distinction that you should be aware of:

  • Out of the box, SharePoint has fantastic functionality when it comes to document management.
  • Audit logs in SharePoint can provide some level of reporting on your stored Documents. This can soon become bloated with irrelevant information that’s difficult to interpret.

This is where we can help. We’ve devised a simple solution to record who has read what (and when they read it) within SharePoint online.

Policy Management in SharePoint

We have created a SharePoint add-on tool for administrators to verify who has read a policy and to view an auditable log of when the user read it. The end user (reader of the policy) can also view which policies they’ve read and which ones they have not.

Business Agility’s Policy Tracking Solution

Business Agility’s Policy Tracking tool is a solution especially designed using the power of SharePoint. Our Policy Tracking tool makes it easy to track and view the status of policies in your organisation. Using the power of SharePoint, our Team can flexibly integrate the Policy Tracking tool to fit with your specific requirements allowing better governance. The tool doesn’t come with additional licence costs (unlike many third-party supplier tools!)

We’ve written a guide on our Policy Management solution here – take a look.