Does your organisation need security policy management?

Does your organisation need security policy management?

Security is a priority for all organisations. It covers many aspects of working life – the buildings we work in, the technology we use, the data we share with others, our professional behaviour and so on. Being safe in the workplace, cyber-security, data privacy, safeguarding confidential information and other related areas are topics that all employees need to be aware about. It’s also particularly important in some industry sectors.

Security is a big topic. But one of the challenges associated with ensuring security measures are in place is that if often relies on the awareness, knowledge and co-operation of employees. Only too often, employees and their carelessness are the cause of security issues, usually inadvertently but sometimes wilfully.

Because of this it is important to have security policies in place that provide clarity for employees on security and related matters.

To support the effective distribution of security policies, organisations must have active security policy management in place. In this article, we’re going to cover what a security policy is, why we need them and how they help minimise risk. We’ll also explore some of the different types of security policy as well as some good practice tips.

What is a security policy?

A security policy can be defined as any policy which helps to protect an organisation against security threats and vulnerabilities through risk prevention as well as processes to minimise any potential damage. It can cover both the security relating to a physical building as well as technology and digital channels, and include aspects such as overarching principles, specific procedures, terms of usage and staff training.

Why do you need security policies?

Security is a priority for every organisation. It’s an area where there is little room for compromise. Policies provide clarity and a critical backbone to ensure the right procedures are followed to maintain security and reduce the associated risks.

Specifically, policies help to:

  • Prevent specific incidents by reducing vulnerabilities.
  • Reduces and contain the potential damage when an incident occurs.
  • Drives compliance with regulatory and legal requirements.
  • Keep everybody safe, supporting an organisation’s duty of care to employees, customers and suppliers.
  • Keeps client and employee data secure.
  • Protect an organisation’s overall brand and reputation.

How do security policies help minimise risk?

More specifically, security policies help minimise risks in the following ways:

  • They educate employees about the approaches to take and steps to follow to support security, and are particularly important in onboarding new starters.
  • They keep employees up to date about any changes to security policies or procedures.
  • They are an essential reference point, providing absolute clarity and a definitive source of truth relating to security.
  • They support decision-making.
  • They support various different processes such as recruitment, procurement, due diligence on technology purchases, employee onboarding and more.
  • They can play a role in compliance-related reporting, particularly in regulated industries, and where standards such as ISO 27001 are important.
  • The provide essential information on processes to follow if there is an incident, so are often related to disaster recovery planning and crisis management.
  • They support the creation of new security policies and the review of existing policies.
  • They provide information on expected behaviours for employees.
  • They allow you take action against employees if they are putting security at risk through negligence or behaviour.

What are the different types of security policy?

There are many different types of security policy, with different aspects relating to scope, theme and type.


The scope of a security policy can vary. Sometimes they can be organisation-wide and more to do with general principles, for example, setting out a “zero trust” policy. Sometimes they can apply to something more specific such as a particular topic – for example relating to information management or building security. A security policy might also apply to something more granular like a particular building or a specific application or platform.


Security policies can cover different themes, including:

  • The physical security of buildings and other assets.
  • Cybersecurity principles and actions that must be followed.
  • Data protection and privacy, ensuring the protection of client and employee data.
  • Information management, covering sensitive and confidential information.
  • Personal security for staff when travelling or undertaking work.
  • Disaster recovery plans.
  • And more!


Security policies can also be of different types:

  • General principles to follow.
  • Detailed policy and procedures.
  • A terms of usage policy.
  • Guidelines for employees.
  • Security, recovery or incident response plan to follow.
  • Access control list on who can access which system.
  • External security documents produced by a third-party such as a property management company or technical vendor.
  • Part of employee training.
  • One of more of all the above!

What are some good practices in managing security policies?

The kind of good practices that help manage your security policies are not necessarily that much different to managing other kind of policies. However, they are potentially more important as security policies are critical.

Clear ownership

Always establish clear ownership of a security policy with a named person or people who are responsible and accountable for keeping a policy up to date. Without that clear ownership, it is all too easy for a security policy not to be managed properly. In particular, sometimes ownership is attributed to a department or team; while clearly a department will have responsibility, naming the individuals helps ensure that a policy needing updating doesn’t get missed.

Version control

Version control is a central pillar of policy management. You can’t have two, three or more versions of the same policy in circulation as people may follow the wrong policy or process. It also undermines confidence and trust in policies. Always carry out robust version control with elements such as clear policy numbering and in providing access to only the latest version through your policy library. This is an area where a solution like Xoralia can help.

Regular reviews

Regular reviews of security policies by subject matter experts and policy owners is essential to ensure policies are always up to date. Having a regular review – say every six months – is important. It will also be important to have a review when there is either an external change such as a new IT system or a security incident as circumstances have changed.

Central access

Providing easy, central access to your security policies so everybody can find them is a must. This might be through a central policy library on your intranet or perhaps through relevant intranet pages covering IT, legal & compliance and more.

Employee attestation processes

Employee attestation processes are where people positively confirm that they have read and understood a policy, or an update to a policy. By managing this process, it adds an extra “nudge” to increase the likelihood of:

  • new employees reading a policy
  • all employees knowing that a policy has changed
  • able to show regulators and other third parties that you are compliant in compliance areas where you need to show that employees are trained in and informed about areas relating to security.

Write policies so they can actually be used

No one is pretending that security policies are going to be the world’s most interesting or engaging documents, but all too often they are written in ways that make them hard to follow or make employees skip over sections.

Security policies are there to be followed. Use inclusive and accessible language, break documents up into steps so they are easier to follow, write additional guidelines, translate sections if necessary and more. Write a security policy that is there to be read and used by employees.

How Xorlia policy management software can help

Managing security policies is not always straightforward, but policy management software can help by doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Security policy management is much easier and far less time-consuming when you apply automation and ready-made features and functionality.

A robust policy management solution like Xoralia can:

  • Ensure everybody can access your security policies in a central policy library, for example reached via your SharePoint intranet.
  • Help employees find different types of security policy – and other policy types too - via a dedicated search or through browsing.
  • Enable robust version control to ensure that only the latest version of a security policy can be accessed.
  • Support policy owners manage their policy through content lifecycle features.
  • Drive personalisation and audience targeting so different groups can see and are notified about policies they must read.
  • Action employee attestation features so that employees must confirm they have read and understood a policy, with extensive reporting that can even be used with external third-parties.
  • Go further with an additional employee attestation feature to ask questions about the content of a policy to confirm it has been digested.
  • Use automation to send reminders to policy owners to review their security policy, as well as to notify new joiners about policies they need to read, and recurring policies that need to be read each year.
  • Integrate seamlessly with your Microsoft 365 digital workplace and SharePoint intranet.
  • And more!

Arrange a free Xoralia demo!

Security policies are critical and they need active management. A policy management solution like Xoralia will help. Why not arrange a free demo?

Book a live demo

Find out more about Xoralia policy management software

During the demo, we'll walk you through Xoralia’s various features and functionality, providing plenty of time for you to ask our experts questions along the way.

Book a demo

How automated policy management software can benefit your business

How automated policy management software can benefit your business

Policy management is an important area for many organisations, particularly those in highly regulated industries. It reduces risk, enables decision making, ensures you have robust reporting processes in place, drives efficiency, reduces accidents and more.

Employees need to have easy access to policies, be able to find what they need quickly and easily, and understand when there have been changes. Meanwhile policy owners need to keep their policies up to date, be confident that changes have been understood, and sometimes report on this for compliance purposes.

All of the above might sound straightforward, but it can take a lot of coordination and effort, particularly when everyone is extremely busy. It only takes one out-of-date policy in circulation to create risks with a range of potential negative outcomes. Understandably, many organisations decide to invest in policy management solutions like Xoralia that help them to establish a central policy library, carry out employee attestation process, support policy owners to manage their content and more, while significantly reducing the effort and time taken.

An essential key feature of a solution like Xoralia is its automation, that saves both huge amounts of time but also ensures that policy owners don’t forget to carry out aspects of policy management. In this post we’re going to explore why automation is so important in robust policy management software, and how it benefits a business.

Problems with traditional policy management

One of the problems with traditional policy management is that is has tended to be carried out manually, usually using email and spreadsheets. For example, a central compliance or policy team might have to:

  • Email policy owners to remind them to update or review a policy.
  • Use email to ask individuals to confirm they have read and understood a policy (“employee attestation”), and then send follow-up emails until they have confirmed they have done so, or send these via managers.
  • Use a spreadsheet to monitor compliance reporting relating to an employee attestation process.
  • Use email and spreadsheets to monitor compliance reporting and employee attestation around policies for new starters, which may differ from group to group.

As anyone who has used email and spreadsheets for policy management, employee attestation and compliance reporting, they can confirm that it is a significant undertaking and administrative burden that:

  • wastes huge amounts of time which could be spent on more value-added activities.
  • is highly inefficient and prone to errors, with areas being missed.
  • significantly increases the risk of policies going out of date or more than version of a policy being in circulation.
  • makes it harder to complete an employee attestation process and successfully report on it.
  • is extremely frustrating and tedious for the teams involved.
  • leads to less targeted efforts around policy management and attestation – for example aimed at specific groups within the organisation – as they are simply too difficult and time-consuming to manage.
  • weakens the ability of central compliance and policy teams to influence distributed policy owners.
  • leads to inconsistent approaches to policy management across an organisation.

The advantages of using an automated system

The digital workplace provides huge opportunities to automate workflows and basic, repetitive tasks. Workflow engines such as Power Automate and Nintex are evolving as “low code no code” platforms that mean even non-IT professionals can create simple automation. Specific products including policy management solutions like Xoralia are also embracing automation.

Policy management is an area where there are multiple opportunities for automation, with several advantages.

Saving time

Policy management involves multiple repetitive tasks that are very time-consuming. Chasing up on employee attestation processes. Reminding policy owners to update their policies. Notifying new starters about the policies they must read. All these can be automated, saving huge amounts of time for administrators who can then focus their efforts om more valuable and less tedious tasks.

Reducing errors

When everything is done manually, it leads to errors. People get missed and don’t have access to the right policy. Employee attestation processes aren’t complete. A policy doesn’t get updated. When you use automation, it reduces the chance of these simple but potentially damaging errors.

Standardising processes

Bringing automation to policy management helps standardise processes across different policy owners who might sit in different functions. It helps to bring a more robust approach to keeping policies up to date.

Completing the gaps for compliance and certification

As automation brings a more reliable and through approach to employee attestation processes it can provide better reporting for compliance and certification purposes, not only in the actual report, but also if you are letting a third-party regulator or certification body about how you approach employee attestation.

Automating policy management in Xoralia

Xoralia is built on SharePoint and takes advantage of the powerful workflow features within Power Automate to automate several aspects of policy management, allowing you to “set and forget” so your team can focus on more value-add activities. Xoralia’s automation focuses on three main areas.

Assignment for new joiners and leavers

Many of your policies will be assigned to different groups. When a person joins a group, they will automatically be assigned to that policy and get any notifications. This is particularly valuable for employee onboarding, as if you have a policy set for a new starter group, a new joiner will automatically be assigned and notified about the policies they need to read as part of your overall onboarding programme.

Recurring assignment notices

The need for employees to read policies is sometimes a recurring event. Sometimes for compliance, regulatory or professional reasons employees need to confirm annually they have read and agree to follow certain policies. The ability to set automatic policy notifications on a recurring basis is one of Xoralia’s most popular automation features, with the ability to set a number of days between reassignment. For example, this could be 90 days (quarterly), 365 days (annually) or any set time period – it is up to you.

Employee attestation

Employee attestation processes can involve a lot of chasing people up if done manually. Xoralia’s automation avoids this time-intensive task by automatically sending out notifications and reminders until the employee attestation process is complete. If you do want to remind someone manually, automatic reporting also can show who has yet to read or electronically sign a policy.

Want to automate aspects of policy management? Arrange a Xoralia demo!

Automation brings efficiency and accuracy to policy management. Xoralia is a policy management solution that uses automation to deliver value.

If there are aspects of managing your policies that could be automated, then why not arrange a free Xoralia demo?

Book a live demo

Find out more about Xoralia policy management software

During the demo, we'll walk you through Xoralia’s various features and functionality, providing plenty of time for you to ask our experts questions along the way.

Book a demo
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