AD groups and how we use them in Xoralia

AD groups and how we use them in Xoralia

It would be an unmanageable task to assign documents to your wider organisation by individual. To resolve that problem, Xoralia uses Active Directory (AD) and O365 Groups to help target a document for attestation.

When assigning a document, the document will allow the document owner to select as many Groups or individuals as they want within the Assign to audience field. This field is smarter than it looks, when using an AD group it is also dynamic and will adapt to changes made within the Active Directory automatically.

For example, if you assign a document to an AD group of people to read and they have 30 days to read the document, as and when new people are added to the group Xoralia will assign the document to them too. When using the relative read by date field, this also gives the new user the amount of time specified to read the document as to when they were added. It may be the case everyone needs to read the document by a fixed date, lets say 31/03/2023 – but we think that would be less likely than a relative date as to when the document was requested to be read by each user.

Subsequently, if a user is removed from the Active Directory group the opposite happens – the assignment for the user to attest to the document is cancelled. However, users and their read records will always remain. If an individual leaves the organisation, their read audit log is not lost and will still be available within the document read reports ‘log’ tab.

User reports for everyone will also always be available in the reports tab for Xoralia system admi users.

Reporting

Reporting

If a document is assigned to an audience as a must read, then owners and admins can view reports for that document. The reports show who in the target audience has and hasn’t read the document. There is no reporting for documents that have not been assigned.

Reports can be accessed via any of the document owner views in Xoralia.

The ‘Read’ tab

In the ‘Read’ tab the document owner can override a user’s read state by selecting one or more users and clicking the ‘Mark as not read’ button. This will remove the user from the ‘Read’ tab and put them back into the ‘Not read’ tab. It will also trigger reminder notifications for that user as if the document had just been assigned to them. For auditing purposes, the action of overriding a user’s state, whether it is for ‘read’ or ‘not read’, is written to the backend database along with the name of the document owner who overrode the status.

The ‘Version read’ column shows the manual version number of the document that the document owner has assigned to the document, not the SharePoint version history number which is automatically assigned by SharePoint as part of version control.

The ‘Not read’ tab

In the ‘Not read’ tab the document owner can override a user’s read state by selecting one or more users and clicking the ‘Mark as read’ button. This will remove the user from the ‘Not read’ tab and put them into the ‘Read’ tab. It will also cancel the assignment for that document and trigger a notification for that user telling them that they no longer need to read the document. For auditing purposes, the action of overriding a user’s state, whether it is for ‘read’ or ‘not read’, is written to the backend database along with the name of the document owner who overrode the status.

The document owner can also send a personal email message to one or more users in the ‘Not read’ tab. Other users (e.g. the user’s line manager) can also be added to the message in the CC field.

Attesting to a document

Attesting to a document

To attest to a document a user simply needs to click the document in Xoralia which will open a pop-up with a small preview of the document.

The user must click the ‘View document’ button before they can confirm that they have read it. Note that beyond this there are no checks in place to ensure the user really does read the document.

Notifications

Notifications

Notification channels:

  • Currently Xoralia sends notifications only via email. Emails are sent by [email protected] via the Xoralia SMTP service.
  • IMPORTANT: You should ensure that [email protected] is white listed on your email service so that it doesn’t end up in your users’ spam folders.
  • Notifications via Teams and Windows 10 Notifications are coming soon.

Notification frequency

  • When a document is assigned to a user they will receive a notification. The notification contains a default message, the name of the document, a link and a due date. Reminder notifications are sent 30, 15, 7 and 3, 2, 1 and 0 days before the due date. A final notification is sent the day after the due date. If an assignment is sent with a due date say, 14 days away, they will receive notifications 7, 3, 2, 1 and 0 days before the due date.
  • If a user reads a document they have been assigned, they will stop receiving reminders.
  • If a user has multiple document reads set at the same time, they will receive just one notification that lists all the documents they have to read.
  • If a user is removed from a group that has current assignments then they will receive a notification telling them that the assignment has been cancelled. Their name will be removed from the ‘Not read’ tab in reporting. However, if they have already read the document this record will remain intact in the read report.
  • If a user belongs to more than one group that is assigned a document they will only get the one notification. The system de-duplicates the assignment so as not to flood users with duplicate notifications.
  • When a document is first assigned Xoralia sends out a notification right away. Reminder notifications are sent once a day.
  • If an assigned document is deleted or removed from the document library, all read tasks for that document will be cancelled and assignees will receive a notification.

Bulk assignments

Bulk assignments

There may be times when you want to assign multiple documents at once with the same assignment settings (i.e. due dates, target audience etc.). This could be especially true when you are first setting up Xoralia.

To bulk assign several docs at once go to the ‘All my documents’ view in Xoralia and select the documents you want to assign. Then click the ‘Assign documents’ button in the top right. This will launch a pop-up. The fields in the pop-up are the same as those in a single document assignment.

To bulk assign, select the relevant docs and click the ‘Assign to employees’ button

The bulk assignment pop-up is very similar to single assignments

Note that you can’t bulk assign documents that already have assignments set up (in fact, Xoralia won’t even allow you to select docs that already have assignments). If you wanted to do that you would need to clear the existing assignments first.

Assigning documents to users to read

Assigning documents to users to read

Document owners and admins can assign read tasks to users and groups. When a task is set, all the users who have been assigned the task will receive an email informing them that they have to read the document.

A Document Owner has the abilty to assign a document to a user or group/s to read in Xoralia. The metadata field that drives these permissions can be found in SharePoint.

How to assign yourself or others as Document Owners

1. Navigate to your SharePoint site and document library associated with Xoralia. You should see 3 columns which drive the access and data displayed in Xoralia, Document Contact, Document Owner and Document Version. Edit these columns using grid view.

2. The Document Owner column is a 'People Picker' field. Select as many Document Owners as you need within your Active Directory to manage the document within Xoralia. Giving people the Document Owner permission means they will be able to set expiry dates, assign documents, set read by dates and access document read history in Xoralia.

3. Exit grid view once done, then wait a few minutes for Xoralia to sync and pull through the new permission level.

How to assign a document to a person or group

Once the user has the correct permissions from SharePoint as described above, an admin menu 'Documents you manage' will appear in the navigation within Xoralia. To assign a document click 'All my documents' in the left hand navigation and find the document you want to assign from the list that is presented. Clicking the document will launch a pop-up. Within this pop-up you can set the target audience, the read by date and whether it is a recurring or one-off assignment. Note that the document must also have an expiry date.

1. Expiry date

In order to be assigned, a document must first have an expiry date set. If there is already an expiry date you can skip this step.

2. The audience

In the ‘Assign to’ field you can build the audience that will be assigned the document. Simply enter the names of the people you want to assign it to. As you type the system will auto suggest names in a drop-down for the you to select from. The system will also suggest Active Directory Groups and Office 365 Groups. To find all the groups available in your organisation type the word ‘group’ in the field. A document can be assigned to a mixture of groups and individuals.

2. The read by date

The read by date, which can be a fixed (i.e. specific) date or a relative date. Choosing relative date is best if you are assigning a document to a group. This is because if you choose a fixed date then new group members could join after this fixed date and therefore receive an assignment where the due date has already past. By choosing relative date you are setting:

  1. The number of days after the assignment date that existing group members have to read the document
  2. The number of days after the join date that any new group members must read the document.

Example:

On 1st January, John assigns his document to the AD Group ‘Finance team’ and sets the read by date as ‘relative’ and 31 days. All members of the group receive an email notification on 1st January telling them they have to read the document by 31st January. On 1st March, Susan joins the Finance team and is added to the ‘Finance team’ AD Group by the IT admin. Although no change has been made in Xoralia, it automatically sends Susan an email notification telling her that she needs to read the document by 31st March. This is because Xoralia monitors groups to see if there are new joiner or leavers.

3. Recurring assignments

If your assignment is a recurring one, check the ‘Make this recurring’ checkbox and specify the number of days after which you want it to repeat. For example, if I am assigning the IT Security Policy and I want readers to re-read it once a year I set the number of days as 365.

Notes and details about using groups

Note that if a user joins a group that has a document assigned to it, then that new group member will be assigned the document from that point. The document owner does not have to worry about assigning the document to new joiners provided that groups are being properly managed inside your organisation (this is typically done by IT or HR). On joining a group the new member will receive an email notification telling them about the assignment, due date etc. Bear in mind that if you are using groups for assignments then be sure to select ‘Relative date’ when setting the due date for the assignment. The due date will be relative to the date when the user joined the group.

Similarly, if a group member leaves or is removed from the group then any assignments set for the group will be cancelled for that individual. The user will receive an email notification telling them that their assignments have been cancelled.

The above notes are both true for AD Groups and Office 365 Groups.

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