Document security is becoming a major concern for many companies. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach to a business was $2.51 million in 2017.
Aside from the financial consequences, a data breach can also lead to loss of customers, damage to brand reputation, leaking of company secrets, plus compliance and legal issues. And with more and more documents being transmitted and stored online and in mobile devices, there is an even greater risk for business data to be lost or stolen.
Importance of an efficient document management system
An efficient document management system (DMS) can help enhance data security and keep your sensitive business information always safe and secure. It stores and organises files and documents digitally. This includes converting paper documents to electronic format.
Some of the benefits of a DMS include:
- Centralised document/file repository
- Streamlined workflows
- Simpler record-keeping for compliance and regulatory requirements
- Enhanced data security
- Greater cost savings
- Reduced environmental impact
With files stored digitally in a central location, a DMS can streamline the handling of documents, enable easy access to important information, and achieve greater levels of privacy and security.
The deadly sins of document management security – and how to solve them
It’s worth noting though, that implementing an electronic document management system does not guarantee the security of your documents. There are a few things that you need to be aware of. Failing to do so, may expose your company data to unnecessary security risks and can lead to serious financial, compliance and legal consequences.
Here, we look at the 7 deadly sins of document management security and provide some tips on how to manage and solve them.
1. No documented and standardised security plan
Do you have a documented plan that details all your security measures and procedures? Some companies try to manage data security without an overall plan in place. Or if they do have a plan, it’s not properly documented and communicated across the organisation. This is a huge mistake that can cost them dearly when an actual data breach occurs.
Before you start focusing on the security of your networks, devices, folders and individual documents – it’s important to develop a clear security plan. This plan needs to be easy to document, implement and communicated to all staff, partners, contractors and vendors.
2. Failing to convert paper or physical documents to digital
This is something a lot of companies take for granted. Let’s face it, a lot of us still have paper documents on top of our desks or stored in manila folders and filing cabinets. And some of these documents contain sensitive and confidential information.
However, there’s just too many risks associated with printed or physical documents. Security risks can include:
- Sensitive information being left on printer trays
- Difficulty in tracking changes and updates on documents
- Can be easily lost or misplaced
- Easily accessed by unauthorised users
- No control over how documents are managed and discarded
Paper documents are simply too difficult to manage and secure. We suggest converting them in digital formats that can be easily tracked, managed and controlled.
3. Lack of security for folders and documents
Do you have enough protection for your digital documents? Many companies fail to restrict access or don’t have enough security for documents that contain sensitive and confidential information. This can expose the business to a potential data breach from hackers, disgruntled employees, competitors or any other unauthorised user.
Start by securing access to digital documents with the necessary authentication and password protection. Also, it might be worth applying security to folders rather than individual documents. This way, you can easily group documents with similar security requirements.
4. Lack of visibility and control of users
Do you know who is accessing your documents? Are you able to track document users, access levels and usage? Some companies fail to use a system that grants them total visibility and control of document users – making data security difficult to implement and manage.
Choose a document management system that can properly monitor and regulate document access and usage. It needs to be able to identify specific users and control their access levels for folders and documents.
5. Documents not backed up regularly
How often do you back up your company data? Many businesses make the mistake of not backing up their data regularly, or they assume that their outsourced provider is automatically doing the regular backups. In the event of a system crash, natural disaster or even a massive data breach, valuable information could be lost if data has not been properly backed up.
Take the time to check that documents are regularly backed up internally or by your service provider. This will prepare you for the unexpected.
6. Lack of mobile security
Most people access documents and files through their mobile devices. Failing to secure your mobile networks can provide an easy back-door entrance to your sensitive and confidential information.
You need to implement strong security and authentication controls across your mobile networks. This may include device registration, data encryption and restrictions on document access levels via mobile devices.
7. No regular security audits
When was the last time you audited your document security? Some businesses assume that it’s enough to implement strong security measures. But with technologies evolving in a very fast pace - plus hackers and criminals getting smarter and more innovative, there is a need to constantly assess security settings.
Don’t get blindsided by a new form of virus or hacking technology. Regularly review and test all your document security measures. Then, make the necessary improvements and upgrades to constantly deliver high levels of security across your networks, devices and digital documents.
Your business documents contain valuable information about your company and customers. They need to be properly managed and protected. Simply implementing a document management system cannot fully guarantee the security of your documents.
You need to develop a security plan that manages your digital documents, monitors access to folders and files, backs up your data regularly, and controls mobile access. To keep up with ever-changing technologies, we recommend that you test your security measures regularly.
To ensure you're business data is completely secure, download our data security guide.