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Document security and why it's important

Document security and why it's important

When various clients interact with businesses or organizations, they do more than product and money exchange. They also leave a trail of their personal information including, credit cards, spending habits, addresses, and other identifications numbers.

Similarly, companies also have important details that should not land in the wrong hands. These may be purchases and sales data or strategy reports, customers’ confidential information, employee payment plans and business banking information.

Therefore, companies have the responsibility to safely keep all the data from unauthorized access. A breach or leak of such details could lead to severe concerns like financial, identity theft and loss of business secrets to competitors. The organization would also be in danger of prosecution, which can prove costly to the business.

To save you from information breaches, we discuss some of the best ways businesses can safely store their confidential information and how document security would benefit you.

What is document security?

Document security is maintaining all essential and confidential files well-stored and backed up for easy access. In other words, it’s keeping company documents safe and secure from any unauthorized access.

For electronic files, document security would be setting cyber security guidelines, standards, or policies that aim to maintain data or file availability, confidentiality, and integrity. It involves effective security practices and control that help protect data and at the same time comply with both the customer and regulatory requirements.  

Many businesses and individuals have chosen to hire services from firms providing storage facilities to guarantee adequate protection of their files.

What are the different types of document security management? 

From the definition of document security, we can conclude that it applies to protecting both paper and electronic documents. Therefore, we cover three different safety ways, including the protection against physical damage, internal fraud, and external information breaches.

Storage type for paper records or documents

Companies are being advised to store their data digitally. But for those of you who have deployed an electronic data storage plan, you can use the following techniques to help keep your data safe.

Locked your storage areas. If you're using storage rooms, ensure to close and lock the cabinets. This helps keep any prying eyes and unauthorized access to your paper files.

Flood and fire protection systems. It’s hard to predict the occurrence of natural disasters. And even if you lock your paper documents, fire and flood would still be a threat. But you reduce your risk of such occurrence by using fire suppression systems or climate management systems to help.

Secure your storage facilities. Apart from protecting your paper documents against natural disasters, you can also protect your off-site document storage facilities by having on-site security persons or video monitoring gadgets. Such may keep thieves from stealing your documents.

Challenges of securing paper documents

Managing paper documents can sometimes prove a challenging task. You have to physically search for files in storage places with fewer options for safety. Also, documents can be misplaced and provide no easy way to monitor or track any access to the files. There are also the challenges of:

 

  • Editing or updating information unless you re-type and print
  • Restricting access
  •  High cost of production; typing, scanning or printing all consumes time and money

 

Electronic type of document protection

Cloud storage and document management software uses different tools and features to access, protect or control files. The features include:

Access control lists (ACLs). These are network control filters that guide and control document incoming and outgoing traffic. They are used in limiting access to various files. Without ACL, your company would be vulnerable to unwanted access.  

It, therefore, locks out any prying eyes and provides updates on the traffic flow of the document. It can track those who have accessed the document and at what stage. With different types of Access Control Lists, you can be sure to permit, deny or restrict access and traffic, allowing you to control those who get to see your files.

Document encryption. Cloud storage and most electronic data systems have encryption features that require one to only access the file's content if they have the decryption key. The good thing is that companies always have options to encrypt their files. They can either use symmetric or asymmetric encrypt their data.

Symmetric encryption involves using the same key to encrypt and decrypt files. On the other hand, asymmetric decryption entails using two different keys (private and public) to decrypt files. The private key is only known to a few managers, while the public key is available for authorized recipients.

While making keys or passwords for different files, ensure effective password management. So, strive to create stronger passwords that are impossible to gauze. However, it should also be easy to remember. You can make your passwords great by:

 

  •  Using longer but easy to remember
  •  Creating nonsense and random phrases that are not even in the dictionary
  •  Avoid re-using passwords as hackers would always leak a list of hacked passwords plus the addresses of the          companies
  •  Randomly mix numbers, symbols, lower and uppercase letters
  •  Avoid using obvious company information that hackers can quickly discover

 

You can also use password managers to auto-generate or store any stronger password on behalf of the company. Password managers encrypt and keep all keys in a centralized place that can only be accessed with a master key.

You must, however, ensure you keep the password under wrap. It would even be better to make it a habit of regularly changing your passwords.

Document security checklist

Most companies storing data digitally or electronically have fallen victims to cyber-attacks and document breaches, and to reduce such inconveniences, ensure to:

  • Establish any potential risks of document breaches and deploy adequate security policies
  • Use antivirus, spyware, and malware tools amongst others to prevent virus attacks on your documents
  • Regularly update and install your operating systems
  • Deploy the use of user management to prevent unauthorized access of files
  • Organize security training awareness to inform your employees on various safety risks and how to avoid them
  • In a case where you're destroying your storage equipment, ensure no data remain in it—even better, send it to certified data recycling company.
  • Ensure adequate security of your company Wi-Fi and limit its access
  • You can as well protect all the company hardware with tamper-resistant precautions and labeling
  • Ensure no employee posts something that might aid or disclose your company details
  • If any of your employees leave for another company, ensure you immediately change their data access and passwords

 For the companies that use paper-based document management techniques, provide to:

  • Shred or burn your data devices to prevent any information recovery on disposed of items
  • Ensure no employees or non-employee infiltrate your document storage rooms
  • Avoid should surfing when having documents in public places
  • Have in-house security stand by to protect or lock any confidential information

Before we discuss the importance of document safety, let's look at the summary of document management and safety concerns.

Key points on file security

1.     Document security measures aim to protect businesses’ or companies’ data and ensure companies comply with legal data requirements, like protection of privacy help prevent any fraud/ID theft or financial losses.

2.     File security restricts access to various and foe the paper-based documents should be kept under lock. Plus, only managers should be allowed to access them.

3.     Electronic document systems can help restrict document access, mainly when the employees are grouped into various levels with different access permissions and rights.

Also, documents access rights are only include viewing and editing. However, some individuals can only view but not edit documents. But depending on the level of employees, you can give others both the viewing and editing privileges.

4.     Most document security problems would come from employees' dishonesty or carelessness. So, restrict access rights and only give employees when the need arises. That includes senior employees, as they should only access certain documents to complete various tasks.

5.     Internet comes with many advantages. However, it is also a means that hackers and cyber-criminals send threats and malicious software to wipe out essential business data.

But, you guide your data by installing security software or applications like anti-spyware and antivirus programs. You can also implement firewalls with secure access mechanisms and regularly update your operating systems.

6.     You can use electronic signatures to help authenticate your document. They help senders sign any outgoing files and enable recipients to confirm that the document received has no alterations from the right persons.  

7.     Finally, the company must conduct regular systems reviews to determine any vulnerabilities and implement the necessary protection mechanism.

Benefits of document security 

Apart from boosting your confidence, deploying document management and security programs would benefit your company in many ways, including:

Improved organization for quick access

Most companies would want to arrange or organize their documents then place them where the documents are protected. For paper documents, you'll have storage rooms organized with file names and numbers attached to various shelves or dated.

Similarly, the electronic documents stored on the cloud would make it easy for the company to access or use anywhere and anytime they need them.

Easy to set up

Depending on the type of document the company uses, implementing security programs is an advantage to companies as it’s easy to train their employees on different techniques. For instance, employees can move their files from their desktops to their password-protected accounts to achieve data encryption by dragging and dropping.

Ensure company meet security compliance requirements

Organizations that fail to implement data privacy may face several non-compliance fines and penalties. You also risk losing your license and other valuable business relationships without following the guidelines.

Help prevent breaches that would hurt the business

Increased insecurity in a company would result in customers' mistrust. The business may lose their clients to their competitor, leading to a bad review. The customer may also sue the firm costing a lot of fines.

Improves company brand value

Many organizations suffer damaged reputations due to breaches, which lowers their brand value or support. However, when you protect your customers’ data and ensure no information is lost, clients are more likely to recommend your company to others.

Ensure a paperless company

Those organizations that decide to take their data operations online or digital would not have to deal with the problems of typing, editing and scanning documents. But they would increase their document efficiency and save time and the cost of printing.

Protect and support customer wishes

The general population is now aware of and understands their privacy policies and is increasingly concerned about managing their personal data. Therefore, individuals expect to have their data protected with the access and control rights only given to them.

Conclusion

Document management and security have become a significant concern for various organizations, which have to secure their client's and company's confidential data from hackers or unauthorized access. So, to ensure the complete protection of documents, firms need to deploy various security programs.

Firms that are still dependent on paper-based documents have to secure their storage facilities by locking and hiring in-person security persons to guide the offset data stores. Also, they can use fire and flood security systems to help them during a flood or fire outbreak.

However, the digitally focused companies prone to security breaches should ensure no hackers get to their data by installing various security techniques. You can use Access Control Lists to manage and track those who might have accessed a particular document at a given time. You can also encrypt your data with keys only known to managers and other authorized persons. 

Contributor: admin
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