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Best Practices for Document Management Security

In most organizations today, you will find that there is a growing need for improving security practices surrounding confidential data. In a survey by Ponemon Institute, 90 percent of respondents said that their organizations experienced the loss of sensitive documents during the past year.

This kind of breach in security has a negative impact on business. It damages the reputation of the firm as well as reduces confidence in the business. Most of the time, it also leads to lawsuits and criminal penalties. That’s why it is more important than ever to ensure complete security. However, many businesses, especially small organizations, have very little understanding of how to manage it effectively.

Physical Paperwork Is Not Secure

With rising cases of data breaches recorded at major companies, it’s easy to believe that paper documents are far more secure than digital records. But in actuality, digital records are more secure than paper. There is a high risk and potential for fines involved in mismanaging physical documents. For starters, physical items are much easier to steal than electronic ones. Improper storage of physical records can also destroy your reputation and influence your customer base.

Identity theft and mismanagement of personal records is on the rise. In 2011, the New York City Police Department misplaced confidential data regarding the weapons of mass destruction task force. It was found in the Manhattan trash. These mishaps could have been avoided by transferring the documents to electronic versions and storing those digital versions in a secure place. The best solution is document management. This technology enables you to digitize your paper documents and convert them into electronic ones for easy access. While it may be an excellent way to manage data, it is essential to practice strict security measures.

1. Keep Data to Authorized Personnel

The thing about paper files is that they are accessible to everyone, and it’s nearly impossible to create an audit trail. There are chances that the document may even go missing, either misplaced or stolen. It won’t come as a surprise if the document is found in a trash can, and if it is not noticed in time, then the original data is gone.

With a document management system, it is possible to alleviate the risk of unintentional data loss. Besides, you can also keep tabs on who is viewing your information. With electronic files on a shared system, you can use password protection to control access at the document level. Only people who are given access by admin will be able to view or edit documents. Plus, you can also create an audit trail to track who has accessed files, including the downloads and distribution of documents. For security purposes, you can also maintain tight controls on your documents to ensure you know who has been interacting with your data.

2. Have a Controlled Document Distribution

Storing electronic versions of files makes it easy to share documents. But unlike paper documents, you can control who can access the files. Thus, you don’t have to worry about shredding the wrong documents. Furthermore, while electronic documents can be easily shared via email, you can still protect sensitive documents by restricting access. Only authorized users will be able to view, edit, and share those documents. In fact, you can also adopt a digital rights management technology that limits the number of times a file can be read or printed. It ensures that you don’t lose control of sensitive data and prevents the circulation of unauthorized documents.

3. Retrieval of Lost Files

Once paper files get lost or stained by an unfortunate coffee spill, you can’t retrieve the original contents. However, that’s not the case with document management software. Using a centralized document management solution can simplify the recovery of lost files, especially if the files are stored in the cloud.

In fact, a good document management system further enhances your document security. For instance, you don’t have to remember where you saved your document. The system does it for you. It reduces the human error of misplacing or mysterious disappearance of files. Even when you mistakenly delete a file, specific systems will allow you to retrieve those lost files within a given time frame. Thus, by implementing a document management system, you shouldn’t have to worry about saving the file in a wrong folder or moving the file without telling others.

4. Regulatory Compliance

For industries like healthcare, food and beverages, and more, companies need to comply with certain government regulations and standards. You can easily integrate regulatory compliance with your document management solution to make sure you meet the standards. Or if you are being audited, it makes it easy to find all the appropriate paperwork faster. You can quickly catalog and recover all the files needed during the audit process.

5. Make Use of Electronic File Sharing

The easiest and quickest way of sharing files might be through email. But it is also one of the riskiest ways of sharing confidential information since it can be easily intercepted. The best security solution is to adopt an online client portal. This can solve the problem of sharing sensitive information with the designated person without the fear of being hacked. The system shares it in a secure and encrypted form.

Streamline Process and Add Security

The truth is no document management software is completely safe. Every system has its limitations. But by putting a better document control and strategy in place, you can drastically increase the security of the system. Even when documents are tightly secured from employee interference, the data is still vulnerable to users with system administrator rights. Using document security software provides you with an audit log that informs you if anyone tries to tamper with the data or makes unauthorized changes. To conclude, always secure the document management software with good network and firewall protocols.


Himanshu Singh, Marketing Specialist

Himanshu Singh is a Marketing Specialist at Software Suggest. He is well versed in platforms like eCommerce, document management, and invoicing software. He is also interested in domains like Machine Learning and Semiconductors. In his spare time, he enjoys guitar, badminton, and photography. You can learn more about Himanshu on LinkedIn.