Your organization relies on its document management system for its everyday needs. It’s where you and your team track your tasks, save sensitive information about employees and customers, share documents, and store all the data that’s crucial for running the business.
The most breaches occur in the business industries, followed by medical/healthcare, banking/financial/credit, education, and government/military. If any of your organization’s information is released in a breach, you may lose hundreds or even thousands of hours worth of work, along with having your secrets unwillingly revealed to competitors. It can set you back in a huge way.
Though you may feel powerless against these security threats, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your document management system is secure. Here are a few basics you can begin implementing right away.
With Document Management, TRUST Comes First
You should always utilize a document management platform that promises to protect you. This is something you won’t always get from a system that’s free or that isn’t tailored to meet your business’ needs.
When searching out a document management system, consider the process you’d use to hunt down the perfect babysitter. References and a clean record are crucial. Are they new to the business or do they have a few years under their belt? Are they willing to work long hours if a problem occurs and can they quickly put out small fires? And most importantly, are they trustworthy enough to take care of your most precious belongings? With nannies and document management systems alike, you don’t want to cut corners or make a choice based on the lowness of their rate. Would you really trust a stranger to watch your files for FREE?
Before you sign up for a document management platform, decide your price point. Then gather the specific challenges your business faces from not having a proper system in place. Having this in plain view will turn your company’s needs into actual actions. You should also research what other companies in your niche use and trust. They are the peers of your business, after all.
Drop the Paper
In the past, a locked filing cabinet made us feel secure. But times have changed and these days, nothing short of a digital lock and key is required to keep your data safe. And protection isn’t the only concern, your files now need to be completely shareable and readily accessible to you and your team.
In order to get all the necessary files into your computer, company network, and backup hard drive, you’ll need to use a form of document scanning technology. Doing so will make it much simpler to get to your documents so that you can edit and distribute them, and also keep them safe.
Use Various Security Methods
There are some documents that only your executives should be privy to. There are other documents that the whole team needs to be able to access. You should absolutely password protect the sensitive documents, and leave the other ones available for usage in your private network’s folders. Always know who has access to what files. Having a frequently updated list on hand along with your document management software is a good start.
When it comes to passwords…
- Ensure they aren’t easy for anyone to guess.
- Include a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, special characters, and numbers.
- Change your passwords on a regular basis and when someone leaves the company, to ensure no one breaks into confidential areas out of spite or retaliation.
- Require authentication for your documents by enforcing electronic signatures.
Back Up Everything!
Let’s take a worst-case scenario: Hackers accessed your sales reports last night. They stole everything they desired, and erased all other files and folders in their wake! Amid all the chaos, you can’t recall if you had backed everything up. Your entire business is hanging in the balance as you scramble to find out if anyone had actually taken the right precautions ahead of time. This is what we call a nightmare situation. If all of those files and folders had been backed up to an external hard drive, nothing would really be lost. Doing routine backups of your company’s important documents ensures that no chaos is ever had. We cannot stress enough how important it is to do daily backups of your files to an additional location, either an external hard drive or to the cloud.
Train and Inform Your Employees
Before getting employees started in your company’s document management system, you should do the following:
- Start by informing them on WHAT document management software is and why it’s an important tool for your business.
- Upon training, take the time to show every new hire the ins and outs of the platform, no matter how intuitive. Never assume that everyone will know how to properly utilize it.
- Explain the consequences and repercussions that will happen upon sharing any confidential information.
- Consult with your legal team to create a form that highlights how employees must keep company information confidential and not distribute it to anyone outside of the company. Have everyone on your team read and sign it, offering to answer any questions they have in regards to the form.
When you have a document management system, it becomes the center of your business. Without it, you’d have to hire a team to stay on top of organizing, filing, authorizing, and securing your data. Most companies don’t have the time to invest in document management while taking care of everything else that comes their way. How safe their files are should be the least of any worrier’s worries. When you have a system in place, it can put your mind at ease and let you focus on what matters most: your business.
A version of this article was originally published as Keep Your Data Safe and Secure with Document Management by Kylie Ora Lobell on July 16th, 2015.