by Andy Jones, Xerox

Financial institutions like banks and insurance companies collect, store and transmit an incredible amount of customer personal information, including social security numbers, account numbers and transaction history. This makes them a ripe target for theft and fraudulent activity. According to Gemalto, a leader in digital security, more than 1 billion data records were breached last year alone. 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker went so far as to deem 2014 “the year of the data breach.”

This risk has led to an increased scrutiny over the security of customer data. Banks and insurance companies must take a strategic approach to security, both to maintain customer trust and loyalty and also to keep pace with compliance standards.

One of the challenges banks and insurance companies face is that the customer-facing processes and transactions are often very document- and paper-intensive. Enterprise content management (ECM) platforms can help address this challenge by digitizing documents, enabling secure sharing, and creating automated processes with audit trails.

ECM technology secures sensitive data in a number of ways:

Secure capture: ECM enables scanning of documents directly into approved workflows which are restricted to appropriate users.

Multi-level permissions: ECM allows organizations to dictate which individuals and groups of users have access to specific documents and libraries.Lifecycle management: Organizations can set up automatic reviews, archiving, and destruction of documents to meet industry-specific regulations.

Audit preparation: Audit trails and reporting enable compliant tracking of content.

The benefits of ECM extend far beyond security and compliance:

Digitization: Streamline manual, paper-intensive business processing and claims management activities.

Employee productivity: Employees reap the productivity benefits from more efficient workflows, and more productive employees tend to be happier.Customer service: Improved access to information can lead to an increase in customer retention and new business. According to a recent report, 30 percent of banking executives view satisfying more demanding customers and retaining their loyalty as their biggest challenges.

Ultimately, organizations that manage content effectively hold a significant competitive advantage. Understanding the benefits is the first step. The next step is implementation. Without putting care and consideration into implementation, you may not unlock the full potential from your new technology.

It’s important to train employees on new technology to ensure that security protocols are being followed and to prevent lost productivity. According to the Gemalto report, of the 1 billion records breached in 2014, 25 percent were caused by accident or human error. In order to ensure employees are obeying policies, organizations must start by involving employees throughout the entire process – from research to implementation. If they are invested in the solution from start to finish, they will be determined to make it work and use it correctly.

Additionally, organizations must seek out a vendor that is both agile and flexible, one that can tailor the new technology to an existing workflow to not only meet employees’ needs, but ensure the solution works within the industry regulations. An individualized solution will simplify deployment and make it easier for employees to use with the new system correctly to route information securely.

Today’s advancements make it a very exciting time to do be doing business. But concerns about protecting personal data and content are not going away. Industries need to effectively address security and compliance, and ECM technology can help.  

Andy Jones is vice president, Workflow Automation, Large Enterprise Operations, Xerox. 

This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of Workflow.