December Workflow: Security, Compliance and Answering the Tough Questions

Recently, my mother asked me to explain the cloud to her. Now, as most of us who work in or around IT know, the cloud is a nebulous concept at best. But I did my best to explain it in terms that would matter to a consumer: “It’s really just storing information someplace that’s not in your house.” (I’ll be expecting my Pulitzer Prize for excellence in technical journalism any day now.)

Inevitably, the next question that arose was “Why should I keep my information there?” And then, “What if the electricity goes out?” “What if terrorists attack the cloud?” “Is my information safe there?”

Well, that last question is pretty hard to answer. And let’s be honest, given the events of the past couple of years, it’s not just my mother who needs convincing. That question is  hard to answer in a way that’s going to reassure most consumers. And in fact, it’s pretty hard to answer  that question (or variants thereof) in a way that’s going to reassure a lot of CIOs, IT directors, and knowledge workers tasked with information security.

In the December 2015 issue of Workflow we try to help answer those questions with contributions from thought leaders around the industry. In doing so, I found a couple of interesting recurring themes — not at all surprising, mind you, but interesting nonetheless. First, of course, was the name “Edward Snowden.” It shows up in at least two articles in this issue, as do the words “Target,” “Sony,” and “Neiman Marcus.” I suppose when you talk about security in the year 2015-2016, those are words that instantly come to mind.

The good thing about issues like the Target breach and the WikiLeaks scandal is that they not only shone a spotlight on some of the issues corporations, government and other entities face, they’ve kept the light shining. Much like the November 13 Paris terror attacks have created high alert levels in cities throughout the world, leading to security drills and increased vigilance among police and other security forces, headline-making data breaches have placed IT departments on high alert.

There are some great articles in this issue that can help drill down on security in any number of situations. Konica Minolta’s Joanne E. Novak explores “How ECM Conquers the Monsters of Security and Compliance,” while Canon’s Hiro Imamura shares “In-House Security Threats: Failing to Secure Documents Can Lose More than Just Data.” Xerox’s Andy Jones explains how “Automated Workflows and Content Management Help Banks and Insurance Companies Meet Security and Compliance Goals,” and Alfresco’s Paul Hampton covers “From Compliance to Information Governance: Reducing Costs and Improving Security for Organizations.” And then to round things out we have some great answers from our team of experts on security and compliance in “The Wavelength” column.

We don’t have all the answers, but we have some great minds out there.  Document security is in good hands. If only I could convince my mother.

is BPO Media and Research’s editorial director. As a writer and editor, she has specialized in the office technology industry for more than 20 years, focusing on areas including print and imaging hardware and supplies, workflow automation, software, digital transformation, document management and cybersecurity.