If I ask you: What are your security concerns? I can get a myriad of answers. Why? Because each of us thinks about security in different ways.
Personal/Perimeter Security – There is personal security when you are walking alone in a dark parking garage after work (are there cameras?) or perimeter security around your office building protecting against intruders.
Data Storage/Transfer Security – There is data storage security for documents and records that you need to keep and reference through their lifecycle, and data transfer security when you are sharing data with a third party – as with auditors – as part of your compliance needs.
Network Security – Perhaps the most visible security concerns have been for network security and the risk of having your system breached by a hacker (Equifax, U.S. government). The breach of your wall against hostile predators opens the door to system disruptions and business upheaval especially if you are the keeper of sensitive personal data of consumers.
While safeguarding against any intrusion for each of these types of situations is important, I am going to focus on a business’s risk of exposing their sensitive information. A recent white paper by AIIM, “Eliminate Fears and Solve Business Problems with Intelligent Information Management,” cites that more than 50 percent of the group surveyed did not know if their organization had experienced an internal or external data breach, loss of data due to staff negligence or unauthorized access.
Lack of knowledge that stems from a lack of safeguards further complicates the security situation. You don’t know what you don’t know – and with your company’s data – that can be a critical problem. Taking one step back, what if the company is still paper-based? Now, we have additional security threats.
Risk of data lost from physical disaster: Fire, flood, theft, tornado and hurricane – these disasters destroy and disperse paper documents from their storage locations adding additional concern on data security.
Malicious employees: Did you leave something sensitive out on your desk? Did access to your archives allow unauthorized people in when you were not looking?
Is it lost or stolen? There is uncertainty when paper documents and records are misplaced. Could it be theft?
Without a way to safeguard against unauthorized access, knowing who has access and recording who has had access — your business is at risk. AIIM further notes in another article, “You Just Hired a Hacker, Now What?” that hacking, while important, should not be the primary concern. Employee negligence is a more likely threat than overt cyberhacks.
It is a given that paper must go
There are greater risks if you are relying on paper for your business operations and workflows. It is not only inefficient, but opens that door to unprotected access and undetectable breaches. Once you have converted the paper document to a more secure digital format, you then need to implement the actionable steps for greater safety.
Enterprise content management (ECM) solutions — combined with information governance strategies — can shore up business compliance, reduce risk and limit the repercussions of data exposure. — AIIM article: “You Just Hired a Hacker … Now What?”
With a content management system safeguarding your data, you are halfway home to protecting your data from unauthorized access. Using the cloud for data storage further ensures the continuation of business operations should a natural disaster of epic proportions hit your area. With ECM, you can centralize your critical data into a repository from which you control the access and, working with IT, you can make sure your devices have the proper safeguards in place, too.
It is critical that your software solution safeguards your data and that your MFP devices are secure; you need to ensure access to data and its transmission is secure so that you protect your company’s most important assets – your intellectual property, your customers and your strategies.
Where do I start?
If you have not already considered a content management system to decrease your risk and improve your compliance, this should be your first step. Whether you have paper (and back files) to convert or you are finding your legacy systems need updating for better operation and more security features, the content system is your critical first step.
Once in place, you can build your business rules for access and compliance, and get a comprehensive process in place to monitor the attempted (and successful) security breaches to find weak spots before a business-changing hack jeopardizes your whole operation.
In the meantime, your business operations will see other benefits by making these changes:
- No office file cabinets – more office space to expand
- Automate workflows – not lost documents – and faster processes
- Centralized digital storage – easy access for those who are authorized
- Digital Records storage – no paper, no (offsite) storage costs
If data security is keeping you up at night, you need to assess your operations to build security measures into your data access and storage — and ensure that we don’t see your company making the next set of headlines on losing data.
Joanne E. Novak
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