The need for a Comprehensive Document Security Strategy

Corporate information has never been in more danger. In addition to keeping a tab on file sharing habits of employees, companies also have to deal with a large variety of document security threats, ranging from new vulnerabilities to purposeful breaches and sponsored infiltration. It is critical that organisations communicate efficiently within and outside the company, with its clients and third parties alike. However, a growing level of online communication also brings along with it the dangers that classified corporate data could be handled recklessly, thus falling into wrong hands.

Document Security

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For some organisations, sharing data in documents via paper, free file sharing services or emails are not viable options as it could result in data infringement, hacking, or unintentional exposure. Likewise, with almost every employee using smart devices to access corporate information, it is critical than ever that data security reaches beyond the periphery of the company.

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulation in play, a recent study shows that over 80% of SMEs are unaware how the new legislation will potentially hit them with large fines if they are not in accordance with the compliance. The GDPR is a new law on data protection and privacy for all people within the European Union (EU). It also deals with the transfer of personal information outside the EU and safeguarding of EU citizen data regardless of where it resides.

Although there has been much talk on it, the clear path to achieve GDPR compliance is still at large and a number of organisations are having more questions than solutions. In the clamber, most businesses begin with sweeping cybersecurity rules, or address several weaknesses in infrastructure, policies or software. However the one area that they disregard that has a relevant significance on GDPR compliance: business documents.

Business documents contain consumer data and sensitive information that means it is likely to also hold private information covered by GDPR. One of the greatest threats to business documents in most organisations and a possible liability to GDPR compliance are multifunction printers. Data protection must be ensured in secured multifunction printers at all network junctures.

What then must organisations be doing when it comes to document security and sharing of files? What must they do to ensure the company does not feature in a data breach headline? Almost every week, data security breaches are becoming a daily occurrence thus making it a larger threat to companies than cyber-attacks. A number of organisations in recent months have been fined for accidental loss of information. No doubt, these will continue, creating greater humiliation for organisations and loss of confidence among their customer base.

Data sharing platforms in an organisation must have robust capabilities that enable the protection of documents without causing conflict among users who need to ensure their jobs get done. One way to ensure that documents and PDF files are easily accessed and managed as well as protect the intellectual property of the company beyond the organisational perimeter is to implement technologies such as Information Rights Management (IRM). Companies must also have the alternative of appending specified permits, such as a time limit after which the document can no longer be accessed, even if it has already been transferred.

In a highly regulated industry, such as financial institutions or pharma companies, management must be confident that classified data about consumers, clients, contracts or directives are protected at all times. As hazards and risks continue to affect business, data security will not just be another concern but a large hurdle for not only IT departments but also senior management and directors. Every employee in the company must remember that data must be shared with one another and authorised third parties in a safe way. In many cases, it is seen that organisations rely on a few words of admonition in an employee policy as a basic message to safe data sharing.

If there are numerous data sharing tools, organisations must keep a check on what is brought into the workplace by the employees, establishing a protocol or the right standard that can guide staff to utilise the right data protection controls, without causing excess conflict within their essential business processes.

Every organisation must ensure document management for data safety and compliance. However if documents fall into unauthorised hands, it could lead to grave repercussions for an organisation. For reliable management of document progress, the PDF format of a document offers a protected framework right from its formation, redacting, archiving and deletion. Strong PDF security solutions encrypt PDF documents with industry-standard encryption and public-key cryptography to ensure passwords are not the weakest link. Organisations must look into using effective PDF solutions to reduce risks of data hacking, comply with GDPR, and improve workflows.

Osho Garg

About Author
Osho is Tech blogger. He contributes to the Blogging, Gadgets, Social Media and Tech News section on TecheHow.