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Security has no alternatives, and business documents are no exception.

Documents are your company's assets. They contain sensitive information about the organization, and safeguarding them from fraudulent means is an organization's significant task.

Enterprises produce an exponentially growing amount of documents each year. Therefore, managing access and authorization is much facilitated by having a clear, well-defined document security plan. The success of your business, in the long run, depends on your ability to protect and manage these assets. Your documents are shielded from dangers associated with unauthorized access by adequately protecting them.

Let's look at document security in detail and how you can streamline the process to ensure maximum safety for your documents.

What is document security?

Document security ensures all your business documents used during communicating internally and externally are secure.

There are multiple ways to do this, including password protection, multi-factor authentication, secure cloud storage, role-based access, and more. These are just some ways to ensure you're protecting your documents. But, to be legally compliant, you might have to use a document processing platform like Nanonets, which is SOC2 and GDPR compliant and provides round-the-clock secure cloud hosting for document storage.


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It is best to go through the document security features. Enabling several document security features simultaneously helps simplify the process of securely sharing information for end users, going beyond just adding more layers of protection. The specific features you receive are determined by the service you are utilizing. The most common document security elements that you will probably see are listed below:

  • Restricted access
  • Encryption
  • Watermarking
  • Password protection
  • Information Rights Management
  • Document expiry
  • Document tracking

Restricted Access

Administrators can grant access to users by using access control mechanisms available in most collaborative tools and cloud services. Access to sensitive documents is only permitted for authorized users. Editing privileges may be reserved for a select few people, while others may simply be permitted to read or comment. If you design your infrastructure, sensitive information-containing papers will only ever be kept in locations with restricted access, making oversight much simpler to maintain. They can be seen or edited by the people or organizations who need to, and unauthorized efforts to access the papers will result in warnings.

Encryption

Only someone with the associated cryptographic key can access the data when a document or drive is encrypted. Any information in the document will become meaningless text if the key isn't there. There is no way to decrypt the file without the right key, even if it ends up in the wrong hands. Documents can be sent or stored with encryption applied to them. The most effective cloud security providers offer seamless encryption services for everything you access in the cloud.

Watermarking

A firm might watermark a document with a logo or an image positioned after the text to show it belongs to them. By using it to promote safe user behaviour, watermarking can be used in document security. On susceptible documents, you might add a watermark notice the document to notify users that the material is private. This serves as an additional warning to be cautious about where and how the document is shared.

Password protection

An extra layer of security is offered by enabling password protection for documents. Without the password, the document cannot be opened if, for whatever reason, it ends up in the wrong hands. Of course, you need a safe method for storing, sharing, and changing passwords. You might put it on a secure server that only authorized individuals can access, share it with the team in a Google Meet, or both.

Information Rights Management

Information Rights Management secures sensitive information, much as Digital Rights Management, which safeguards content with copyright. IRM lets you control how your papers are processed, even after sending them to another firm. Unauthorized users from entering or leaving your network are stopped by the permissions that are stored in the document and authenticated by an Information Rights Management server. Control whether users may edit the content by creating documents that are set in the view-only option.

Document Expiry

One of the fundamental concepts of good security hygiene is to delete old documents regularly. By employing document expiry policies, you may ensure that information doesn't stay around any longer than it needs to. Document expiry gives the company access to what they require without making assets permanently accessible. The best thing is that these procedures can be set in default settings.

Document tracking

Document tracking lets you know who downloaded, printed, and read the document. The locations, IP addresses, and frequency of user access to the asset may be visible to you, depending on the document security option you choose.


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Why is Document Security Important?

Document security is crucial for upholding client confidence in your company and compliance with data protection laws. Organizations must know their sensitive information is safe and secure across all communication channels when they handle or work with personal data.

You gain your consumers' trust and keep their confidence in your service by providing them with document security. Your professional relationship will therefore develop further. Document security precautions are necessary for various reasons, not just trust. As we discussed, there are other additional factors, such as:

  • Consumer trust and confidence in your services
  • Financial consequences of a data breach
  • Upsurge of cybercrime
  • Reducing the risk of a data breach
  • Reputational damage

Financial Consequence

Due to the significance of data breaches, your business will incur financial costs, especially in light of GDPR limitations. Following a breach, you might need to complete the following tasks even though there are some procedures you should have completed to become GDPR compliant before May 2018:

  • A data audit
  • Thoroughly review the compliance procedures
  • If necessary, examine any data compliance documents and have your lawyer rewrite them.
  • In addition, your employees would have to put in more effort to secure the breach, look into it, and find a solution. Additionally, they would have to examine your procedures to ensure that a situation of the same nature couldn't happen again.

Inevitably, this diverts your employees' attention from their regular tasks, which lowers productivity and ultimately has a negative financial impact on your company.

To protect against attacks, make investments in communication systems or collaborate with those who already have secure networks in place. The data of your consumers and their faith in you are safe and secure thanks to various precautions taken by businesses with strong security cultures. Cybercrime specialists should test systems regularly to identify and patch any potential vulnerabilities. Processing and procedures for educating, monitoring, and controlling staff access to data, as well as numerous other analog and digital controls over data processes

Avoiding data breaches

Any organization must take data breaches seriously. It can negatively impact your clients and staff if sensitive data is exposed.

Such violations consist of:

  • Hardware or network access without authorization
  • Incorrect recipient data transmission
  • Distributing data to numerous destinations while enabling recipient visibility
  • A customer's web portal displaying incorrect data
  • Cybersecurity issues like malware and unauthorized access can also lead to data breaches.

Whatever the scope of a data breach, you must immediately notify the impacted individuals and report it to the appropriate authorities, such as the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), within seventy-two hours of becoming aware of it. Every data leak is not the consequence of nefarious conduct. Human error can cause breaches in some cases. Your team must be knowledgeable about their roles, have received proper training, and that your communications system offers reliable document security.

Cyber crimes

People working online, remotely accessing networks, and logging onto portals has led to a rise in cybercrime, such as using malware to steal data from networks. People are seriously at risk from cybercrime. In October 2020, the BBC reported that a security breach that targeted software used to generate money for UK institutions and charities resulted in cybercriminals accessing and stealing bank information and user passwords, potentially affecting millions of individuals.

Documents and passwords must be protected because financial information and passwords are precious. Every step of the document and communication process, from initial processing to sending the documents, depends on this. You may lessen your risk of cybercrime by using a secure and tried-and-true online communication method. It eliminates the need to send insecure emails to transmit sensitive information by allowing your recipients to view their information on encrypted pages.

Human Impact

It is crucial for your business to consistently have the full confidence and trust of your clients. This is because trust is the keystone of imbibing loyalty to the customers. Making sure that the personal and financial data you handle for your clients are safe and secure is a vital component of this. This also applies to verbal exchanges. However, you must ensure that it's as safe as possible if you communicate with your customers, staff, and stakeholders.

Any data breach can be terrible for your business's brand and customer trust and cost your company a ton. However, adopting a role based access platform gives you access to enhanced security features that help you better protect your client's data.

Reputation

If someone sends the incorrect information to the incorrect recipient, it is a breach of GDPR. Additionally, it might harm your brand's future and your organization's reputation. Customer confidence, which is essential for success, as was previously said, is undermined by insecure documents. Most of all, this may cause your clients to stop doing business with you because it can frequently take years to repair.

Therefore, it is crucial that both offline and online documents are secure and that you have procedures in place to ensure that correspondence is efficiently managed to reduce the possibility of a data breach or other problems.


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When are your documents not protected?

Sensitive data has always been required to be kept secure by businesses, but with so much daily work shifting to the cloud, the rules have altered. Both customers and employees want instant access to company resources. Documents pose challenges in four categories as firms offer this level of cloud connectivity:

Accidental loss

Most of the leaks are caused by workers who share incorrect documents or make them public by mistake.

Regulatory exposure

As per the security standards, firms that must abide by PMI, HIPAA, GDPR, and other laws must store and share documents.

Hacking and piracy

Attacks on corporations have become more sophisticated. There can be the theft of sensitive documents that can be stolen and illicitly sold.

There could be unauthorized copies of documents. Bad actors occasionally obtain documents through legal channels just to edit, copy, or use them without permission. An organization that has cloud assets has a huge attack surface. Numerous gadgets dispersed across unidentified networks will be present in even the smallest of businesses.

Working across several platforms, remote teams communicate by exchanging documents. With so many tools to keep track of, it is simple to leave links open or make other errors. A sensitive document is suddenly made available to everyone who requests it. Whether they are sending a document in Microsoft Teams or sharing a link to a whitepaper in Google Meet, users have to be highly vigilant that access doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

How to minimize document security breaches?

You can reduce document security breaches by using an automated document management system like Nanonets. Nanonets gives you complete visibility into all your document processes and automates manual processes like approval, document access, and document audit trail so you can focus on important tasks.

Nanonets is a SOC2 and GDPR-compliant intelligent document processing platform. With its no-code workflows and automated approval processes, you can monitor all the document changes, document access, and more with a simple, easy and secure platform.

Why should you use Nanonets?

  • 14 day free trial
  • Setup in 1 day
  • Easy to use
  • SOC2 and GDPR compliant
  • Free cloud document storage for every customer
  • Cloud & On-premise hosting
  • Powerful OCR software
  • End-to-end document processing workflows
  • 24x7 support
  • Free migration assistance
  • Free consultation call with automation experts
  • 500+ satisfied customers
  • 30Mn+ documents processed yearly

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What are the different types of document security procedures?

Document security is merely one part of overall security efforts. Protecting numerous types of sensitive information, such as proprietary, financial, client lists, sales-strategy reports, etc., should be your first priority; otherwise, the success of your entire firm will be compromised.

Document security can take many forms, including document encryption, digital right management, watermarking, and well-defined access control to guarantee that documents are secure and can only be seen by authorized access. Most of these precautions must be implemented by organizations for maximum security.

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Digital rights management is the process of limiting the use of digital materials that are protected by copyright. The purpose of DRM tools is to protect the copyright holder's rights and forbid unauthorized distribution or modification. By requiring authorization before being opened, DRM will increase the security of your papers. This will guarantee that only those with the necessary access rights can view the material.

Document Audit Trail

To keep track of who accessed which documents and when and what changes were made, most document management systems on the market preserve a thorough history of all actions taken on each document. This is extremely helpful if you need to know who read, shared, and worked on the document.

Watermarking

When added statically or dynamically to the source document, a watermark is kind of a stamp used in the form of text or an image. Watermarking ought to be employed to promote responsible user conduct in document security.

By dynamically adding the employee's name to the original documents, it can help identify the source of a leak and stop employees from leaking information if utilized properly. Applying a watermark on drawings is crucial in the construction industry to identify the viewer, the date, and the time they accessed the document, as well as to let them know that this is not the most recent version.

Documents or Files Encryption

Documents could be on-premises or in the cloud when your employees submit files. These documents must be encrypted so that no one may enter the folder and examine the files. If it goes to the wrong person, in this case, people won't be able to read the content.

Most technologies allow for the encryption of physical and digital files so that only those using such systems can access them. As a result, access and readability are restricted to authorized individuals. They contain specific features to make it more difficult for someone to duplicate, modify, change, or otherwise tamper with security documents.

Well-Defined Access Control

Administrators can control access to digital documents at both the folder and document levels with most document management systems. Separate your users into groups, then grant permission to a particular group at the folder or document level. In this way, only people who are a part of this specific group will have access to view, edit, and other functions on the documents.

Metadata-Based Document Security

You can set granular permissions on document metadata using several market-available solutions. For instance, if a firm gives access to the document to its clients, each one of them would see a different set of statistical or empirical data. This helps the company to deal with many clients at the same time.

Develop a Record Retention Policy

The term "record retention" refers to the techniques and procedures used by businesses to preserve essential data for a certain period for many purposes. Tangible and digital records, including spreadsheets, documents, and scanned papers, are included in this.


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Tips to Improve Document Security

Unstructured data, unsafe files, security breaches, human errors, and illegal storage access are key issues with document security. You risk losing customer information, financial information, and even ongoing business relationships. Although document security is a complex subject, the following advice can help you avoid any problems:

Manage your documents securely

The adequate way to protect documents is to only allow people who need to see them access information. A secure document environment can be maintained by password-protecting documents and limiting access. Systems for managing documents electronically may be useful. These systems will include documents, revisions, and general activity audit trails. Audit trails must be actively reviewed for questionable activities that can endanger document security standards. You must keep sensitive data securely if you need to destroy or store them.

Protect your data

A company may suffer adverse effects if its encryption system is ineffective. Additionally, your business needs to be secured from modern malware and antivirus programs. Additionally, restricting access to the Internet for all employees lowers the risk of staff members falling for external phishing scams or downloading malware that can infect the entire company. You can use a VPN if free public WiFi is your only option. You can also employ hardware encryption to safeguard your documents from portable device theft.

Be conscious of shared devices

Another vulnerability in document security is shared equipment like printers. Only authorized customers should be permitted access to the systems' resources and network applications to reduce the hazard. Reduce the number of passwords required by protecting printers with password authentication using your existing security architecture. Software for print management can keep documents in a print queue and keep a complete audit trail of every document activity. In order to stop someone from stealing your confidential data or infecting your company's network, access to physical ports is frequently blocked as a standard security measure.

Prevent workers from becoming victims of phishing

Today, the vast majority of successful cyberattacks originate from phishing emails, which also pose the biggest domestic threat. Check the sender's actual email address first, not just the sender's name, so to speak. Typos, inaccurate or marginally modified logos should also catch your eye. To prevent jeopardizing confidential materials, double-check the email with your IT staff if you have any doubts.

Modify the document format

The digital files are converted into password-protected files with secure encryption and authorization controls for regulatory compliance by sending files as PDFs. Changing the document's format reduces the risk of forgery because the document cannot be altered by anybody other than its author. When utilizing Word formats, hackers can obtain the metadata that was used to create the document. Additionally, electronic signatures make it easier for senders to quickly obtain a signature on outgoing documents and allow recipients to confirm that the documents they receive are truly from the person they claim and that no modifications have been made during identity verification.

Use passwords effectively

Attackers will find it more challenging with a strong password policy and Multi-Factor Authentication. Here are a few fundamental guidelines regarding passwords:

  • Never keep your passwords written anywhere
  • The better, longer, and more complicated the password, the better.
  • Use a unique password only once across all of your accounts and platforms.

Conclusion

For all businesses, maintaining high levels of document security is essential. Without it, competitors might be able to gain private information about clients or employees might have access to compensation or performance information that they should not. The danger of exposing sensitive information to the public can be significantly decreased by using organization-wide document management and document security best practices.


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FAQs

What happens if you don’t protect your documents?

Here are a few examples of the negative consequences of losing documents:

Competitors gain access to private information, such as the profit of the company or employee records. The workers gain access to data like promotion updates beforehand. Security breaches rise due to the theft of data. Moreover, hackers can gain access to sensitive data. Teams in the corporation become less productive due to the theft of correct data, which can lead to clients losing trust in the company.

What are the advantages of document security?

It may seem impossible to tackle the process of digitizing vast amounts of documents. But organizations who decide to invest in an electronic document management system provide themselves the groundwork to help automate workflows and expand mission-critical procedures. Given below are the main advantages of setting up an electronic document management system for your company and increasing business productivity.

  • Increased productivity
  • Better collaboration
  • Reduced Storage Space
  • Enhanced security
  • Improved Regulatory Compliance
  • Easier Document Retrieval
  • Better Backup

How do you ensure the security of documents?

You and your staff view an electronic document via PCs and mobile devices. They employ passcodes to accomplish it. To prevent your staff from disclosing their location when accessing the web, make sure you set up a VPN on any device. You can disable any device's automatic password remembering. You should instruct everyone to follow suit when conducting employee training. Sensitive information could be made public if the lost gadget recalls all of the passwords to the company's assets.

Also, ensure that you do not let your staff members use their personal devices to store private information. You can achieve this by turning off the export of electronic documents.

What is the major component of document security?

There are many different techniques and disciplines that makeup document security. It seeks to protect your data from illegal access and maintain its integrity, prevent malware from taking hold of your devices and networks, store the crucial data for when you need it, enable a secure and seamless information transfer between networks and devices, and safeguard your networks.

Document security measures are compartmentalized to ensure that all potential risks are addressed due to varied and complex responsibilities of document security protocols. Confidentiality, integrity, and availability—aspects of the document's security—are the components that specify its accountability.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is the act of concealing. It indicates that only authorized individuals can see the material. The first step in document security is to prevent the document from being viewed by unauthorized people.

Integrity

Integrity implies originality, and this component is used to ensure that the data is accurate and undamaged. Ensuring that the document isn't changed due to an error or a criminal act is part of maintaining integrity.

Availability

A relatively simple concept of document security is the document's availability. The phrase means having ready access to the data. The relevance of availability is increased by hostile attacks that try to prevent authorized users from accessing the data.

What is digital document security?

One of the main objectives of organizations nowadays is protecting digital documents that hold vital information and data. A data breach can have a wide range of negative effects that go well beyond the simple loss of important information. A data breach may have negative financial effects, reputational harm, and potential legal ramifications.

Because they include a variety of vital information regarding both personal and organizational data, digital documents are objects that need to be secured. Securing digital documents, which also refers to securing information, ensures business continuity, lowers risk, and maximizes return on investment.

Your digital papers can be protected using encryption. A document is encoded through the process of encryption so that only those with the necessary access can open and decrypt it. Users must need a password or pin code to decrypt encrypted data. Encryption is a crucial yet straightforward procedure to ensure that your digital documents are safe while being kept and transported.


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