Regardless of how small or big your business may be, you will have a good amount of business documents you need to protect and secure. From legal documents, financial records, and internal documents, to HR(Human Resources) records and customer data, any document with personally identifiable information (PII) should be protected at all costs.
While most documents are now shifting online, providing greater convenience and faster transactions for your business, it also means your digital documents are becoming more at risk of cyber-attacks.
Learn how to secure yourD with the following tips:
1. Restricting Access
The majority of data breaches are caused internally. Although most are caused by human error more than intended breaches, the most significant threats will come from your employees and workers.
To minimize the security risk to your digital documents, you need to restrict access. Even if you have the most trustworthy or well-trained employees in documents security, it only takes a single minor slip-up for serious problems to happen.
Also, not everyone in your business needs to know or should have access to all kinds of digital documents and information. You can use password protection in order to restrict an unauthorized user from editing or opening, printing, and copying documents.
Also, when an employee leaves your company, make sure you revoke their access in order to prevent the download of sensitive business documents.
2. Encrypting Documents
Encryption is a security method of converting data or text into unreadable code. Without the appropriate key, which could be a security certificate or a password, an encrypted document will be useless.
By encrypting your documents, you can ensure your sensitive data stays secure and hidden when they are stored or sent over the internet.
3. Using Passwords Wisely
Speaking of document encryption and passwords, using the same password on many websites is not a smart move. You must have a strong password policy, and never have your employees’ repeat passwords across several platforms and accounts.
To help your employees, invest in a reliable password manager. This tool can securely protect and store passwords. It can sometimes generate unique, strong passwords. Plus, it provides the convenience of not having to remember different passwords to access documents.
4. Using Electronic Signatures
Once upon a time, when a business needs to get a signature from a client, they would have to send the documents to the client via email. Then, the client would have to print, sign, scan, and email the documents back to you.
This process isn’t only time-consuming, but it also opens sensitive documents to security risks when sending over the internet. This can include tampering. With an electronic signature, you can speed up the document signing with just a few clicks at the same time ensuring the authenticity of signatures, and keeping documents tamper-proof.
5. Using Document Management Systems
Perhaps one of the easiest ways for cybercriminals and hackers to get a hold of sensitive documents is through email. Emails are quite vulnerable to hacks. And it is the simplest way for an employee to inadvertently send a critical or sensitive document attachment to the wrong person.
A document management system can help prevent this from happening. Because all the work happens within a single system—from creating or requesting documents to uploading and reviewing, to signing off—you won’t have to send sensitive documents via email. Plus, you avoid having to use two systems in one process, which can provide an intercept point for hackers.
Most document management software features a whole range of privacy settings that allow you to control exactly who can open and access which documents, which is critical in keeping your paperwork secure and your business compliant.
6. Setting a Company-Wide Document Security Policy
Creating a clear, well-defined document security and storage policy is another easy project that can make a huge difference in protecting your business documents.
With a detailed document security policy, your employees will know how to protect business documents and data, as well as understand what is expected of them. It ensures that everyone is on the same page in terms of protecting company documents.
There are various rules you can include in your policy including:
- Implementing a ‘Clean Desk Policy,’ wherein employees ensure all documents and data are cleared, locked, and password protected when leaving their desks. This way, no wandering eyes can steal critical information.
- Destroying unnecessary digital documents from decades ago. If you still need to retain a copy of these documents, for some reason, make sure to protect them with a password and store them in secure cloud storage.
- Creating policies for how long to keep a document and how to properly destroy them.
7. Educating Employees About Security
Other than creating a document security policy, your business can benefit from training your employees. As mentioned before, data breaches often result from an employee’s mistake. This is because some employees aren’t aware of the importance of the document and data security.
Understanding and following the proper document security protocols should not only be reserved for your IT team, department heads, or those working closely with your business’s most sensitive documents.
Every employee from the top down should be fully educated about document security, password protection, and cybersecurity agendas. In this way, employees are more empowered to contribute to the overall safety of your business documents and data.
8. Doing Regular Backups
In case of a data breach or document tampering, loss of data can disrupt and cripple your business processes. To prevent this from happening, make sure you have a regular backup routine in place.
Make sure to always back up the important documents on password-protected hard drives, or on a cloud backup service. In this way, if security breaches do happen and any of your secure documents are corrupted, stolen, or deleted, you will have a spare copy that will prevent your operations from coming to a halt.
All of these methods should help in keeping your sensitive business documents and data safe and secure. With the best security practices in place, accompanied by the proper software tools to maximize your efforts, you can create a powerful document security setup, reducing the risk of sensitive information and documents data leaking from your office.
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