Guest Contributor

Optimizing Document Workflows for Cybersecurity

By | Charlie Fletcher

When many of us think about hackers and cyber attacks, we often think about viruses and malware. While those are realistic issues, when it comes to business, the biggest threat is the theft of corporate and customer data. Every day, we communicate through various means, from reading comments and questions over instant messenger to sending documents through various portals, be it the cloud, project management software, and more.

The problem is that if your organization does not take cybersecurity seriously, then your documents could be at risk of theft and, in the wrong hands, this digital paperwork could destroy your business. So, you need to optimize your document workflow for efficiency and security. Let’s talk about how to do just that.

The Importance Of Protecting Your Document Workflow

Many business owners really don’t realize the very real threat that hackers can create for their businesses. If you have customer data listed on any emails or paperwork and that documentation is stolen, then it could mean bad things for the people you are meant to protect. If their credit card information is stolen, then hackers can use it to take out fraudulent loans on the customer’s behalf. Even email addresses and birth dates can be used to send phishing emails or be sold on the black market.

If you are not vigilant with protecting your customer’s data and it is stolen, the victim will blame you. If your systems are breached, and many costumes are impacted, then your company could have a reputation problem, and customers may go to a different business that takes their security seriously. You could also spend millions of dollars in recovery efforts, including paying to fix your reputation, patching any vulnerabilities in your systems, and paying potential fines.

There is also the chance that a past employee or a competing company may get a hold of your data and use it to try and get an advantage over your organization. Corporate espionage is a very real threat, and you do not want to see your business fail just because you didn’t make a plan to secure your documents and data.

Needless to say, you need to take some time to look at your document workflow and verify that you have the proper protections in place before you put what you have built at risk.

Smart Document Storage Is Key

The first step that you need to take is to find the best way to store and backup your data so that it can’t be stolen in the first place or can be quickly recovered in the case of a breach. As a start, make sure to purchase a backup server that is separate from the main network where you can store all documents. Backups should occur every day, and those servers should be continuously maintained so they never malfunction and go down. If there ever is a cybersecurity threat, then you should be able to quickly go in and recover your data.

These days, many people are also uploading their files and their software to the cloud, so they can work from anywhere and access their paperwork at a moment’s notice. If you are interested in this idea, then you should know that there are several different cloud storage solutions, and they all have their own form of security.

When most people think about the cloud, they are thinking about public solutions like those offered by Amazon and Google. Those are suitable solutions for general work that are free of sensitive details, but the security aspect leaves a lot to be desired. As a corporation, you may want to look into a private cloud solution. A private cloud is either maintained by your company or a third party. However, this option gives you better security, and there are often employees hired by the cloud company that constantly watch for cyber threats and eliminate them on the spot.

There is also a hybrid version that allows you to use elements from both private and public options, and it can offer a bit more flexibility. In the end, it is important for management to look at their data and choose the best option.

How To Secure Your Documents

Even if you store a lot of your data on the cloud, it is still important to keep all computers and devices secure, so that if a hacker is able to infiltrate the system, they cannot steal or compromise your documents. The first step is to use smart passwords that include a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Keep all passwords in one place, such as a secured PDF document that you can lock with a detailed code that is difficult to guess.

Management and the human resources team should work together to write guidelines that all employees must follow when completing and moving paperwork throughout the company. There should be a workflow process put in place, and only employees who need to see particular paperwork to do their job should have access. Also, if an employee ever leaves your organization, HR needs to make it a point to revoke their access, so they cannot return after the fact and steal data.

In general, your employees need to be trained on all potential threats, warning signs, and how they can do their part to help. Make cybersecurity training a part of every employee orientation and have continuous training sessions several times per year. Once a worker is educated on a security topic, they should be required to sign a document that acknowledges their understanding. That signed form can be used later if an employee is negligent or knowingly shares paperwork with someone who can cause harm to your organization.

As you can see, it is essential that you look at your current document workflow process and make the tweaks necessary to ensure that your company is protected. Consider these tips and have confidence that your internal paperwork stays where it belongs.

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