Data is more important than ever, and so is sharing it. But with so many bad actors just waiting for you to make a tiny mistake, it can feel risky to send data--even within your own organization. Fortunately, document management and a few best practices are here to help.
Why Secure Document Sharing Matters
There are many moving parts when it comes to the document lifecycle, and document management has an answer for every one of them. Document and data security are no exception.
The most important thing to know about secure sharing is that there's no scenario, setup, or time when you should let it fall by the wayside. This is similar to a "zero trust" security approach, which basically says that you shouldn't assume a situation is safe for your data, even if everything seems to check out.
Let's say you don't use any secure sharing solutions. There are two basic kinds of problems you're going to run into:
When secure sharing isn't the default in your organization, employees are likely to choose whichever sharing tools are convenient and familiar. That means they might introduce new risks into your IT environment without even realizing it. On top of that, they'll have no guidance regarding best practices, limitations, and breach prevention, so they won't be prepared to handle serious security events.
Someone will eventually realize you're sharing data without proper security. The most concerning possibility here is that the wrong person will make this discovery and use the gap to their advantage, finding ways to access even more of your data and distribute it to equally unfriendly third parties. On the other hand, sometimes your current or potential customers notice a lack of secure sharing--and while they may not steal any data, they'll likely lose faith in your ability to protect their own info.
Tips for Secure Sharing
Fortunately, you don't have to just hope for the best in data sharing. Document management has plenty of solutions and tips designed to help you share securely.
Here are just a few examples:
Encryption is perhaps the simplest data-sharing solution, but it's also one of the best to have in your back pocket. That's because encryption protects you in case of a breach; no one can do anything with your data, even if they do manage to steal it.
A document management system makes it easy to enable encryption in ways that don't interrupt internal or external communications. You stay in control of settings and visibility.
#2: Built-In Collaboration and Sharing Tools
Document management is designed to help you create a shared digital workspace. That means everyone is using the same collaboration and data-sharing tools, often within the cloud. This limits the risk of unsecured apps or tools being introduced to your environment--and it also makes it easier to track how documents are being used, where they're being shared, and who has access.
#3: Permissions Settings
Permissions can go far beyond limiting individual access. With the right document management solution, you can create more comprehensive controls:
- Limit access at device or location levels.
- Manage permissions based on role, seniority, and more.
- Update permissions when employees leave or start at your company.
- Create protocols for external authentication and permissions.
- Limit users' ability to edit, copy, or print certain data.
#4: File Sharing Options
Remember that file sharing comes in all shapes and sizes, which means your security solutions should too. For example, document management can help you create rules and permissions--but if you don't know how people are actually sharing data in your business, you're likely to miss a potential spot for improvements.
When planning your approach, consider how you'll manage file-sharing options such as email, removable storage drives, and more. You may be able to limit the use of these options through settings and data guidance, but it's smart to assume that they're going to happen anyway and build security solutions around them.
#5: Data Audits
Document management isn't just about storing and sharing. The right system can also help you eliminate unnecessary data to make your environment easier to manage--and to keep that information from falling into the wrong hands. You can use your document management software to perform data audits where you check who has permission to which files, what's needed vs. what should be digitally shredded, and how you could still make improvements.
In conclusion, document management is one of the best solutions for secure sharing--simply because it covers a huge variety of needs, tools, and scenarios.
Need secure sharing solutions? Contact us today to learn more about document management.