You’d be upset if someone stole your car or phone. So, why are you not perturbed at the prospect of your documents (whether online or on an internal server) being misappropriated? Think about it.
There are a number of threats to your personal as well as proprietary information if you don’t take active measures to protect your documents. In fact, here are five reasons why you need to start taking document security seriously.
1. Protect Proprietary Information
Your proprietary information basically comprises your revenue generating assets. Such information can include trade secrets, training material, manuals, copyrighted material, and even employee data. Also, you spent a lot of time and resources to create these documents. So, you should definitely consider protecting them on your internal server or think about how they’re used when they’re shared and what document security measures you can take to protect them.
To be honest, unless your documents are properly secured, for example with Digital Rights Management (DRM) or encryption, anyone can make modifications to content created by you and pass them off as his or her own.
2. BYOD and Data Leakage
The Bring Your Own Device(BYOD) trend took off quite well because it allows employees to share their inputs, in real time, on a project or topic of discussion, wherever they are.
However, it also means that the proprietary files that your employees are viewing on their devices are always syncing and getting backed up onto their devices or a cloud sharing platform. This can lead to a security breach at any point, whether intentional or inadvertent. It also means your documents may end up being viewed in locations that are not appropriate or unknowingly shared with unauthorized individuals.
3. Copyright Infringement
If you’re a content creator who sells PDFs online, it might be worth looking into document security. The time and effort you invested in, say, writing an industry white paper could all be in vain if an unauthorized person decides to pass it off as his or her own. Also a purchaser could upload an unprotected PDF to the Internet for others to use for free thus damaging your revenue stream.
4. Legal Obligations or Compliance Policies
Organizations are required to protect various kinds of client data, such as personal, health, and financial information, by law or as an ethical practice of an industry. In fact, your clients share such data with you because they assume that appropriate security measures are in place.
Now, if there’s significant data leakage due to a lack of document protection measures, you’ll not only lose your competitive edge, but you’ll also lose the trust and loyalty of your clients.
5. Control How Your Documents Are Used
Did you think constant vigilance with respect to business and other proprietary documents is impossible? With a robust document protection system, you can set up digital trails as well as dynamic watermarks to trace who’s viewing and printing your documents and when they do so.
Some Popular Document Protection Methods
You need to close all loopholes to have overarching control over your documents and to ensure that they’re being used judiciously. Here are some popular methods:
Encryption software simply locks your documents with a key so that only those with the access key can view them. You need to share the access key with recipients.
If you’re sharing a low-security document or if the recipient is trustworthy, encryption can help. However, you should bear in mind that anyone with the access key can then save an unprotected copy and make changes to the document and share it, without your knowledge.
You can choose who has access to certain folders or documents according to employee hierarchy.
However, this method is not completely secure, as anyone with read access to a document can make copies of it or modify it without your permission.
DRM basically combines encryption and access control features, along with providing more secure custom controls (such as expiry, locking documents to devices/IPs/countries, etc.), to prevent any data leakage. So, of the three, DRM is the most comprehensive document security method.
An efficient DRM system will not only help you set up need-to-know document access, but will also allow you to set up custom controls to prevent copying, printing, and unauthorized changes.
Are your organizational documents secure? Adopt data leakage prevention best practices if you haven’t done so already!