What is document security? Why is document security important to me? What are the best methods my company can use to enhance document security? Is it expensive to do? These are some of the questions you may have about document security.
In this article, I will explain more about document security and why it is important that your business implement some sort of policy or plan to improve the way your employees and you handle documents.
Almost every business has documents that they have to process on a daily basis. Contracts, Invoices, Receipts, Purchase Orders, In-house Memos, and documents related to sensitive information are some of the examples of documents you may use.
Document security includes how those documents are stored, backed up, processed, delivered, and disposed of. First we will talk about storage and backup of your documents. This involves a lot more than just which type of filing cabinet you want to buy.
Even in this electronic age, paper documents are a necessity. The storage of these documents safely and securely is often ignored. For sensitive documents, you do need locked file cabinets. You need to be aware of who in your company will have keys to those file cabinets and they need to be stored in a secure location. Fireproof filing cabinets are also a good idea.
This might seem to be inconvenient, expensive, and time-consuming, but the loss of your documents is going to cost you a lot more time and money than having security in place for them.
Transferring all of your documents into electronic format is essential to document security. Either through data entry or through scanning of documents you can back them up in electronic format to help ensure their safety and recovery if you lose all the paper.
Many of your documents today are already in electronic format. Those and the electronic backups of the paper documents you make also need to be backed up besides just on your computer. There are electronic data storage services you can use online that will give you storage space on secure servers.
Some of these can be relatively inexpensive, others charge too much. I suggest you research several of them to find the solution that is right for you. You can burn those documents to CD, but then must find a secure way, off of your business premises to store those CDs.
You can store the data on other computers you have at home or elsewhere, but need to keep in mind who might be able to access them. The companies that provide secure storage for electronic documents and data are usually a much more secure method.
You need to implement a specific security policy in regards to every type of document your company uses. Your employees need to follow these specific document security guidelines at all times.
Document and data delivery is also an important consideration. Do you use encrypted email when sending and receiving documents? Do you require a receipt from the receiver of your emails to show they have gotten the data you sent them? These are easy to implement. PGP for email is one of the best methods. Do a search for PGP and you will find more information about it.
When you mail sensitive documents, do you use registered mail? Do you insure it? These are important pieces to your document security policy. Your employees should know which specific types of outgoing mail are to receive special attention.
Who opens the mail your company receives? Is it ever left out in the open where just anyone can pick it up? Your employees should be aware that document security extends to incoming mail as well. There needs to be specific instructions as to what happens to all incoming mail.
Now we can move on to document disposal. Do you have an office shredder? You may want to have one in each employee’s work area who might be handling or creating sensitive company documents. Have a policy of shredding the documents they throw away. Better to be safe than sorry. Thieves and others will go through your trash to find any information they can use to their advantage.
If you have a lot of sensitive documents or wish to be more careful, there are services that come to your office to shred and destroy documents then remove them to be incinerated. These companies guarantee the safe disposal of your documents.
I hope this article has helped answer any questions you may have had about document security. I further hope that it has made you aware of the need for you to have a document security policy at your business.