Product Guides

How To Use Document Management To Protect Customer Information

June 8, 2022
Author
Inkit Team

Document management is a system used to capture, track, store, and if needed archive or delete, electronic documents and PDFs.

Likewise, with the right document management system in place, retrieving, managing, and keeping customer information protected becomes a breeze.

As the world becomes more integrated with the ease tech provides, customers feel more comfortable with trusting organizations with personal information. 

Any organization that provides a service or works with custom data on any level needs to ensure a level of consistency in keeping customer information secure. 

Effective customer information management ultimately begins with safe document management practices. 

The first critical step for companies looking to manage their customer information is by having a document management strategy on lock. 

This way, they can dedicate their operations to focusing on effectively managing customer data and improving customer overall experience with the service they provide. 

For companies looking to keep their customer information protected with document management, here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Why Your Company Needs A Document Management System In Place
  • What To Look For In A Document Management System
  • 5 Best Document Management Practices To Keep Customer Information Safe And Prevent Data Leaks

Why Your Company Needs A Document Management System In Place

A document management system is a digital file management system that is integrated by an organization or agency in order to easily collect, track, analyze, manage and secure electronic documents like PDFs, word processing files, and so on. 

Essentially, this also makes your entire document management lifecycle system easier, supporting you at each step of the process. As an effective substitute to paper-based filing system, automated document management software helps you save a lot of time and money in the long run.

document management cycle

So, how does a document management system work practically?

Here’s a quick breakdown:

Document management solutions allow for easy capture of documents from any source such that they could be saved and accessed later. 

Acting as a digital file cabinet, your document management system helps in all steps of document lifecycle.

Your document management data centralizes the data

This way, your employees can immediately access data or documents as needed, remotely if needed. To take this a step further, you can employ user roles so that only specific people can access specific documents. This is a huge advantage for keeping important customer information protected.

Now, here are a few other benefits of integrating a document management system into your operations.

Saving time

According to research, employees spend around 5 hours per week searching for documents or gathering information.

With the right documentation system, they can simply sort through thousands of documents instantly. Filtering by document status, department, keywords, and more.

Covers important information documents from loss or risks of destruction 

Unlike paper-based documents, data stored on a document management system is not prone to risks of loss or destruction as a result of physical factors or employee negligence in sorting files. 

Information provided by customers should be treated crucially, and through these automated solutions, files could be stored on a cloud to be accessed later as electronic information is more secure.

And to prevent data leaks or breaches, there are certain steps you can take for secure document management and delivery.

Reduces the cost of storage and paper

Companies are gradually implementing the document management system as it is a cost-effective option to paper which is seen to be a major administrative expense that could be avoided. 

The cost of storage also poses a high expense in the carrying out of the business operations. A business that integrates the data management system could easily increase productivity and effectiveness in units of operations.

Going paperless with automated document generation, most companies were able to achieve ROI within 12 months. Additionally, automation saves a lot of time and money as well for operations teams.

Access to advanced options

The possibilities available to users of document management solutions are almost endless. 

Users can make edits within the system without having to type up another document copy to be reprinted again. Also, customers are afforded the liberty of filling out forms online and this reduces the time it takes for them to make requests.

Secures customer data

Paper-based documents are more prone to identity theft. 

But through document management systems, confidential information on customer data is restricted through password protections and other encryption settings.

What To Look For In A Document Management System

In order to implement the right document management system, there are specific features you need to look out for. 

While this might vary from company to company, or depending on the industry, here’s a general overview:

  • A good document management system should be helping you reliably manage your company files.
  • Before you begin your search for a document management system, it is very crucial to have in your mind a clear picture of the exact documentation needs you have as a company.
  • There are different types of document management systems, each requiring different kinds of investment on your part to meet your ideal document management needs. Depending on your company’s needs, you can choose between a cloud-based document management solution and a premise-based one.

If you’re looking for more specific information on what to look for in a DMS, see our full guide on evaluating document management solutions for 5+ factors.

Cloud based document management or premise-based?

When looking at document management solutions, there are 2 main types you need to consider.

Cloud-based document management system is when the data of a unit is stored externally on a cloud maintained by a third party. Cloud-based computing outsources the data storage to an external data provider and lowers the costs of purchasing and maintaining an internal server like premise-based storage. 

Premise-based document management system is when all the data of a company is stored in-house to prevent third-party access. This means the application is only hosted and controlled by the company. 

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The easiest way to automatically generate and manage paperless documents at scale.
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5 Best Document Management Practices To Keep Customer Information Safe And Prevent Data Leaks

Now that you have a better idea of how document management systems work, it’s worth going some best practices to get the most out of it.

After all, keeping your customer information protected within your system is part of streamlining your business operations.

Classifying your data (restricted, confidential or private, public)

The data saved on the server should be classified to restrict access to unconcerned parties.

This way, only certain information would be available to the different employee ranks and customers. 

For example, with user roles and permissions, you can set up different roles for your employees or different departments. Something along the lines of:

  • Primary owner - Users who can close accounts, create other roles, and perform all actions.
  • Admin - Cannot close or transfer account details, but can perform any other tasks.
  • Editor - Can do all kinds of editing actions with documents.
  • Contributor - Can add, upload, or create content, but not allowed to move, delete, or rename anything.
  • Viewer - Can only view files, or sometimes download them.

With this in mind, you can set it up so that only admin users, for example, can access confidential customer information.

Since  most data leaks happen due to human negligence, this will drastically reduce the chances of your information getting out.

Training your staff on best data security management

As with most things, you’ll want to start with training your staff.

They should be aware how a document management system works and the details of your standard standard operating procedures.

For example, this will probably be different for you if you’re in healthcare or finance, or something else.

As such, there will be different details and tasks that need to be checked off.

For that, consider creating an internal, documentation guide going over your systems, processes, naming structures, and more.

This will help your employees onboard the software much better and save you a lot of time in the long run.

SMS-based, two-factor authentication

SMS-based authentication is a bit different from the email variation. 

With this method, the system automatically sends a one-time SMS or a call to the user’s phone. Then, the user will have to enter the code into the software system manually to gain access.

2FA and multi-factor authentication as a whole, is a reliable and effective system for blocking unauthorized access.

While the downside might include an increased login time, two-factor authentication completely blocks brute forcing and other cyber security attacks.

Backing up regularly

A cloud-based document management system allows users to safeguard the information uploaded in the event of unforeseen circumstances like system crashes, data breaches, and natural disasters

For example, if your employee’s hardware crashed suddenly and they didn’t get the chance to save their work, you’ll be able to back up to the latest version of your documents.

Monitoring access permissions

Last but not least, it’s important to create policies and procedures that regulate users’ access to sensitive information.

This would control the access to sensitive customer information such that only certain employees could view, share and edit them.

This is ideal for advanced security management and liability and compliance settings.

access permission roles

Conclusion

For business that deal with sensitive data, it’s crucial to treat this information discretion.

There are many reason why security problems could arise. From a lack of consistent security settings to human negligence. Even the biggest companies deal with data leaks or security breaches yearly.

This could be duly avoided by:

  • Classifying sensitive data.
  • Training staff.
  • Making use of SMS authentication system.
  • Backing up data regularly.
  • Monitoring access permissions and setting up user roles.

With these steps in mind, you should be able to avoid potential security problems and keep your customer information protected.

Finally, if you’re ready to invest in a strong document management system to keep your information secure, you’ll want to evaluate different document software and systems to see what’s right for you.

Be sure to read our guide on evaluating document management service for 8 essential elements and factors to keep in mind next!

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