Privacy is a leading concern for many businesses. Companies handling sensitive information have to ensure that only the people who need to see something for their job can access it. In a traditional workplace, businesses could just use paper document management, but remote work has made document governance more challenging.
Many businesses moved to a work-from-home model amid the COVID-19 pandemic. By late 2020, 41.8% of American workers were working remotely, and an estimated 26.7% will still be doing so by the end of 2021. Remote work is the norm now, which has presented a unique challenge for secure document management and delivery.
Despite this challenge, many businesses have managed to share files with remote workers while maintaining privacy. Here are six leading ways to implement document management in the remote workplace.
1. Encrypted File-Sharing Apps for Document Management
While much of business communication has taken place over email, this isn’t a secure enough option for sensitive information. One of the most popular alternatives is encrypted file-sharing apps like Dropbox or Firefox Send. These apps are designed specifically for secure file delivery and document governance, making them an obvious and straightforward choice for many businesses.
Many email services encrypt messages in transit but don’t provide encryption for files that have reached their destination. Encrypted file-sharing apps keep this layer of security in both transit and storage, securing files at every stage. Some even have options to delete stored documents after some time, further preventing hackers from seeing them.
Not all of these apps offer equal amounts of security. For example, some allow the service to view users’ files, which could increase the risk of a breach. Still, encrypted file-sharing apps remain a popular and relatively secure means of document management and delivery.
2. Cloud Storage
Another immensely popular option for sharing sensitive files with remote workers and document governance is cloud storage. In the last quarter of 2020 alone, cloud spending rose by 32% as more companies realized its necessity amid remote work. While cloud storage has uses far beyond document management and delivery, many businesses use it that way.
Users can restrict access controls for any files or folders on the cloud, granting access to only whoever needs it. For an extra layer of security, companies can segment their cloud networks into various parts. This segmentation prevents hackers from accessing all of a companies’ files if they get in or stops overly curious employees from seeing documents they shouldn’t.
Clouds can be just as secure as traditional digital storage but come with different security concerns. Consequently, if businesses don’t also revamp their cybersecurity after switching to the cloud, they could be vulnerable. These concerns have kept some companies from embracing cloud storage for sensitive documents.
3. Fax over Internet Protocol (FoIP)
While many businesses have gone paperless, many others still rely on physical document governance. In some cases, paper copies may be more secure than digital files since it removes the threat of hackers. As more employees have started working from home, some companies have embraced fax over internet protocol (FoIP) to share these documents.
Faxing may seem outdated, but as of 2017, 82% of surveyed businesses faxed the same amount or more than in 2016. Most of these respondents have transitioned from traditional fax systems to FoIP, which offers more security and speed. Instead of using phone lines, FoIP sends documents over the internet through a virtual fax number with full encryption.
This encryption and the use of virtual fax numbers provide layers of security that emails don’t have. When the recipient receives the document, they’ll have a paper copy of it, so a hacker can’t steal it from their device.
4. Certified Mail
Another way that businesses share paper documents with remote workers is through the mail. For sensitive documents, companies tend to prefer certified mail, which provides more security. Unlike traditional mail, recipients have to sign when they get a letter, providing proof of delivery.
With certified mail, the Postal Service also updates senders about any delivery attempts. This transparency provides an extra layer of security on top of what mail already offers. Since it deals with paper documents, hackers can’t steal any data in transit or storage.
These security benefits make it one of the most popular ways to share sensitive files. Recent studies show that nearly half of businesses send certified mail several times a month.
5. Peer-to-Peer File Transfer
Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing first gained popularity as a tool for piracy, especially in music. This history has given it a suspect reputation, but there are several reliable, safe P2P file-transfer services available. Some businesses have started to recognize this and are using P2P services to share sensitive documents.
P2P file sharing relies on a distributed network of users instead of using a central server. This distribution reduces the risk of a data breach, giving P2P an edge over other digital methods when it comes to security. It also makes file transfer slower than other methods, so it’s not ideal for all documents or processes.
6. Automated document rendering and delivery services
Document rendering software like Inkit’s Render can automatically generate documents intended for customer communications and internal use. Once connected to your database, it automatically converts custom HTML documents to PDFs and stores them. If you also need to deliver the generated documents in addition to record-keeping, you can use Inkit’s Send. The platform will automatically send tailored documents to customers or employees based on triggers. It fully manages document printing and offline delivery.
This makes automated rendering an effective document management solution in remote offices. You can not only reach team members remotely but also upgrade your customer communications. Since document rendering, printing, and delivery are automated, they require no physical presence. Besides, such communications are highly secure.
Remote Work Presents New Document Governance Changes
Every business has to retain some amount of privacy. And as cybercrime grows, this has become more of a challenge. The switch to remote work has made it even more challenging, but companies have adapted to these changes.
Whether companies are dealing with paper or digital documents, there’s a way to share them safely. With services like these available, any business can send sensitive information to remote employees securely.
Devin Partida is a freelance writer who covers topics related to ecommerce, retail and BizTech. Her work has been featured on a number of industry websites, including Retail Dive and the official magazine of CES. To read more from Devin, please visit her professional portfolio page here.