Security is one of the main concerns for businesses that handle many documents with sensitive information. 

According to research, 88% of organizations worldwide were experiencing spear-phishing attempts in 2019. And 68% of business leaders felt their cybersecurity risks were drastically increasing.

Nowadays, remote work has made document management storage somewhat more challenging.

While keeping sensitive information secure isn’t easy as putting a lock on the file cabinet, with the widespread adoption of online document storage solutions, keeping your documents safe can still be easier than you might think.

In this beginner’s guide to secure document storage, here’s what we’ll cover:

  • What Is Document Storage And How Does It Work?
  • Importance Of Proper Document Security Systems For Storage
  • How To Safely Generate Online, Paperless Documents: 10 Best Practices To Keep In Mind

Let’s get started!

What Is Document Storage And How Does It Work?

Document storage refers to the practice of securing a document into an organization’s document management system (DMS). It involves organizing files and documents professionally in order to be accessed easily on the cloud.

Different organizations practice various forms of document management systems depending on their size. 

Smaller organizations tend to store their documents on-site in file cabinets and folders which could get disorganized and difficult to sort. 

However, larger organizations tend to store their files digitally, either on the cloud or on company servers.

Digital document storage is a form of electronic storage that is put in place to help companies save time, space, and financial resources that would have been instead expended on the use of file cabinets. 

In this case, documents are classified with a tag for easy location and retrieval in just a few minutes. Storing files in a digital DMS could help your organization improve efficiency as well as the security of confidential documents.

More practically speaking, they also help automate or streamline stages of your document management lifecycle. Such as document creation, editing, sharing, collaboration, archival, and more.

graphic representing the flow of information and all the different ways o saving it

Overall, there are 5 main types of data protection, when it comes to securing your document storage:

  • Data encryption.
  • Cloud backup.
  • Password protection.
  • Identity and access management.
  • Intrusion detection and prevention software.

Let’s take a look at each data protection concept to explain how they work in more detail.

Data encryption:

In order to protect all confidential files of your company from cyber criminals or data leaks, all data should be encrypted. 

This makes sure all sensitive information is not left vulnerable to theft or corruption by external forces. 

Company data that should be encrypted includes:

  • Data in use: This is data that is actively being processed by an application whether it is updated, viewed, or generated.
  • Data in transit: This is data that is in transmission from the sender’s application to the receiver’s application. To prevent high jacking or intercepting, data needs to be encrypted.
  • Data at rest: This is data that is not currently in use, but is kept in storage devices or the cloud until they are needed.

Cloud backup

To prevent data loss of your critical data, you should back up company data on a regular or frequent basis so it doesn’t affect business operations. 

This allows for easy scalability. Additionally, the cloud size should be expanded to accommodate the pending data storage.

In the case of data loss or destruction, you’ll have a backup ready to go.

Password protection

This is the typical first line of defense in safeguarding the data within your company. 

With a good password combination, you could prevent potential breaches of your company’s files.

See a few different ways to password protect your documents here:

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Identity and access management (IAM)

By implementing IAM, you could regulate the users that have access to your network and data.

Access could then be granted only to certain individuals or staff within the organization, with the consideration of hierarchy.

Intrusion detection and prevention 

For more advanced options on data security, you could implement cybersecurity and data protection protocols. 

This would protect your company from having to endure the grave financial and operational consequences, this would have on your company. This way, your company could prevent data theft and corruption.

Other document storage security features might include:

  • AES 256 end-to-end encryption.
  • Role-based access control.
  • Document expiry and self-destruction.
  • 2FA support. 
  • Full audit log.
  • Live document alerts.
  • Digital rights management protection.
  • And more.

Importance Of Proper Document Security Systems For Storage

As much as DDMS has provided advanced solutions to the document management of businesses around the globe, some other high risks factors could become also threats. 

Physical documents are known to be prone to external factors like fire and theft, but that doesn’t exclude digital documents from risks of loss. 

Document security of files helps in the maintenance of all essential documents such that they are stored, filed, backed up, processed, delivered, and disposed of safely. 

Digital documents must be protected from security breaches that could come about in the process of document use and storage. 

The benefits of proper document security cannot be underestimated, they include;

  1. It saves documents from various threats when they are adequately encrypted. Through these, accidents could be avoided and sensitive information could be safeguarded.
  2. It allows document management to be executed easily and streamlines business operations.
  3. It maintains your company’s integrity by ensuring that your customer’s personal information is not stolen.
  4. It prevents unwanted persons from accessing the files and it also helps to disallow further manipulation of sensitive data.

How To Safely Generate Online, Paperless Documents: 10 Best Practices To Keep In Mind

If you implement a secure system for generating documents and managing user access, you’re drastically reducing data from leaking out of your organization.

With that said, some of the best practices for document management and generating online documents include:

  • Define access limits in the DMS: access to data requires a level of clarity as to the hierarchy of its user. Certain files or documents used by the organization should not be accessed by any junior staff but should only be accessed by management. See our guide on user role setup and management
  • Choose a good DMS: making use of the right DMS that aligns with the company’s intended file management structure could go a long way in providing ease and security.
  • Classification and categorization for documents: creating a structured and uniform way of organizing files could allow for ease in retrieval from their source. This is essential for document control management too.
  • Avoid duplication: an additional practice would be to not allow duplication of the documents that are being worked on to avoid confusion in further processing.
  • Uniform Labeling: in accordance with the role of proper classification of documents, it would be easy to locate files on the cloud for easy access and retrieving documents.
  • Clarify roles and positions in the DMS: each employee and manager should be aware of their roles in maintaining the DMS.
  • Digitizing documents: This serves as a much more effective and cost-effective alternative to storing documents onsite. By digitizing documents, you would be able to easily access, share and make alterations if needed. See our guide on switching from physical documents to an electronic document management system for more info on this.
  • Implementing a clean desk policy: This is a corporate policy that makes sure employees of a company do not work on company files when they leave the office. To free the office of unnecessary clutter and exposure to external parties outside the workplace.
  • SSL protocols: Secure socket layer is an encryption-based internet protocol used to protect user privacy. It is very useful in preventing cyber crime and any form of breach of personal information of clients like credit card information
  • Custom permissions and role settings: This is a space that allows the management or administrator to allocate a set of custom permissions to its users. It could allocate the permissions such that only top-tier management could have access to certain data.

Where To Go From Here

In the grand scheme of things, companies must prioritize data storage for easy retrieval and data security to prevent incidents of cyber security breaches.

By beginning with the right document management system, your company could strategically protect itself as well as its clients from all the possible dangers attached to storing documents securely.

But deciding on the right management software to securely store your documents and data can be overwhelming.

So, if you’re wondering where to go from here, be sure to check out our 7+ questions to ask yourself when evaluating document generation software!

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