Whether you’re running a small business or a large enterprise, you’d agree that running a business comes with so many challenges.
You’re either searching for the best talents to fill vacant positions, managing overhead costs, or trying to close sales. There are always too many things to do in a very short time.
While these things can feel fulfilling, they can also easily overwhelm you.
But no matter how overwhelming these issues are, prioritizing cybersecurity is always crucial.
At the end of the day, you don’t want to be part of the thousands of businesses affected by security breaches reported yearly, and that’s why you must do everything possible to safeguard your software, hardware, servers, and cloud infrastructures. These are integral parts that keep your business going. It’s where you store and access your data.
But, you also know the need to secure your documents. You don’t want important business and pricing information flying up and down without adequate authorization, and that’s why you must understand document security and how to go about it.
So, what can you do to ensure adequate protection of confidential information in the workplace? We’ll review some of the best ways to secure vital information and ensure that none of them gets into the hands of unauthorized individuals.
The Importance of Data Security and How to Make Sure You’re Working Safely
We often hear of the importance of maintaining high levels of security in the financial sector. But security shouldn’t be limited to the financial sector. Every business, irrespective of industry, deals with documents and important data.
As such, everybody should take document security seriously. Some of the common threats to document security include:
- Unstructured data
- Security breaches
- Human errors
- Unsecured files
- Unauthorized access to storage.
All these issues put you in a position where you’ll be risking sensitive data, customer databases, financial details, etc.
Document security is essential not only for data protection compliance but also for maintaining trust between organizations and customers. When your business involves handling and dealing with personal data, you must assure your customers that their private, financial, and other sensitive details are safe across all communication channels.
By providing adequate protection for all documents, you’re building trust with your customers and encouraging them to maintain confidence in your services. That means better working relationships.
But, there are also other reasons beyond trust why document security measures are essential. Here, take a look at some of the reasons:
- The financial impact of a data breach can be colossal
- A data breach can significantly decrease customer confidence in your products and services
- The rise of cybercrime means that you must work harder to prevent security breaches
- Reputation damage.
That said, let’s review some actions that you can implement to ensure data security.
Tips for Keeping Your Confidential Documents Secure
1. Secure Computers and Network
Computer network security breaches are in the news every day, and when they happen, they can cost an organization millions of dollars.
In fact, a recent report by IBM pegged the average cost per incident in 2020 at $8.64 million for US companies. Unfortunately, incident reports span almost every sector, and that’s why online security is very important. The fact surrounding cybersecurity can be downright scary, and protecting your system has become a necessity.
Whether you’re a small, medium, or large enterprise, investing in antivirus software and other protective facilities will help prevent hackers from infecting your network. Apart from antivirus, which is an obvious option, you should also invest in anti-spyware programs that can help protect your network architecture from internal and external infestation.
Fortunately, many software are available today to suit different organizational sizes and structures, and you can always choose one that suits your organization.
|Our best antivirus software page features a detailed review of the best antivirus software to suit small and medium businesses.|
2. Invest in Solid Password Management Software
Passwords are essential in today’s security system, and there’s no room for carelessness when choosing a password. You want all your data and company information secure, making it risky to rely on weak passwords like managers’ names or simple numerical sequences like 12345.
Although excusable, that kind of excuse is dangerous and can cause irreparable damage. The people looking to seal your information are professionals in password hacking, so you must also employ some diligence in defending your accounts.
Unless you have a hard copy list stored somewhere, you might want to consider a password manager. Password managers are designed to help you seamlessly oversee and handle all your login credentials for all online accounts.
In addition to keeping all your sensitive data and credentials safe, password managers also have a password generator that helps you create unique, strong passwords for different places.
With the many news about identity theft and security breaches being reported daily, having a password protector can help you ensure that your sites remain safe from hackers. After all, you’re basically using different passwords for different platforms.
|Our best password management software page features top password protectors and their features to help you make the best choice when looking for software that works.|
3. Prioritize the Use of Secured VPN
One of the worst things that can happen to anybody is interference on a personal network. Whether for individual use or cooperation, you want your network protected from intruders, and that’s where a VPN comes in.
A virtual private network (VPN) does the work of internet security, allowing users to access the internet as though they were connected to a private network. VPNs are designed to use encryption to create secured connections over relatively unsecured internet infrastructure.
VPNs work to protect your data as you interact with apps and web pages over the internet. In addition to protecting your data, they also work to hide certain resources.
The encryption that VPN offers are mainly known for scrambling data to make it difficult for the unauthorized parties to understand the information. It takes readable data and alters it to appear random to attackers trying to intercept it.
The operation mode of VPNs means that many companies use them for access control – in other words, to control who has control of which resource. Depending on your personal needs, you can set up different VPNs, each connecting to different internal resources so that users can have different data access levels.
Fortunately, the different VPN software has different features and unique benefits, and you can choose one that best suits your needs.
|The options on our best VPN software page are designed for different purposes. Use the review to choose one that suits you.|
4. Train Employees on the Importance of Document Security
You’ll need to exchange data and information within your organization as a business. However, one of the most significant steps you’ll take to safeguard data and records is to train and educate the people interacting with the data daily: your employees. Never underestimate the importance of providing any kind of training for your staff, especially when it regards security.
Train your employees to handle confidential and proprietary information with care and respect the information’s sensitivity. The effect of overlooking this step can be dangerous. Your staff can make mistakes that’ll cost your organization a lot of loss. You don’t want to leave anything to chance, so we recommend training.
Specifically, you should train your employees in the following areas:
- Protection of confidential information, regardless of the media type, for the entire life cycle of the information.
- Sharing of confidential information only with organizational members that genuinely need it.
- Destruction of all paper documents, irrespective of their sensitivity levels. They should also be thought to lock up all sensitive documents when not in use.
- Prompt reportage of suspected or actual unauthorized access to management information.
- Have a written, signed, confidential non-disclosure agreement before they can disclose confidential information to any third party.
5. Activate Scheduled Backup for Sensitive Data and Information
You’ve got thousands of photos, hundreds of documents, and tons of other essential data on your laptop’s hard drive or solid-state storage. Well, that seems safe until the drive develops a major fault or a virus infects your files. Yes, we’ve talked about having reliable antivirus software, but unless it’s premium software, there’s only so much an antivirus software can do.
One of these issues, and you can say goodbye to all those receipts, tax records, long memories, and beautiful pictures. A recent backup of your data would have changed the unfathomable loss into a minor annoyance. But, here you are, mourning all the loss without hope of ever finding your data again. Unless you regularly back up your PC’s data.
Scheduled backups ensure that you have other copies of your important files stored somewhere so that you can easily restore them when the original gets damaged or deleted. And while it seems like stress copying all your data so often, the good news is that you can now easily maintain up-to-date copies of your data using software.
Fortunately, there are free backup software available today, and most of them can be used to manually and automatically make copies of important data and save them somewhere else from where you can access them in the future.
|Our best pick for data backup software is MailsDaddy, famed for its ability to back up files, drives, and folders to and from different devices.|
6. Use the Right Management Tool
Whether they are employee records or due diligence documents, we recommend limiting access to all confidential information to specific persons only. The thing with most organizational documents is that everyone in the organization needs access, particularly if you work with a third-party agent or a freelance contractor.
But unfortunately, not everyone can guarantee the security of the information shared, and that’s why you need to have the right management tools at your disposal.
The right management tools can help you minimize the risk of content leakage that could harm your business. Typically, the right management tools allow the control of access, download, and printing of internal documents. More advanced tools even have watermark and screenshot protection to prevent sensitive information from entering the wrong hands.
|Our data management software page reviews all the essential benefits of management tools and recommendations to help you make the best choice.|
7. Don’t Transfer Unencrypted Data Over the Internet
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must already know that almost all organizations transfer files through the internet. It’s fast, easily accessible, and convenient.
But one question people often ask is whether it is secure. Well, if your files contain sensitive information, like financial information, personal data, top secret marketing strategies, trade secrets, etc., you wouldn’t want them falling into the wrong hands.
By now, you already know that the internet is full of malicious entities that always want to grab your business documents for the wrong purposes. For this reason, many security experts recommend avoiding it whenever possible, but there’s only how far you can go avoiding it. If you must send information online, at least encrypt it first.
The easiest way to do this is to create a password-protected archive. After encrypting the information, use a different channel to send the password to the recipient. For example, if you’ve attached the information to an email, send the password through a messaging app that supports end-to-end encryption.
8. Utilize Biometrics
Yes, we’ve talked so much about password and data encryption, but there are other methods available for securing personal and organizational information.
One of such methods is the use of biometrics + using fingerprints, voice recognition, facial recognition, or retina scans to access information. In fact, evidence abounds to show that the use of biometrics is significantly more reliable and secure than passwords.
Biometrics are much harder to steal from databases. Besides, they offer the added convenience of not needing to constantly remember passwords or waste time attempting to recover them. You can also add an extra protection layer using continued biometrics and/ or multi-factor authentication. Whatever the case, be assured that only people whose biometric data has been stored on the database can access the information.
|Our favorite pick for biometrics software is LastPass, a software that allows you to protect yourself, your employees, and your organization from security threats. This software stands out whether for password management or biometric data scan.|
9. Implement Redaction Capabilities
Redactions didn’t just begin to exist. They’ve been used to protect private and confidential information in documents for ages, and they are still relevant.
Although we still see organizations making embarrassing mistakes regarding redaction, it remains one of the most effective tools for securely sharing sensitive documents.
True redaction capabilities do not only obscure sensitive information, but it also removes such information from shared networks. This method allows developers to provide applications with the ability to screen documents for privacy risks before being shared with anyone.
Performing redactions on documents can also help to limit external dependency that can threaten the security of documents and other files.
10. Create Unique Viewing Sessions
One significant challenge with many cloud-based document management systems is that once it grants a user permission to access the file, they typically retain the permission until it is manually changed at a later date.
In most cases, the permission is associated with the file’s source itself, and this can create many security gaps unless the organization closely monitors access privileges.
Monitoring these privileges is not as easy as it sounds, and that’s why many organizations will prefer not to allow permission to certain documents. But that’s not a great solution, especially in an organization where the flow of information has to continue.
Instead, we recommend you implement an HTML5 viewer that can generate unique viewing sessions for individual users. The implementation of this viewer can help you better control how you can share confidential documents.
You can set viewing sessions to expire after use, and since the session allows users to view a rendered version of the document instead of the source document itself, you can be guaranteed better control over the aspects of the document being shared.
For example, you may decide to share certain pages rather than the entire document and retract viewing permission when you want to.
There you have it, a detailed look at some of the best steps to keep your confidential documents secure and safe from cyber-attacks. Proactively employing these strategies can help ensure that your organization doesn’t find itself on the wrong end of a security breach. Such security breaches would not only harm your business but your customers too.
The last thing you want is to damage the reputation of your business because of a small mistake, and that’s why you must do everything possible to protect documents. Fortunately, most of the software needed to implement many of the steps above can be gotten for free, so it doesn’t have to cost you so much to protect your documents and all the information in them.