It is said that information is power. That makes it a huge resource. Businesses find themselves in the position every day where customers, suppliers, and others, leave their information with them. Your task as a business owner is to keep that information confidential because it has been entrusted to you. If that information leaks, then you will be in jeopardy of lawsuits for violation of privacy. In the worst-case scenario, you might lose clients, injure your reputation, and even lose your business. For this reason, we’ve put together some tips for confidential business document storage.
1. Controlling access to documents:
As we move towards being paperless, though digital is more secure, it is vulnerable to access by any person who knows their way around document storage systems. Even worse, when the information is stored in smaller storage systems such as hard disks and USB drives. There are three primary ways of controlling access to these documents, namely access controls, encryption, and the use of Digital Rights Management (DRM).
This method has been available for a long time. Companies could apply access control to files making it hard to know whether that information even exists in the computer. Access controls allow you to prevent people from reading, altering, using, and purging files. The system enables you to privately embed documents in the crevices of your computer’s operating system.
However, if someone is given access to read files, they can copy files to their own devices. It is clear that you are trying to protect what is inside those files, but the fact that you can hide it is not enough. Document management systems have revolutionized this practice. You can now administer virtual controls to your system. A typical way is by the use of administrative controls, which means that people without certain permissions can never access that information.
Those within the organization get user profiles. They can access certain information as long as they have the username and password. The different profiles have access to specific amounts of information. Access control may work but it also has another side when whoever is protecting that information ends up being the one that leaks the information.
For a long time, document encryption has been the last and final resort to information security. Encryption not only protects files from access but also prevents falsification. This is possible because to access information; one has to prove authenticity. Having undergone improvements since its invention, the only way anyone can now access information is by using a secret key known as a decryption key. Data in an encrypted form is unreadable. The key converts the documents into the form whereby they are readable. To date, this method is the most powerful but comes with its downsides.
Any person with a decryption code can do whatever they want with the information. In the case of a credit facility, if you have access, you can clear your loans. For this reason, it is clear that there is no one method of control to document access that is one hundred percent effective. A combination of this and other forms could work effectively.
Digital Right Management:
The creation of this method was motivated by the need to enable owners of audio and audio-visual content to own and control their products. The method allowed the user to control the content on a pay per view basis. The owner of the content further gives sub-licenses to distributors to sell content on their behalf. Digital rights management has been a masterstroke in a long history of piracy of content. Multimedia industries have benefited from this method. It is the epitome of access control right now.
2. Using confidential information waste controls:
Information is not only important when it is new but also when it needs to be disposed of. There is always something in waste that’s very important that no one unauthorized should see. That is why, today, there are confidential waste bins and shredders. You might be wondering why shredders and bins in a digital world. The answer is that you can never totally avoid paper in any business.
To dispose of confidential business documents, you will need to shred them or have a confidential bin. Such bins keep information in waste safe or completely damaged. Luckily, today, some companies specialize in these ways of waste management. You can check out filecenter the trusted tool that fit your task. A good contract with them should earn you enough bins, shredders, and collection of waste service to ensure the information in waste never sees the light of day.
3. Using secured document storage cabinets:
As much as you might have thought that all information needs to be kept in some database online, you will always need certain documents at hand. This is because systems can be down at any time. A lockable storage cabinet is a good option for you. You might be asking yourself, how all this is possible, but before technology upended the state of every document storage method we had safes.
Even today, they remain popular. Documents and safes have remained secure through the use of basic technology and offsite data protection facilities. Safes are equipped with security codes, patterns, and special keys. Only those who have access to the location of these in-wall cabinets on your business premises are able to access them.
If someone cannot move them, they might need to be forceful, which is good. Here, you can use motion sensors, fingerprint scanners, voice, and eye recognition which are all quite hard to break, thus keeping your confidential paperwork even safer.
4. Securing the delivery of documents:
The above systems are hard to break, but you still have to have to work on preventing access to information during the delivery process. Anybody can get away with information at delivery, which is why you might need to stay vigilant at this process. This is known as the middleman attack. Today, people use courier services that ensure unauthorized persons do not access information from between one point and another. Information in a digital state also needs securing during delivery. Digitally obtaining information has become much more complex with the help of cloud storage facilities. Companies have also come up with storage programs for the same. Some programs are as follows:
This storage solution allows you to share documents online securely. The good thing about the system is that you can share any information. All you need to do is to upload information into cloud storage. pCloud comes with what is called pCloud Crypto Feature going for a cent off $5 a month. The service offers client-controlled encryption of a password that protects documents when shared.
The service is available in Windows, Mac, Linux and Apple operating systems and also on Android. pCloud gives you up to 10 GB of free storage space as well as an additional 10 GB if you refer any other people to the service. You can also benefit from their premium service, which is a lifetime option.
Off The Record, OTR:
This messaging feature can be used to supplement your company’s messaging programs, securing document delivery. Messages leave your computer encrypted. Your recipient must have a decryption key that makes them readable. The system also allows the use of security codes to avoid interceptions. Off The Record works as a plugin and is best used on Pidgin. The system is available in both Apple iOS and Android signals. As the name suggests, no one will be able to notice if there is any information delivery.
Secure File Transfer Protocols, SFTP:
This is an extension to file transfer protocols. SFTP can only be accessed through a server. GoAnywhere has an SFTP server to assist with secure file transfers in your organization. A typical service used together with it is the hosted file transfer protocol, FTP. You can also use an SFTP service such as SFTPCloud, which has support for both FTP and SFTP. The protocol can be accessed using usernames and passwords to receive (download) and send (upload) files. Most computer systems have an FTP, but a password is a masterstroke to securing the system.
5. Training employees:
The worst news any organization can get is an information leak from within the company. You might think this is only possible when employees have a vendetta, but even worse, it could be involuntary. In other words, through a lack of training. Training will entail educating employees about information confidentiality. The idea is to furnish employees with information about passwords protection, secure delivery, and document destroying.
If you have the resources, the training can be in-house using your IT team. You could also hire the services of an outside company or send employees to confidential document storage conferences and workshops. Such training should be practical enough to make employees conscious of protecting sensitive business documents.
In conclusion, as long as you are in business, you will always need to hide information so that it never works against you or your clients. The above tips will get you ready for what you might need to do to secure such information. You will have to control document access through access controls, encryption, and digital rights management. Use suitable confidential waste document controls, secure physical documents through secure cabinets, practice safe delivery habits, and train employees about the ways to keep their information secure. You can complement the above methods with other new ways to secure confidential business storage as they become available.