Ensuring that your documents are protected is essential to the overall security and integrity of your business, and the most important first step you can take is accumulating the knowledge you need to identify and neutralise the most common and severe risks. Here we examine some of the vital problems, and solutions that you can use to counter them preemptively.
Data leakage via email
Email communications have forever changed the face of the modern office, and how businesses transmit data. But despite the electronic revolution having happened many years ago, some offices are still playing with fire in terms of their email/document processes. For one thing, when sending a sensitive document by email, it only takes a small typo for critical information to end up in the wrong hands. There is of course always the oft-mentioned scenario whereby a sender unwittingly clicks the ‘send to all’ button, with disastrous consequences.
If you’re going to send important documents by email, make sure that they are encrypted and require a password to access them. This is a relatively simple and quick step when using professional PDF software such as Nuance’s Power PDF, but it can do a lot to increase your cyber security when dealing with documents.
Unauthorised document access
The more people in your organisation, the greater the risk that someone without proper clearance will access a document. And once one person accesses a document, they can share it via multiple means, online and offline. There is also the ever-present risk of hackers gaining access to your document management systems, either via a direct attack or malware.
Again, make sure that all of your critical documents are protected with encryption and passwords. Ensure your IT department is aware of current cyber security threats, and have a policy for ensuring that software updates are made when these patches are released (unactioned updates were a key reason for the success of the now infamous ‘Wannacry’ attack.
Not all threats are virtual. Simply printing a document and then failing to pick it up promptly or sending it to a printer erroneously, can result it in ending up in the wrong hands.
Most modern printers and multi-function devices (MFP) can be configured so that either a keycard or a password is required at the point of printing before a document is released, avoiding the risk of it being left unattended. Professional PDF software can also be used to set digital rights that determine who has access to the documents in question, and who is able to print them.
Scanning and Multi-function devices
MFPs are a particular risk in the modern office. Unprotected, they can be used to scan a document and send it anywhere in the world within a moment, presenting a considerable security risk in terms of corporate espionage and theft of customer or business financial data.
As a first point, it may be wise to redact (censor) information in documents which need to be available in part to all staff. This can be done using Power PDF, by searching for specific text or string patterns and then obscuring the text instantly. In addition to this you should ensure that your MFP tracks all scans and destinations, and only allow documents to be emailed to specific ‘safe’ email addresses.
Untracked document alterations
A simple yet critical change to a document can go unnoticed, and have substantial legal and process implications. Without the capability to check that a document has been manipulated in an unauthorised way, the entire integrity of your documents may be in jeopardy, as it is impossible to tell which ones are legitimate.
Digital PDF software allows you to apply an electronic signature to the document. If unauthorised changes are made after the signature has been committed, the signature will be rendered invalid, thus alerting all concerned to the fact that these changes have been made.
Though the risks to document security can appear graves at times, by implementing these simple steps you can take a dramatic leap forward in securing your documents and the information they hold within.