Three ways organisations lose control of their information

Most of the world’s data is in unstructured, document form. Too often this valuable data is at risk within organisations as wilful and unintentional actions leave the information accessible to unauthorised viewers. To gain control of this data and documentation, organisations should focus on three key areas: its staff, its network and its printing environment.
Gain Control of Office Information

A widely cited stat of importance to every business is that 80 percent of the world’s data is in unstructured, mostly document form, leaving businesses vulnerable to data loss or theft. The loss or misuse of sensitive documents through a security breach can have a massive negative impact on any business. It can also generate significant financial and legal effects along with harmful implications for an organisation’s reputation among investors, business partners and customers. And, as can be seen from stories in the news, some companies may never recover from a major data breach.

Gaining control over documents is also essential for effective compliance processes. There are over 20,000 compliance requirements worldwide. And it isn’t just your organisation that is affected by compliance regulations, think about your suppliers and partners; they most likely are and may pass down the request directly to you. According to Enterprise Strategy Group, there are currently 10,000 regulations impacting data management. And while you need a near-flawless information strategy to keep pace with your compliance requirements, 31 percent of respondents in an AIIM survey reported that poor electronic records-keeping was causing problems with regulators and auditors.

Let’s look at three potential threats that may be impacting your organisation’s ability to gain control over your information.

Your Staff

Too often, the work habits of employees – even conscientious staff – can put your enterprise at risk. A survey done by digital security firm Globalscape revealed nearly two-thirds of all security breaches can be attributed to negligence, human error or system glitches. One big driver of this situation, according to Globalscape, is millions of employees are actively using widely available tools, like personal email, social media and file sharing sites, to move confidential work files every day. The survey showed that nearly half of all employees transferred work files through unsecured channels several times a week, effectively yielding control of corporate assets to external forces.

Another critical issue is, as found in Institute on behalf of Varonis Systems, 71 percent of employees said they have access to data they should not see, and more than half said that this access is frequent or very frequent. According to Dr. Larry Ponemon, Chairman and Founder of The Ponemon Institute, “This research surfaces an important factor that is often overlooked: employees commonly have too much access to data, beyond what they need to do their jobs, and when that access is not tracked or audited, an attack that gains access to employee accounts can have devastating consequences.”

Your Network

An astonishing 43 percent of companies experienced a data breach in the past year, reported the annual study on data breach preparedness by the Ponemon Institute in late 2014. And cyber crime is a growth industry with McAfee estimating the annual cost to the global economy to be more than £300 billion.

In assessing cyber security risks for 2015, industry experts see new attack vectors in old, widely-used code as the top threat. Bugs, such as Heartbleed/OpenSSL and Shellshock/Bash, may produce new attack vectors. And from a platform perspective, the experts see Apple’s market success and growing enterprise presence as creating an inviting target for hackers.

Your Print Environment

While many organisations are aware of threats related to computer networks, they may not know about potential dangers related to their multifunctional printers (MFPs) and other print devices – two key components of their document infrastructure. According to InfoTrends, there are about 30 million MFP and other printer devices throughout the U.S. and Western Europe with most connected to a network.

A survey by market researcher Quocirca found organisations place a low priority on print security, despite the fact that over 70 percent saying they experienced at least one data breach through unsecured printing in the past year. MFPs are typically devices shared in an office with multiple users – meaning a security risk can potentially impact many in an organisation. Enterprises also face the threat that private information may get into the wrong hands when printed documents are going unclaimed at the MFP.

We discuss printing environment in another blog post that explains how to optimise document workflow to improve security and efficiency throughout your printing network.

Time to Take Steps to Gain Control

Addressing potential information management risks among your staff, network and print environment will position your organisation to gain control to increase document security, improve compliance and boost business efficiency.

Gain control of your information processes

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