Data is every company’s most valuable asset. Technology allows us to collect, store, analyze and share this data but the way that your data is transported from one place to the next can be accidentally exposed in transition. Some of your most high-risk transition points include: sending emails, printing or scanning your documents.
Documents containing sensitive information move back and forth from digital to physical form many times throughout the day, and often change hands frequently. This can leave companies vulnerable if their private information falls into the wrong hands, even if this not intentional.
Here are a few ways to improve your document security.
1. Sending emails
When “data leakage” does occur, the first thing people assume is that someone has stolen the information. However, sensitive information can also be publicly exposed because of underlying human error.
For example, attachments are an efficient and convenient way to share documents, the practice can be risky. NEVER email documents containing social security numbers, bank account information or birth dates as you may inadvertently send to the wrong person and suffer serious consequences.
Thankfully software exists to allow users to password-protect their data or trigger a redaction function. This doesn’t just cover up text or images, but replaces the selected area pixel by pixel with redaction fill, to cover sensitive information.
Printers are often overlooked when creating data security plan. However, there are those can find it easy to damage a company and their clientele if no protections are in place to manage who can print what or how hard copy documents are distributed. Printer controls allows companies to restrict access to specific documents, and by keeping a record of all outputs with print management software, organizations are able track all documents printed.
Not all data leaks are founded on ill-intent. Documents can be forgotten on the paper tray or mistakenly picked up by the wrong person or even discarded in the trash rather than shredded. Print software can hold print jobs in a secure network queue until authorized for release by the user, either with an identification badge or passcode. This allows users to pick up documents when and where they want.
The combination of sensitive information and uncontrolled access to scanning is a dangerous recipe. Restricting document access by placing privacy filters within scanning applications adds an extra layer of data security, especially when paired with optical character recognition (OCR) technology. OCR filters convert the image captured to searchable text and can recognize words like “confidential,” which allows files to be automatically encrypted or even deleted.
To protect valuable data, companies should take steps to secure every stage of the document’s lifecycle. No security strategy is complete without accounting for the high-risk transition points when documents are converted from paper to digital, and vice versa. By taking steps to safeguard data during these vulnerable moments, companies can approach data security more holistically and effectively.