In this digital age, protecting confidential documents is more important than ever. Businesses have always needed to keep certain information private, and with the advent of the internet, that need has only grown. According to a study by IBM, 43 percent of data breaches are caused by insiders. So businesses need to be extra vigilant about protecting their confidential data. They must take steps to secure their documents both online and offline.
Here are some tips for businesses to protect their confidential documents:
1. Use encryption software
One way to protect documents is by using encryption software. This software scrambles the contents of a document so that only someone with the correct password can read it. Many encryption programs also allow businesses to set expiration dates for documents, so they can be automatically deleted after a certain period.
When using encryption software, choosing a program compatible with the devices that will be accessing the documents is essential. For example, if you need to share encrypted documents with colleagues who use different operating systems, you will need to choose a program that you can use on both Mac and Windows.
2. Secure your sharing process
Because businesses need to share confidential documents with external parties, it is essential to have a secure sharing process in place. This process should include the use of encrypted files and passwords. It should also require the recipient to confirm their identity before accessing the document.
If you must send a physical copy of a confidential document, consider using a reliable contract delivery service. These services will pick up the papers from your office and deliver them to the recipient’s address. They are legally bound to keep the envelope’s contents confidential, so you can be sure your documents will remain private.
3. Keep copies in a secure location
You probably keep multiple physical and digital copies of your confidential documents. While it’s important to have backups, you also need to ensure these copies are stored securely. For physical copies, consider using a safe or filing cabinet with a lock. For digital copies, encrypt the files and store them on a password-protected external hard drive or in the cloud.
Some businesses also choose to keep their confidential documents in a bank vault. This option can be expensive, but it provides an extra security layer. You will need to provide the bank with a list of the documents you want to store and permit them to open the vault in an emergency. Ask about the fees and conditions associated with this service before you sign up.
4. Destroy old documents
When you no longer need a confidential document, it’s essential to destroy it properly. This ensures that anyone who finds the document cannot access the information.
For paper documents, use a cross-cut shredder to reduce them to small pieces. For digital copies, delete the files and then use a data destruction program to overwrite the free space on your hard drive. This will make it impossible to retrieve the deleted files.
It would help if you also had a plan for disposing of old documents regularly. For example, you may want to shred documents that are more than five years old. You can also hire a professional document destruction company to handle this task for you.
5. Train your employees
Human error is one of the leading causes of data breaches. To reduce the risk of an insider threat, you must train your employees in handling confidential documents. Your training should cover the proper way to store, share, and destroy documents. It should also include what to do if they suspect a document has been lost or stolen.
Make sure your employees understand the consequences of mishandling confidential documents. In some cases, this can result in criminal charges. You may also want to consider implementing a confidential document policy. This policy should outline the procedures for handling these documents and the consequences for breaking the rules.
6. Test your security measures
You should regularly test your security measures to ensure they are effective. For example, you may want to conduct a mock data breach exercise. This will help you identify any weak points in your system.
You should also test your employees’ knowledge of the procedures for handling confidential documents. You can do this through quizzes or training exercises. If your employees are not following the correct procedures, provide additional training. You may also consider implementing a disciplinary policy for employees who break the rules.
When it comes to confidential documents, security should be a top priority. In this digital age, there are many ways to hack your system and exploit your files, but there are also various ways to protect these documents. Following the tips above can help keep your confidential information safe and secure.