Do you store your files in a single cloud-based document management system, or are your files spread out? The more distributed your files are, the harder it is to get a handle on security. If your goal is to secure your data at all times, you need one central document repository with electronic document management.
What is electronic document management?
An effective electronic document management system (EDMS) is a file storage account with a user-friendly interface for handling, organizing, and accessing your documents. Rather than just storing your digital assets in folders, an EDMS makes it possible to share links to specific files and folders, while providing centralized access to authorized users.
Keeping your documents secure with an EDMS is easy because the system contains built-in features that govern security. For example, applications like Box allow you to generate links with different security parameters for each file or folder. In other words, you can share the same file with multiple people, but remove the ability to download that file for certain recipients. You can also create links that expire in a given period of time, like a few days or a few weeks.
Organization increases data security
When it comes to data security, there’s plenty to be concerned about regarding when, where, and how you store your digital assets. It’s not enough to just toss all of your files into a cloud storage account and call it a day. You need a content management plan that includes organization, because unorganized documents can end up being a security risk.
If you’ve collected a bunch of digital files over time and haven’t taken the time to sort them out, rename your files, and organize them into a folder hierarchy, your security is at risk. Your ability to implement access control depends on file organization.
Organized file management helps you control access
Access control mitigates insider threats. Data shows that 60% of data breaches in 2020 were from insiders. Employees and contractors looking for an opportunity to exploit your company are a real danger, so you never want to give your employees access to more information than what’s necessary for them to complete their work.
When given the opportunity, many people will wander through directories just to see what’s there, and if they find something interesting, they could misuse that information.
When your documents are unorganized, it’s harder to control access. If you drop a massive collection of files into a file sharing account, you’ll have to grant full access to everyone who ever needs to use any of those files. This will result in everyone being able to see your company’s financial data, proprietary information, and possibly customer data. On the other hand, when you take the time to organize and categorize each file properly, you end up with a folder architecture that allows you to strictly manage access.
For example, with organized folders, you can separate business plans and NDA contracts into individual folders that only specific users and user groups can access. General users can be granted access to lower-level, common folders containing company graphics and information, while privileged users can be given access to folders containing invoices, financial data, and customer information.
You can take your organization one step further by using a naming convention that makes files easier to find, no matter where they’re stored.
Expiring links protect you from future data breaches
Temporary links are one of the most important elements involved in electronic document management. You need an EDMS that generates temporary links to files and folders. This feature allows you to grant access to clients and contractors for a short duration of time. This is perfect when you need to share information, but don’t want the recipient to download the file or have permanent access.
Links that expire after a period of time also help to prevent data breaches in the future. For example, say you have 50 employees who regularly share links to files over email. If any of their email accounts get hacked, that hacker will have instant access to all of the links that were shared. However, if those links were set to expire, some, if not all of them, will have already expired by the time the account is hacked.
Your files are more secure with an EDMS
Your digital assets are most secure when they’re organized enough for you to control access and set security parameters for each file. Organizing your files by name and folder hierarchy is essential when your objective is to secure your files from data breaches and leaks.
Using an electronic data management system is the easiest way to achieve this goal.