Posted on 29 November, 2018 | 3 mins
As you might expect, Secured Signing knows a thing or two about document security and keeping your business safe against today’s online threats—and tomorrow’s, too. Their Regional Manager, Gal Thompson, gives us the low-down.
Are your business documents protected against breaches?
You may have heard about the data breaches hitting big enterprises, but small and medium-sized businesses are at risk, too.
SMEs are dealing with:
- Increased hacks: hackers see SMEs with little security as easy targets
- Poor data security is a business risk: hacked SMEs soon go out of business.
Document security doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. In this post, we’ll discuss three ways you can start securing your business documents today.
1. Have a document management plan
Seventeen per cent of businesses admit to storing paperwork in a shed. A further 16% keep business documents in a garage, and 22% rely on basements or lofts that could be prone to flooding or damp. These were some of the most shocking findings from a Cleardata study1.
Most of the businesses surveyed kept documents in filing cabinets, drawers and cupboards. While these are better choices than a shed, they’re still expensive and inefficient options.
A good document management system would include the following:
- Destroying dated client documents
- Ensuring you have easy access to documents
- Indexing and labelling documents.
An easy way to get the job done, then, is to digitise your document storage. And there’re a few reasons this might be the better option in the long-term:
- In the US, 98% of data breaches in one government division involved paper records2
- Over 60% of small business that suffer a breach will go out of business within six months3
- Managing paper documents cost US businesses $8 billion annually4.
Going digital means lower storage costs, improved security and increased productivity as staff spend less time searching and refiling documents through filing cabinets.
2. Use digital signatures
On top of making it easier and safer to store your digital documents, a digital signing platform makes it easier to do business, and protects your firm against fraud.
Take, for example, a couple from Canada, who leased a BMW but then stopped making payments. The BMW dealership seized the vehicle and ended up selling it at a loss on the open market. The car dealership opened up a case to reclaim their losses from the couple, who then alleged the dealership had forged their signatures onto the lease applications. Eventually BMW won, but only after a court battle that tested the evidence—a process that could have been avoided altogether.
Let’s consider how digital signatures—which come with an audit trail—might reduce your vulnerability to potential fraud.
While electronic signatures come with their own risks, and can be easily falsified, digital signatures offer unique protection. When you use a digital signature tool, a Certificate Authority binds your identity to a PKI-based Digital Certificate. Users end up with a unique digital fingerprint.
In this way, PKI technology is the only technology in the world that makes it impossible to forge signatures.
Using a tool like Secured Signing also lets everyone who has signed the document know when any changes have been made. All documents come with a complete digital trail.
3. Password-protect your files
Password protecting your client data is a simple way to start securing your documents today.
This is one of the practical cybersecurity tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States of America. It doesn’t have to be hard, either. In Microsoft Word and Excel, click:
- Protect document
- Encrypt with password
Add an additional form of security by introducing different access levels for staff. It may not be necessary for all employees to have access to clients’ personal information.
Securing your business data—and private customer information—has never been more important. The digital age has given rise to affordable technologies to keeping your business documents safe.