What is a document management system?
A document management system is a software solution allowing businesses to collate, share and amend documents digitally. This helps negate the need for countless paper documents, unwieldly filing cabinets as well as the endless man hours, filing and retrieving documents.
How can a document management system add value?
Document Management Systems bring a number of values to any business, increasing productivity and efficiency as well as reducing costs. There does also seem to be one overriding theme however, and this is security. Below we have listed 7 key security reasons for implementing a document management system;
Reason 1 – Reduced need for email
When it comes to the transfer of large and sensitive documents, particularly via email, this can be a significant security risk for any business. Despite being a fantastic business tool, email is one of many weak points for organisations, as emails in transit can be an easier point of entry for hackers and interceptors. Document Management Systems reduce the need to distribute files via email as they allow users to share directly from the system interface. This can also reduce the risk of accidentally including individuals within confidential emails.
Reason 2 – Collaboration
Working collaboratively on documents with others, whether internally or externally comes into most roles, however it is no easy task when it comes to keeping up to date with in flux documents.
Document management systems can facilitate the authoring, reviewing and approval of documents by giving users visibility of where documents currently are, in its lifecycle. This is an important security feature when it comes to the reputation of your business as it can prevent misidentified, incomplete, inaccurate and unapproved documentation from reaching clients.
Reason 3 – Reducing Human error
Holding HR records, customer files and financial information is essential for organisations, however keeping these in paper form brings with it numerous challenges. Not only is physical storage expensive and takes up valuable office space but also makes archiving and retrieval processes prone to human error. From a security point of view, DMS’s can prevent sensitive data from being lost and leaked as they can be digitally archived, allowing for quick searches based on titles, key words and dates.
Reason 4 – Compliance
As mentioned, it is essential that customer details, HR records and financial information are kept by businesses in order to comply with legal regulations. Having these documents easily accessible via a DMS gives organisations the ability to clearly demonstrate custody and traceability of these documents which can then easily be deleted once the legally mandated time period for storage has passed.
Reason 5 – Version Control
Allowing one user to edit a single document at any one time, these systems prevent important document changes from being lost, and duplicates being made. Questions such as “Who has the most recent version? Where is it saved? and Who made these changes?” will be no strangers to those who regularly work collaboratively.
Document Management Systems leave a full audit trail on all files, documenting exactly who has edited these and what changes have been made, whilst simultaneously keeping a fully accessible log of all previous versions.
Most people can relate to a time when damaging changes were accidently made and saved to an important document, making it impossible to retrieve the original version. These systems can prevent this from happening, saving the loss of important documents.
Reason 6 - Back up
Document Management Systems prevent the loss of data within the system often by moving documents to both primary and backup storage folders that are never kept within the database. Much like the conventional back up process of saving duplicate documents in separate locations, DMS’s do this automatically, again removing the risk of human error.
Reason 7 – Access Permissions
Document Management Systems allow administrators to set up system permissions calibrated down to an individual document level, meaning only authorised personnel have access to system files and documents. This prevents sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands and significantly reduces the risk of data breaches.
Does your records management and retention policy comply with the GDPR?
Records management is once again a key business issue, due to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force in May 2018. No organisation can ignore this, given that potentially penalties for non-compliance can be up to four per cent of an organisation’s global revenue. Clearly, via this directive, the European Commission is aiming to drive organisations to make data protection a key business function.