5 Simple Steps To Create an Office Document Security Strategy

Document security concept with person working with a laptop

With so much of our information storage and sharing taking place online, it’s sometimes easy to forget the importance of protecting hard copy documents and the security within the company regarding local networks. Most companies spend a lot on internet security and overlook the basic need for an internal office document security strategy.

Trade secrets, employee and customer data records, and financial records are all vital information used in any modern business. Your information needs to be shared. More importantly, it needs to be shared with the right people. The last thing you need is for this valuable information to be used for ill-intended purposes.

It’s important to create an office document security strategy that will ensure your sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

1. Protection at Point of Capture

Document scanning has done a lot to streamline business operations. You can scan directly to your desktop or laptop, scan to fax, or scan to email. This makes the capture and distribution of documents, from basically any device, a fast and easy process. It is important that these devices are secure, and the documents stored and shared are protected.

Inevitably, the office printer/scanner is a shared device, connected to a network. While the advantages are obvious, only authorized staff should have access to the network and the devices connected to it. User authentication by using passwords, or smart cards, is paramount to ensuring that company information remains secure.

2. Protecting Document Output

When a document is printed and simply left lying in the printer tray, anyone can walk past and read it.

To ensure that printed documents are protected, print management software is your best defense. Documents that require printing are held in a secure queue. In order to print the physical document, the employee will need to sign in at the printer. They select the specific document for printing and initiate the printing process. The added benefit of using print management software is a recorded log of users and the documents they have printed.

These security measures can also be applied to smart devices. Encrypted connectivity between these devices and the printer allows people to safely output the data.

3. Protecting Collaborative Documents

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a powerful tool for sharing and amending documents securely. Used correctly, PDF documents can be stored as password-protected files. Document editing can be managed using encryption and controlled permission. Redacted information can also be permanently deleted.

4. Shredding

Document shredding is one of the oldest practices but still one of the most effective, ensuring sensitive information is protected. Ironically, many modern businesses don’t regularly dispose of redundant or obsolete confidential documents, which leaves them open to having important information land in the wrong hands.

5. Implement a Document Security Policy

A formal document security strategy, with well-understood policies, will help you manage both the document technology and the employees that use it. This approach needs to have some basic fundamentals to operate effectively:

  • Designated Document Security Officer: A senior staff member tasked with overseeing and implementing document security policies.
  • Document Destruction Policy: Employees need to have a clear directive on where to put documents that need to be shredded and when.
  • Employee Training: The people in your business need to be educated in order to understand and effectively make use of data protection protocol. Don’t be shy about reiterating your policies several times throughout the year.
  • Document Security Audits: A physical inspection of trash cans around the office and paper recycling bins, as well digital audits of devices like printers and scanners will help ensure that employees are adhering to document security policies.

Data Protection Specialists

For some business owners, especially small businesses, the time and effort required to implement a comprehensive document security strategy may be impeding.

Your main focus is managing your business, not information and document security. You could do well to investigate the possibility of utilizing a professional data security company. These specialized service providers do much more than secure electronic and hard copy data.

Services can include:

  • Onsite and offsite document shredding.
  • Document drop-off service.
  • Product destruction.
  • Electronic data and hardware destruction.

There is one caution you need to be aware of. Because you are entrusting your document security to a third-party, it’s imperative that you use a trustworthy company, with recognized certifications. AccuShred is a one-stop-shop for all your data protection and destruction needs. We offer both on and off-site shredding, can help you develop and assess your current data protection strategies, and we have a long-standing community reputation built on trust and reliability.

Contact us today for more information about how we can help improve your company’s data security best practices.