Every day businesses and government share information with clients, strategic partners, suppliers, agencies and the public. With demand for rapid, easy information access, the use of online document exchange and automated business processes is growing in order to increase productivity, reduce costs, and serve customers more effectively. But organizations must make sure these online processes, some quite easy to use like e-mail attachments or FTP (File Transfer Protocol), do not compromise trust and leave an opening for inappropriate use of sensitive information.
The advantages of online business processing can be realized with a secure, reliable electronic document exchange provided document management includes control of a record's authenticity, integrity and confidentiality. The end result delivers assurance that a document is coming from a stated author without permission being altered and is viewable by the intended audience.
Safeguarding documents mitigates serious risk that may occur if information is improperly managed and processed. Loss of financial records, intellectual property or personal identifiers such as social security numbers and account numbers can lead to attacks on financial and operational performance, lack of compliance and identity theft. What are some of the vulnerabilities in document management?
- Laptops or PDAs containing critical-business information being stolen in which data in portable documents is left accessible and can be instantaneously disseminated through e-mail or publishing across the Internet
- Sophisticated hackers accessing computers and networks through insecure interfaces of web-based applications that do not control data sessions and processes (retrival and storage), leaving an opportunity to seize control and breach the data system
- Document access not being permission controlled specific to information distribution channels or documents/files allowing possible modification and malicious intent
- Incompatible technologies such as firewalls, networks, computers and software not working in synchronization leaving the entire data system open to vulnerabilities; a lack of network integration
- Data transmission and passwords not utilizing both decryption and encryption techniques
Improve Productivity and Service Through Secure Online Document Management
A secure document management system protects critical business information through controlled access and monitoring. Online business processing can be secure if executed correctly. When exchanging documents or files consider the following:
- Use SSL (Secure Socket Layers) certification for your information application that authenticates your system and utilizes a high level of encryption 128 or 256-bit
- Embed user permissions and access controls that travel with the document do not just be reliant on network firewalls, server permissions or profiles
- Incorporate data validation that verifies who accesses data and manages the entire process; track and log all transactions with audit trails
- Incorporate a digital identity system that includes measures such as digital signature or key certification
- Use fine-grained encryption and decryption that does not store public keys locally and checks the server certification
- Maintain a process of persistent document security that evaluates on-going traffic patterns and access attempts
- Define permissions to select recipients that determines what can be done to a document: view, enter data, revise, print, copy or make no changes at all
- Assign protocols or rights for data distribution and receiving documents; complex business processes involving multiple documents and approvals need to have expert rules integrated in the application to provide checks and balances
- Use an open and extensible application interface to ensure that document exchange requirements can be readily adapted
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