Document management isn’t exactly the most exciting facet of operating a business, but it is a necessary one. A lot of companies probably don’t even have a written strategy when it comes to naming, saving, and sharing documents, but they should for the sake of consistency, efficiency, and security. In addition, a surprising number of companies aren’t very savvy when it comes to understanding document security. Here is some of the worst advice we’ve heard about secure document sharing:
Use an External Drive
It is hard to believe that external drives are even available for purchase anymore. But, someone is obviously buying them, otherwise they wouldn’t be on the market. For companies looking to cut costs, utilizing such drives probably seems like the most economical choice. In addition to being relatively cheap, they are also convenient because of their portability. However, cheap and convenient methods of data storage and sharing are far from secure.
Worst Case Scenario: With an external drive, it is pretty clear that the likelihood of the drive getting lost, stolen, or damaged is uncomfortably high. Even if the data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, it may be lost forever if it wasn’t stored anywhere else.
Just Attach Documents to an Email
Most free email services offer a lot of storage capacity, sometimes within the email system itself and often as part of the service’s other applications. This is great for personal usage, but company documents should not be stored in these systems because they just don’t have the same type of advanced security measures that purpose-built solutions have.
Worst Case Scenario: It isn’t that hard for hackers to get into free email accounts, and if that happens, your trove of information, both personal and professional, may be exposed.
Related Article: The CFO's Guide to Document Retention
Free Tools are First Choice
More than likely, any free version of a data storage service is free because it has limited features and minimal security. The really scary thing about these tools is that they are more focused on convenience, so they create multiple copies of these documents and make them available on a ton of different devices. This makes it more difficult to keep tabs on your company information, with complete loss of control possible.
Worst Case Scenario: As more devices are used to access data stored within these tools, data becomes harder to maintain and is more likely to become compromised. And, one of the worst parts about this is that it will be pretty hard to figure out where and how the leak occurred because there were so many points of storage.
Related Article: Dropbox vs. Virtual Data Rooms: A Comparison
All Cloud Storage Solutions are the Same, So Choose the Cheapest
If your company decides that it needs to take its data storage up a notch and invests in a virtual data room, you may be tempted to choose the cheapest option. This frequently occurs because of the erroneous belief that all cloud storage solutions are more or less the same. However, providers utilize different types of security measures, offer different data storage capacity, have completely different pricing plans and structures, and usually take a different approach to customer service and tech support.
Worst Case Scenario: If you don’t take the time to research virtual data room providers, understand their solutions, and make comparisons with other providers, you very well may end up with an overly-priced, subpar service. This can create a host of problems, including wasted time and money on setup and implementation, compromised data due to inadequate security, or lost information with no support or recourse.
Even though data security is a hot topic and breaches are frequently in the headlines, a lot of companies continue to overlook the importance of implementing a secure document storage and sharing system, perhaps because of their reliance on the bad advice that somehow continues to circulate. But, the costs and consequences of a data breach can have a tremendous impact on a company, so it is important to take this matter seriously.