Security Features All Organizations Need in a Document Management System

With data breach on the rise and organizations stymied by natural disaster, security and data backup are becoming imperatives to the document management system and its role in business planning. Despite the necessity of data protection, most organizations do not implement security measures as needed due to demand for other things right off the bat, especially among startups.

Acquiring low-cost talent, managing budgetary concerns, and developing strategy all seem to take precedence over data security, but if there has ever been a year where data security has proven important, it’s 2016.

Keep reading to find out what the most important document management system security features are so you can take the first step toward improving your organization’s security habits, and, in turn, your organization’s longevity.

1. Digital Archiving and Automated Deletion

Digital archiving is not only a feature of the document management system – it is also in and of itself one of the greatest benefits DMS offers for several reasons:

If an administrator using a new document management system is uncertain about when a document should be deleted to uphold legal compliance, or knows a document will be ‘evergreen’ and useful for long periods of time, the digital archive feature will help store these files without consuming greater amounts of physical space.

Consequently, the benefits of going paperless are compounded as more and more files accumulate in a DMS’s digital archives. Additionally, digital archiving gives you what you need to prevent document damage and automates document disposal so digital storage space is retained and clutter is reduced. Doing so will assist your organization in upholding its content management maturity.

2. The Web Portal

Information interchange’s history has brought communication from snail mail to email, and ultimately, client-sharing and web portals—these portals being integral features of the best DMS products. These web portals transcend the breach-susceptible aspects of email plaguing modern work environments.

Client-sharing portals are the most secure, encrypted, and fitting way for organizations interchanging sensitive information, whether from organization to client or client to organization, to ensure the lowest possible chance of data breach or interception by unwelcomed third parties.

These client-sharing web portals, at their inmost function, share sensitive information securely, and are becoming widely adopted alternatives to email in the transmission of this sensitive information, particularly from organizations’ perspectives.

Selecting a document management system with safe, secure, and encrypted file-sharing feature is particularly important for organizations handling sensitive client, customer, or patient information. For instance, if your organization belongs to the financial services, manufacturing, accounting, healthcare, human resources, or insurance sectors, a web sharing portal is essential.

The file-sharing features of all document management system products should include bank-grade, 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) security for sending and receiving of information, and SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) encryption on data sent from the organization’s worksite to the solution’s data centers and/or clients.

These client-sharing and web portals must be HIPAA, SEC, and FINRA compliant if these legislative authorities and organizations issue standards relevant to one’s industry. Given that client-sharing and web portals facilitate file-sharing with clients, the right document management system will allow room to customize the branding and design of the client-sharing portal’s platform, ensuring branding consistency via these client-sharing portals as an email signature would in Microsoft Outlook.

Although this is an above-industry-standard feature for organizations not belonging to the aforementioned sectors, it is a feature providing a worthwhile encryption guideline for both data transmission (data in transit) and data at rest, and may become imperative in other industries in the near future (data at rest simply refers to inactive information stored in any digital form).

The web sharing portal is becoming an increasingly essential feature. A recent study by Ponemon reports that 89% of organizations experienced data breaches whether they knew it or not.

3. Automated Backup

Automated backup ensures retention of an organization’s database structure and files on a regular basis; it is a high-level data destruction-resistant feature for organizations operating in earthquake, hurricane, or other natural disaster-prone areas.

As a standard for automated backup cycles, DMS should back up data and information every 24 hours. In addition to automated backup, it’s worth noting that an online, cloud-based document management system makes this data accessible from anywhere there is an internet connection. In the event of a catastrophic event, this enables organizations to restore backed up data with little if any interruption or organizational loss.

Automated backup should also entail a restore function in DMS products. In the event of a catastrophe or total system failure, which is highly unlikely given the enterprise-grade bandwidth of the best document management system products, a restore function re-creates data even when it has been destroyed at its origin.

4. Role Based User Permissions

Start here. Role-based user permissions differentiate standard users from users with permission to access certain files within a DMS, and these permissions can be specified quickly, efficiently, and without error to a DMS administrator or manager’s liking.

Depending on how hierarchy is structured with the role-based user permissions feature, administrators can call support teams to assign auditor licenses to external auditors, which are different than the user licenses an organization has with a document management system.

With role-based user permissions, administrators can also manage file retention schedules and employees with equal precision—automating, in many respects, the managerial process.

Role-based user permissions provide ‘view only’ access to organizations in any industry that is subjected to audits, to ensure auditors won’t mistakenly alter the information. Audit trails will also show which changes have been made to which documents and by whom, including who has viewed the information—all three of these being legally relevant factors.

Role based user permissions are especially helpful with use of mobile document management system apps, as employees are more likely to attempt to access and tinker with information they aren’t supposed to handle while unsupervised and out of the office.

It’s also important to note, however, that role-based user permissions are generally not feature specific, but rather viewing and editing specific. For instance, any user can version files, but not any user can view certain versions of a file if specified otherwise by the document management system administrator’s designated role based user permissions.

Essential for compliance-centric industries and their organizations, guest auditor access (a subcomponent of role based user permissions) allows administrators and managers to provide external auditors with guest access to the document management system in a “read only” permissions basis—which is all an external auditor typically needs to fulfill their assignment.

5. WORM (Write Once Read Many) Compliance

This feature is simply a DMS’s ability to preserve digital records exclusively in a non-rewritable, non-erasable format of the role-based user permissions.This feature is beneficial for both external and internal auditors, as well as files that all employees must view but are not given permission to alter. WORM compliance is essential for organization subject to regulating authorities with stringent document management system viewing and access standards.