Avoiding Security Threats with Digital Document Management

IBM i, Windows
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July 27, 2016


How do you currently manage your documents? Are they stored in a filing cabinet? Are some scattered across your desk? Do you have to manually route them for approval and obtain signatures by hand? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it might be time to examine how secure your documents currently are.

There are several drawbacks to paper-based document management processes.

They’re sluggish and inefficient, for one. Waiting for someone to sign off on important documents can take forever if you have to manually route them for approval. Worse yet, paper documents can get lost or destroyed easier than you might imagine.

But perhaps the biggest drawback to dealing with paper-based document management is that it’s simply not secure.

Think of what’s contained within your business documents: data. Whether it’s a Q2 financial report, a personnel file that’s being sent to HR, or an invoice that must be paid on time, this information is pertinent to keeping your business up and running. What if something were to happen to that data? What if you had no way of seeing how that data was lost or transmitted? When dealing with paper documents, that’s unfortunately the case.

Don't Settle for Paper. Get the Guide to Digital Document Management >

Three Potential Security Threats to Paper-Based Processes  

Many things can happen to paper documents, files, and reports. With digital document management, you're free from these worries:

1. Human Error

Let’s face it: humans aren’t perfect. We lose things. We forget things. But above all, we misplace things.

How many times have you misfiled something, only to spend hours searching for it later? Or forgotten about a file or document, and it caused a bottleneck in your business process? Paper documents are highly susceptible to human error, and when those errors occur, you’re without an easy way to see how they were misplaced or where they are now located.

Sometimes, problems in business processes can also be caused by simply not knowing who needs to see the document next in your approval process.  With tracking and version control, digital document management software allows you to see where a document is in your business process, who has taken what actions, and what actions need to be taken next. Documents can also be efficiently indexed so that finding them later is a breeze.

Not only do we misplace things, but sometimes we misinterpret directions. When you give someone a form to fill out, they don’t always enter data correctly. Maybe they don’t enter their address in the proper format, or they don’t provide the kind of information you’re looking for. Digital forms software uses enforceable business logic and field validation to ensure data is always entered correctly the first time. With automated data capture, you don’t have to rekey information, which reduces human error.

2. Natural Causes

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but paper documents are susceptible to damage from water, fires, or other natural causes. Signatures signed in ink can bleed if they get wet, rendering the print illegible. If something damaging like a fire were to happen at your office and all your paper documents were destroyed, what would your recourse be?

With digital signature capture, you can merge and apply signatures to your digital documents, ensuring they are protected from damage. Furthermore, with a full-scale digital document management solution, you can replace those cumbersome, poorly-secured filing cabinets with a secure, digital repository where you can store, retrieve, and manage all your documents in one place.

3. Data Breaches

When sensitive business information is merely sitting in a filing cabinet, it can easily be accessed—and stolen. Legal contracts, personnel files, or financial reports are just a few examples of documents that contain highly sensitive information. If someone were to steal this information, you’d likely have no way of finding out who had done it.

With a digital document management solution, information is never accessed, lost, or overwritten by someone without proper authority. You can control who has access to information at departmental, sub-group, or even document-type levels. Version and tracking control options can paint a clear picture of every action taken on the document. 

Document Security in Action

Document security is important for any organization that handles business-critical information—period. Within any company, there will be confidential information, deals, personnel files, and reports that are only meant for specific sets of eyes. Here are a few sectors where document security becomes increasingly important:


In HR, employee information must be kept private and personal at all times. Personnel files, financial information, health information, and more are all susceptible to theft or loss when they’re sitting in a filing cabinet. Employee information is always safe with an HR document management solution, thanks to advanced version control and security features that log all document activity and prevent documents from being overwritten or deleted. Document access is locked down and limited to authorized users only. See how Hi-Temp did it >


Healthcare is another field where protecting personal information is critical. Patient-doctor confidentiality is a serious, legal matter—staying HIPPAA compliant is crucial to keep hospitals and doctor’s offices in operation. With the right solution, you can rest assured that no one can access, edit, or overwrite important data without proper authorization. Set iron-clad security controls that grant access only to those individuals who need the information. See how KSB Hospital did it >

Why Trust Digital Document Management

With digital document management, you can confidently replace your filing cabinets with something more secure: a centralized repository where you can store, manage, and route all your important business information. You might keep your document management system on-premises, or you can store it in the cloud. Either way is secure. 

Our digital forms and document management products help keep your documents secure and your business compliant with both external and internal business regulations. Auditability of your documents is crucial to running a secure, smooth operation, and with digital document management, you have a clear audit trail of every action taken pertaining to any document. You'll be able to scan in existing paper documents or import existing digital files, and create new digital forms that enforce business logic and automated data capture, ensuring information is entered correctly the first time.

Don’t let your pertinent business data sit in a filing cabinet. Get the information you need to implement digital document management across your organization. 

Learn More About Document Management

How else will digital document management help your business? Find out. In The Document Management Guide, you'll learn everything you need to do about digital document management. 

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