Identity theft is a terrifying prospect when it comes to our own personal lives. The fear of having a stranger using our name, reputation, and money for their own enrichment is enough to create feelings of anger and worry in the most stoic person.
When it comes to document and information theft from our business, however, the situation becomes all the more worrying, as the consequences rise exponentially. Suddenly the risk isn’t just losing a chunk of money, it’s having the rug pulled out from the company we’ve poured our lifeblood into nurturing.
Relationships with other businesses and suppliers can potentially be ruined irrevocably, we might end up finding ourselves being made redundant, or we may even become embroiled in complicated and damaging legal disputes.
To prevent this nightmarish scenario from coming to pass, here are a few key tips for protecting your professional documents.
Use encryption software
No confidential digital file should be in circulation without being subject to proper encryption. Fortunately, professional services exist to render such confidential material inaccessible to the average hacker, even if the document were to be intercepted or stolen.
Have an often protocol for how such encryption should be handled — which files get encrypted, to what degree, and who has access to them — and utilize services such as alert-sec and pk-ware who specialize in protecting the privacy of their clients.
Keep your documents on a portable hard drive
In an age of cyber attacks and corporate sabotage by way of the web, one of the best strategies for protecting your sensitive business documents is to keep them disconnected from the web as much as possible.
One of the most practical ways of doing this while still meeting the requirements of the 21st Century digital business environment, is to keep sensitive files on a portable hard drive, and to only connect that drive to a computer with an internet connection when necessary.
You could go so far as the circulate the documents around the office solely through an internal network or via memory sticks or printed copies, rather than relying on email.
While this may create some complications, it is undoubtedly one of the most surefire ways of preventing highly confidential information from finding its way into the wrong hands.
Keep hard copy documents securely locked away
When handling hard copies of confidential documents, ensure that you and all of your staff and colleagues understand that the greatest possible care must be taken to keep the documents safe and secure — particularly if you or your company are high-profile enough to attract public attention.
There have been several high-profile incidents in recent years of politicians from various countries having highly-classified documents photographed by journalists while travelling on public transport or walking down the street, and some have even managed to lose entire briefcases full of sensitive data.
Clearly this is a situation to be avoided at all costs.
Use secure management software for your legal documents
Legal documents ranging from contracts to litigation must be managed and secured with the utmost care, and for that reason an industry has grown up around providing efficient and secure legal matter management systems for such data.
Have your team investigate such services and select one which seems most effective for your chosen objectives. You’ll find that much of the work needed to ensure a streamlined and security-minded approach to your company’s legal files have already been provided by a variety of the dedicated services out there.
While the use of such a content managing system should by no means be seen as an excuse for lax attention to security on the part of your team, it does start you off from an initial position of security which gives you some room to breathe.
Keep multiple copies of essential documents with various team members
There are more dangers to important business documents than mere theft alone. A common sabotage technique involves the introduction of viruses to a business network which proceeds to scrub databases and eradicate essential information — potentially ruining the business outright or causing untold inconvenience for their client base.
One of the best protections against such an attack is to keep multiple copies of essential documents, in multiple formats, with various members of staff — taking the necessary precautions to ensure that proper confidentiality protocols are being observed.
Examples could include a document being saved on a portable hard drive, in hard copy in a trusted filing system, and on the (properly secured) work computers of the team members to whom it is relevant.