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The Essentials of A Secure Document Management System

Document Management systems drastically reduce the paper piles of the classic physical office by bringing digital order, enhanced traceability, and secure control. Going digital makes many anxious about the possible security pitfalls. What are the essentials of a secure DMS? Let's dive into our topic. 

 What is a Document Management System? 

A Document Management System (or DMS) stores, classifies, and organizes your documents in a digital workspace where access is granted based on authorization. A DMS is extremely useful for any business which aims at reducing the volume of paper-based documents, digitizing the current physical document set, and maintaining future documents digitally. Additional features include controlled editing, collaboration, and single source of truth.

A good DMS keeps your data and your assets secure, and enhances business collaboration among employees.

You can elevate your enterprise content and your business with a good DMS.

Picking the best DMS choice from a myriad of opportunities should be done against a checklist which this article will present. 

What makes a DMS secure?

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For a good DMS, security is its middle name. Security should be a red line which is embedded in and cuts across all DMS feature verticals. 

 Safe storage 

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A DMS not only stores your documents, but also performs regular backups automatically in distributed physical locations or in the cloud. This behavior is DMS-native, and if your solution is cloud-based then an extra security layer is provided out of the box by the cloud-service provider.

A physical warehouse or cabinet is an option for storing your documents, but it has the disadvantage of being hard to search in, easy to deteriorate over time, and highly sensitive to physical damage or accidents. Moreover, physical duplication of documents and maintenance of all copies requires additional staff, costs, and can result in knowledge void once the staff resigns. In the case of DMS, should an infrastructure problem or a malware attack occur, you can easily access the backup, retrieve the latest data, and carry on with your work. 

Archived database 

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As your digital database grows, it needs to separate older assets from newer ones. Decluttering could not be easier, as you can set up rules that the DMS uses to archive specific documents or folders at given intervals based on metadata such as: creation date, last update, subject, and so on.

You can maintain and curate the metadata the DMS reads, straight from the DMS. Your DMS is a one-place hub where you can enrich your documents and assets semantically, enabling you to manipulate data safely beyond archiving purposes. 

Data encryption 

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Data encryption is an essential security feature you should look for in a DMS. Encryption is the process by which information is transformed, so that it cannot be interpreted by unauthorized entities. The transformation is the result of applying an algorithm which in included in the DMS.

Encryption is a safe guard against external data injection or alteration, and against PII information exposure. Moreover, you will gain customer trust and pass successful audits, as you will be recognized as a reliable business which keeps proprietary information secure at all times. 

Authorized access 

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The assets stored in a DMS can be accessed by authorized personnel based on credentials and permissions. Staff can be granted access to a subset of documents, but not to another, to some file versions, but not to others. The overall experience can be improved by implementing a web portal where the same authorized access is enforced. 

Internal traceability 

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When a document is created or edited, you can easily track who did what and when, which enables you to roll back to a previous document version (or state), in case some changes are not accurate. A secure DMS enforces traceability every step of the way via: version control, check-in and check-out operations, locked content and controlled editing. If your DMS allows for concurrent editing, all the edits will be visible in the final version of the documents, and information will not be lost or duplicated. 

Audit compliance

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For audit purposes, a DMS can be used to easily extract the documents and reports needed for assessment. In addition, you can also provide the audit body with a guest account and have them assess the sanity of your system directly.

The actual use of a DMS is a checklist item which audits ask for when assessing whether you run a safe business where changes can be accounted for. Many DMSs are also designed to integrate various international standards for how information should be rendered in the case of pharmaceuticals, medical information, or financial information. Find a DMS that keeps you compliant on all levels. 

Controlled automation 

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You can automate how documents are processed by workflows in use cases such as: electronic signatures from several parties, approval from several parties, documentation for new hires, contract drafts, contract distribution, and even billing. Based on rules and metadata, a DMS can distribute a document, and store all the input it gathers. 

Level of instruction

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A DMS is a tool that facilitates the handling of digital documents, but it also needs staff which understands the system and which makes informed and consistent decisions across the board.

Businesses are responsible for setting up and enforcing the principles which precede asset security and data recoverability. Therefore, before using the DMS set some ground rules, such as: file naming guidelines, appended codes and code inventory, editing processes and workflows, metadata inventory, templates, user groups and their access. 

How can a DMS improve business flows?

A DMS can improve any business flow while keeping it secure for: