There is a lot of media coverage about hacks of electronic data. In late 2014, Sony, for instance, suffered some extreme embarrassment when its network was broken into, which led to the sharing of thousands of confidential e-mails and files. This type of news may lead people to believe that paper files are actually more secure than electronic ones. However, in most cases, they would be wrong.
When a paper file leaves a filing cabinet, does anyone know for sure where it is going to end up? It could be left on a desk, taken home, copied, misfiled, inadvertently thrown out -- any number of bad things could happen. HIPAA regulations, for example, call for Protected Health Information (PHI) to be managed securely, with controlled access. To implement this security and control, many healthcare providers have turned to electronic healthcare record (EHR) systems.
The bottom line is that with the proper implementation, electronic files should be more secure than paper files; and Document Management Solutions provide the perfect bridge for converting those paper files to electronic.
Seven ways Document Imaging Services improve document security:
Secure log-ins: Only those with passwords and/or credentials are able to access electronic document management systems. In addition to controlling document viewing, log-ins can control who is able to upload/scan documents into the system. In some cases, log-ins can be biometrically based; CAC cards are often used in government installations.
Encryption: Most electronic document management systems offer repository-level encryption so that even if the server files are hacked, the files can’t be accessed without a key. Many document capture applications for scanning documents also encrypt documents as they are being transferred from the scanner to the document management system.
Access control: Access to files and sets of files can be limited to certain groups within an organization. Log-in credentials are used to identify users.
Auditing: Most document management systems provide insight into who is viewing what files and when. Activity logs can be saved and downloaded in the case of external audits.
Back-up/disaster recovery: Once a paper file is digitized it becomes subject to the same sort of back-up all your electronic systems have. Best practices also often call for a separate file back-up to ensure no documents are lost, as general application back-ups are not always 100% recoverable. Many paper files have no back-ups, so there is the potential for damage or loss through fire, flooding, other catastrophic events, or simply being misplaced.
Records disposition: By law, many records can be destroyed after a certain period of time, as long as destruction policies are enforced consistently. Automated records management controls can be used to ensure enforcement and ensure no unnecessary documents are retained. This saves on storage, as well as protects against liability.
Redaction: Document imaging, along with automated recognition technologies like OCR and ICR, can assist users with making sure sensitive information is blacked out on documents. Redaction is commonly used by government agencies seeking to comply with e-FOIA regulations.
While paper may seem more secure at first blush, a properly managed electronic file system or Document Management Solution that can store document images offers many more security options and features.
Source: IngramMicro Imaging (Follow on Twitter)