Lock placed on a computer keyboard and data chips

There were some 40 million data security breaches in 2023 that cost companies an average of $4.45 million, making it the highest average on record. Security breaches are increasingly a routine threat that enterprises and institutions must protect against. Arguably, the organizations most likely to be targeted include those that deal with sensitive and public data records. Critical legal documents, utility bills, invoices, and B2B exchanges are just some examples of this.

The entities handling these sorts of documents need to ensure a robust focus on client data protection throughout the process. If you happen to entrust a partner with the printing, distribution, or management of your critical documents, it’s incumbent upon you to work with a provider that follows data security best practices

Information Outsource prides itself on the level of reliability and security we provide to our clients, which include leading public and private entities, including utilities, government agencies, financial institutions, legal departments, and real estate companies among others. We rely on a range of measures to guarantee this security for our clients. This is one of the key reasons why our client relationships have an average tenure of 12 years. 

Here is a range of best practices you can implement for the data security of your critical documents.

Understanding Data Security for Documents

Document data security refers to the measures and technologies in place to prevent unauthorized access to or manipulation of your critical documents. Step one is understanding what sort of security threats you’re up against. These are broadly three types of threats:

  • Cyberattacks: Cyberattacks include targeting your digital information via hacking, malware, phishing, and ransomware software. This is the fastest-growing form of security threat, particularly for public and private companies that store large volumes of customer data. However, data security best practices can help protect you from these attacks.
  • Insider Threats: This is where employees or other internal company stakeholders with access to your information may intentionally or unintentionally compromise it. Forty-three percent of all breaches are due to insider threats, a substantial portion of which are incidents of corporate espionage. 
  • Physical Threats: Physical threats are incidents like natural disasters, fires, or theft that can lead to the loss or destruction of your physical documents or digital infrastructure. 

In each case, there are certain best practices you can follow to ensure security and client data protection. Depending on your location or industry, you might even be compelled to do this by legal and regulatory requirements. For example, the EU’s GDPR and its Californian equivalent, CCPA, require you to take certain measures to ensure the protection of personal data. Likewise, HIPAA applies to all companies operating in the healthcare industry.

Data Security Best Practices for Document Management

Flawless security and client data protection require you to look after the entire document management value chain, from data creation to storage, sharing, and distribution. All the stakeholders involved in the workflow need to have the appropriate technology and processes built into their systems. You might also want to verify that your external document handling partner also complies with these measures. 

  • Secure Networks and Collaboration

Mouse pointer clicking on security.

Securing your data transmission networks is step one. If your communications aren’t safe, much of the rest of your security apparatus is at risk. Using encrypted email and messaging platforms is a time-tested best practice for data security. Make sure file-sharing happens through secured channels and neither the customer data, nor access to it, is ever shared through unsecured channels. 

Public utilities, such as water, gas, and internet companies, are often susceptible to phishing attacks, designed to steal customer or client data. Deploy robust firewalls for protection against digital data theft as well as a potential crash from DDoS attacks. 

  • Access Control and Permissions

Role-based access control (RBAC) is a standard best practice for data security of critical documents. RBAC is used to assign access permissions based on an individual’s role in the organization. Back this up with user authentication methods, such as two-factor authentication (2FA), to verify that the person requesting access is who they say they are. 

Finally, if you’re a company that deals with a lot of confidential business information, you might also want to supplement digital security with background checks on your employees to ensure you’re hiring reliable talent. 

  • Document Storage

You have a few options when it comes to storing your critical documents. Cloud storage offers you the flexibility of remote access and computing. Storing them on your premises, on the other hand, gives you more control, but is also more expensive to manage.

If you do choose a cloud provider, make sure you look into their track record and check up on their references to verify their security claims. If you choose to store your documents in-house, ensure you regularly update and patch your storage systems to protect against security threats.

  • Disaster Recovery

This is a data security best practice that often differentiates the average from the truly robust. Even with foolproof security, your facility might be vulnerable to an accident or natural disaster. This is why Information Outsource maintains a disaster recovery site. It ensures client data protection in case of an emergency. 

Also, if one of your facilities is compromised owing to, say, a ransomware attack or digital disruption, your disaster recovery site can take over and ensure that critical services your customers depend on aren’t interrupted.

  • Employee Training

Finally, the best data security practices are meaningless if your employees aren’t trained to follow them. It’s a very worthwhile investment to spend time training your employees on the importance of data security and the usage of tools and technologies that help to preserve it.

Establish clear procedures for the handling of data as well as educate them on how to identify phishing attacks and report any suspicious digital or real-world activity.

Partner With Certified Experts

Information Outsource is a SOC 2-Type 2 certified company that offers comprehensive printing and mailing services for critical documents. We deal with everything from utility bills to jury summons, financial documents, and more for our clients, helping them reliably deliver their communications nationwide. We go above and beyond in the implementation of data security best practices and regularly conduct SOC 2-Type audits in line with AICPA Trust Principles.

Reach out to us to see how we can help you in the production and distribution of vital communication with flawless security.