Going Paperless? Review Your Security and Update Your Business Practices

Research and caution is in order when contemplating on going paperless for your business. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

Going paperless and staying secure

Going paperless for your business opens up a world of new opportunities for you. You suddenly find that accessing everything is much easier. Finding files is not the hassle it used to be. You’re saving space, time and effort. Better yet, you save a lot of money by going paperless.

There is a downside though. While not discouraging you to go paperless – it’s great for the environment – we will point out that it does open you up to security risks. There is a way for you to combat that. It’s not as complicated as you think it might be.

Searching for the Best Security for Your Web-Based Services

Storing your files virtually means you’ll need to use companies and websites who have the best security available. Your files are confidential. The virtual services you use to run your business should be equipped with security that makes both you and your clients feel safe.

To find the best security, you can start by investigating the company itself. They will often tell you on their website what type of security measures they take, or how they will keep your files safe. For example, Dropbox says on its security page that they use a “256-bit AES encryption and use an SSL/TLS secure tunnel to transfer files between you and us.” They go into detail about what that means for you and your files. They also tell you what it protects, and what it doesn’t. Other company websites that value your security will have similar statements.

What if you don’t understand the technical jargon they use to explain their security features? The company should have their security features laid out in terms that anyone can understand, especially companies priding themselves on paperless efficiency. SignNow, an electronic signature company, lists the features of its security system, and what they mean. Next to “Encryption” it says, “all data is encrypted in transit using 256-bit encryption, the strongest readily available encryption, with 2048-bit SSL keys.” Next to “Firewall” it states “all systems are protected by firewalls, which block all traffic except that which is necessary for site operations.”

Any company that provides virtual services for businesses should have something similar on its security page. We’re not telling you to avoid companies that don’t, but the more transparent a company is about the type of security they use, the more likely you are able to trust them with your valuable documents.

Taking the Initiative With Your Business’s Security

Don’t leave internet security up to a company. While security for signing documents, storing them and sharing them are important, you still need to be able to maintain security for your internal network. You can do this by educating yourself and your employees about how to keep your documents safe.

Get an antivirus program installed on every computer. This program blocks the majority of malware, viruses and other malicious attempts that outside parties can use to access your data.

Keep your antivirus program and operating system updated. Do not disable updates for either of these. New viruses and malware are found every day. An outdated program/operating system is like a leaky roof. It has holes in it. These holes allow new viruses and malware to get through. It can cause a lot of damage if it isn’t repaired fast.

Come up with a code of conduct for your employees to follow specifically for the internet. If there are websites you don’t want them accessing, you can have these blocked. You can either do it through the web browser, or use a program like BrowseControl.

If your employees go to a coffee shop or somewhere else that offers free public wifi, make sure they are aware of the dangers of using that connection. Public wifi is a hacker’s dream. Nothing is protected.
Here’s how public wifi hacking works:

  • Someone sets up a fake hotspot that is labeled like a real wifi network belonging to the business they are in. (Ex: “Joe’s Coffee Shop Wifi”)
  • Someone connects to that network, thinking they’re connecting to the business’ wifi network.
  • The hacker now has access to everything on that person’s phone, tablet or laptop.

Can you see the danger of this scenario?

If your employee must send something or check company email, make sure they do it from a secure internet connection.

Going paperless can be an enjoyable experiences. But, like all other changes you make in life, you should do your research and exercise caution. This will make the transition smoother and less stressful – for you and your employees.

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