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Are Your Paper Documents Protected?

Despite the powerful trend toward paperless workflows, most businesses still have circumstances that require hardcopies of documents. Contracts, proposals, manuscripts, prints, posters, maps, and receipts are all candidates for hardcopies, whether for financial, legal, or regulatory reasons. In other cases, paper documents are simply business ephemera—needed in hard copy format until they’re converted, transferred, or otherwise used. Unfortunately, paper documents can also bring with them a substantial amount of risk.

If your business relies on paper as part of its workflow processes, read on for a breakdown of considerations to help secure them.

Problem: Human Errors

Humans are the most important part of doing business, but are also one of the greatest risk points! One stray click can send a confidential document to a printer in another department. A staff member may stop on the way to the printer, spending ten minutes discussing tomorrow’s presentation while their print job languishes, vulnerable in the print tray. Another will print just before heading out for the day, and in a rush to leave, abandon the document without realizing it. Protecting your bottom line means making smart choices to avoid such liability of paper print-outs.

Try: Deploy multifunction printers with pull-printing security, such as PIN codes or access card input. These features release documents for print only when the owner is physically at the printer to collect, ensuring no documents are ever left sitting in print trays for anyone to claim.

Problem: Theft and Espionage

How many financial reports end up in the trash? Is an employee’s complete personnel file just sitting in a filing cabinet? What about proposals or patent applications? Physical documents are vulnerable—easily removed from a cabinet, retrieved from the trash, or photographed while sitting around. Your customer information is also at risk—everything from credit card authorization forms to shipping data—unless you protect it.

Try: Shred all hard copies after finishing with them. From desktop shredders to central shredding stations or shredding services, obliterate print documents to prevent their contents from being stolen. In addition, utilizing digital document management is the best strategy to help keep confidential documents behind proper firewalls, encryptions, and security safeguards.

Problem: Damage and Disasters

Relying on physical storage of paper documents poses tremendous risk. Choosing the wrong type of folder can ruin a document’s legibility, while a poorly-packed or badly-sized box can lead to crushing, crumpling, and tearing. Raccoons in attics and mice in basements can damage your paper, while inconsistent temperatures and humidity can speed the physical decay of paper documents. Paper storage facilities often provide the correct temperatures and conditions for paper, but they are still not immune to threats from fires, floods, and other natural disasters that all threaten paper documents.

Try: Move to digital document management and cloud-based backup. From disks and drives to server- and cloud-based backup, your important files will be secure, accessible, and protected by redundant digital systems.

Paper may still be part of daily business, but it doesn’t have to mean living with unmanaged risk. Secure printing features, shredding before disposal, and digital document management are all excellent tools to protect your customers, employees, and business strategies.

To learn more about protecting your paper documents, contact today.

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