Preventing the security risks of scanned documents

The recent switch to hybrid working has brought about a lot of changes for both employers and employees. In many cases, organisations have done well to adapt, implementing flexible working for staff, and improving cloud-based systems for remote access.

However, one area which has been neglected with the switch to online is data security, particularly when it comes to managing traditional paper-based processes.

A study from IEEE placed hybrid working as the second biggest security concern among CTO and CIOs on account of increased data vulnerabilities. For example, 66 per cent of home workers have admitted to printing work-related documents since they began working from home.

As a result of this switch, organisations need to ensure they have robust document management processes in place to keep data stored on paper secure. According to recent research, security remains one of the top reasons for organisations sticking to paper, despite the worrying reality that a lot of confidential paper is often left lying around for all to see. 41 per cent of paper is left around the office and only 10 per cent of scanned paper is destroyed leaving many documents, including customer and employee confidential data, exposed and at risk. This includes contracts, which 22 per cent of organisations have entirely in paper form, and, more worrying still, identification documents (17%).

For all organisations, data infringement should be a big concern. The latest figures show that nearly a quarter of global businesses have suffered some sort of data breach in the last three years, which includes the manipulation of physical copies. It is therefore critical that businesses focus on correctly managing paper-based data.

According to Quocirca, only 1 per cent of organisations are currently paperless, even with COVID-induced digital transformation drives. In the meantime, organisations must think about how they can reduce the risks of handling and securing paper and ensure employees stick to a rigorous scan, file, and destroy policy. Matt Smith, Channel Development Manager PFU EMEA shares steps that everyone in a workplace can take.

  1. Ensuring paper isn’t left on the scanning tray: Digitising data is only one stage of the process. It can be an easy mistake for employees to scan data but fail to remove and destroy the file they have just copied. Organisations should implement easy office and home policies that can be followed to ensure this doesn’t happen.
  2. Implementing a secure file system: Once data has been digitised, it needs to be stored securely on a company server. These files need to be encrypted, with appropriate restrictions, meaning that data is only seen by those who are authorised to access it.
  3. Planning for backup and disaster recovery: One of the biggest benefits of digitisation is that your data is more easily recoverable in case of accidental damage. Digitised data is easier to route, search and recover, and can prevent serious interruptions to business operations.
  4. Choose the right scanner: Overall, organisations need to have high-quality scanners within their fleet as they progress towards digitisation and reap the rewards in terms of compliance, ease of data manipulation, and sharing. Currently, 33 per cent are dissatisfied with misfeeds and jams of their current scanner. Dedicated scanners that can fulfil business requirements will be necessary for a business’ long-term digitisation strategy.

As cyber and data threats continue to increase with concerns in the past year rising, organisations must ensure that they have the right tools in place to bring paper quickly and efficiently into the digital realm. Implementing a robust paper-management strategy, coupled with quality scanning hardware and software, will ensure the paper is brought safely and securely into your company’s eco-system and protect your organisation against both the risks of today and tomorrow.

Company Details

PFU (EMEA) Limited, a Fujitsu Company

Belmont Rd

020 8573 4444

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