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Don’t Let A Paper-Thin Defence Undermine The Best Security Protocols

Is it time businesses were less dependent on paper?

22Apr

There’s no doubt that the issue of IT security is taken more seriously now than ever before. As technology has evolved and become central to how a business functions, the threat landscape has evolved too, with ever more sophisticated risks challenging organizations of all sizes. Hence why security has permeated through many organizations, with everyone from the most junior executive right through to senior board members equally responsible for ensuring they are adhering to the company’s security policy and are following best practice in a bid to fend-off malicious attacks and the damage a breach can do to their corporate assets, confidential data, or indeed, their brand reputation.

Despite their efforts, though, you don’t have to look back too far to see that despite the awareness of security and measures taken to implement it, in the battle between company and cybercriminal, it’s not always the company that wins. That’s because, even in light of the admirable progress made to secure core assets, there are still many gaps that need to be plugged. Take, for instance, paper-based documents. While seemingly innocuous and not an obvious source of a potential security risk, the consequences of paper-based confidential data falling into the wrong hands could be as severe as an attack mounted on a company’s network.

This throws into question why we are still dependent on paper in this global digital age. People often state that they still like the touch and feel of paper; while understandable, it seems like a strange concession to make given the considerable risk paper poses. However, research by the Ponemon Institute warns that even businesses that are less dependent on paper run the risk of exposing themselves to data loss by failing to use the security features available in PDF solutions.

To help mitigate these risks, a new whitepaper, 'Using PDF documents for more secure document workflows', has been created to shine a light on how document workflows can be made more secure through the proper use of the robust security features available in solutions like Nuance’s Power PDF family.

The research – which surveyed 2,300 IT and IT security specialists from eight countries - points to trends like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) potentially compromising security. This is because of the increased mobility BYOD affords combined with it making it easier to copy and distribute documents, which restricts the effectiveness of data protection measures and can impede the implementation of security policies.

The findings make for sobering reading. For instance, the costs incurred by companies due to data losses have increased throughout the world by 23% to an average of approx. €3.4 million. And it’s a problem that’s closer to home in Europe than many would realise. After the USA, for instance, Germany takes second place in terms of expenses for each lost document, amounting to approximately €190. Still, in Germany, approximately 3% turn their backs on companies that suffer a security incident that involves data loss. Breaches can be more significant for some industries over others. By way of example, the loss of customer loyalty is particularly high in the aftermath of a data breach in industries such as pharmaceuticals, financial services and healthcare.

The whitepaper explains how the PDF format - which offers users greater flexibility, productivity and, crucially, security - can help them turn paper files into electronic ones effectively and effortlessly, optimising their document workflow security and adherence to compliance responsibilities.

Given the amount of effort and investment that companies have put into their security to date, is it time for them to accelerate the pace at which they create a paperless office, not just to benefit the environment, but, more importantly, to reduce the security risks that come from our dependency on paper?

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