How Digitization Can Improve Document Security

How Digitization Can Improve Document Security

How Digitization Can Improve Document Security

by Matt Tarpey


Verbal or “handshake” agreements may be a popular way to get things done (though possibly less so thanks to COVID-19), but in the business world, nothing’s official until it’s in writing. And while computers have revolutionized the way we communicate and do business, many critical business processes have continued to rely on physical paper documentation. Not only are manual paper processes more time consuming and inefficient, they’re also less secure. Paper documents can get lost, incorrectly filed, stolen, damaged, or destroyed without a trace. By transforming paper documents into fully digital assets - not just simple image scans - solutions like Exela’s Digital Mailroom enable greater collaboration, allow for easier controlled access to critical information, and make documents more secure and trackable.


Digitization and data capture solutions provide an excellent starting point for any company looking to kickstart its digital transformation, allowing you to take advantage of downstream automation, apply added security measures throughout the business, and enable additional digitization initiatives within other parts of the business.


1. Digital redaction

Digital document management tools can be utilized to quickly and efficiently redact sensitive information from important documents. This can be particularly useful for law firms. Some advanced AI tools, including Exela’s JET Engine, can utilize optical character recognition (OCR) technology to identify sensitive information and automatically redact it, saving valuable time and dramatically improving efficiency. Automated redaction commands, such as batch redaction, simply aren’t possible with paper documents.


2. Permissions structures

Once documents are digitized, you have greater control over who has access to them and how employees and stakeholders are allowed to interact with them. This can easily be done by creating tiered roles or groups within the document management system, granting different levels of access to confidential or protected documents to each group. This gives you control over who can make changes to a document, who can view but not edit the document, and who can’t even open the document at all. Good luck doing that with paper!

3. Digital revision and signature tools 

The vast majority of documents go through at least a few rounds of revisions. Depending on the nature of the document and the size of the company, that could mean that anywhere from 5 to 100 versions of a given document exist in some form or another. Paper-based review and approval processes can be a major threat to document security. The more drafts of a document are printed, the more opportunities for one to miss the shredder or fall into the wrong hands, potentially exposing restricted information. A centralized digital document management system not only keeps documents secure, it also ensures that employees are using the correct, most up-to-date version of a given document, preventing the spread of inaccurate or misleading information or messaging. 


4. Secure backups

While digital files are more secure than physical paper documents, both can still be destroyed or lost due to unexpected disasters like floods or fires. Still, businesses that digitize important documents are better equipped to recover from these types of events, as digital documents are much easier to back up and protect in secure cloud storage. Backed up files should be grouped in a logical file structure based on access privileges, and encrypted for powerful security. Many document management tools can integrate seamlessly with secure backups, ensuring better business continuity while preserving critical permissions and security settings. 


Document management will always be an essential aspect of any business, and a critical part of protecting intellectual property, personally identifiable information, and even unfinished or inaccurate drafts. Every part of your business uses documents, and your organization’s overall security is only as strong as the weakest link. While many core business functions have already been brought into the digital world, some may still be lagging behind, and therefore posing a potential security threat. Digitizing documents and processes gives you the ability to better enforce proper security protocols and practices throughout your organization. By securing previously uncontrolled document processes, you can ensure compliance and reduce business risk.


Find out more about how Exela’s suite of digital solutions can help you achieve greater efficiency, data management, and document security through digital transformation.