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By Samantha Fecteau • November 27, 2018

Document Security: Why Central is Better

In this third instalment on document security, we’ll explain the irrefutable benefits of centralizing your documents in the Cloud. If you missed our previous articles on physical infrastructure and network security, or 4 key reasons why the cloud is more secure, you may want to have a read.  

Information is far more secure and easier to control when everything is stored in one central location. The more locations where files can be stored, the more likely that at least one of these locations will be accessed by unauthorized users. Whereas many old school processes for saving documents expose your data to vulnerabilities, public cloud platforms allow you to keep your documents centralized and accessible, while remaining secure.

In order for the Cloud to work its magic, it first needs some love from its users. By this, we mean companies and their users should be well-informed and well-trained to best optimize the different security features offered by the public cloud.

Building trust with the Cloud

If you want the Cloud to successfully provide your company with an optimal document security system, you must first place your trust in the Cloud. Trust in the Cloud, and the Cloud will help you protect your sensitive documents. While realistically, enterprises should and will maintain their own company-level security measures, the Cloud provides an unfaltering foundation for automating and centralizing said measures.

The public cloud can offer automated security solutions, or central repositories of security policies that link to local repositories in the enterprise cloud. Centralizing your documents on the public cloud has many perks, among them are the automated software updates.

Is your system up to date?

While some security breaches can be fixed rapidly, certain vulnerabilities could be prevented from occuring in the first place if companies properly adhered to updating their operating systems, databases, and web servers. But in order for companies to stay on top of these updates, the corporate IT team and employees using corporate-issued devices must be diligent. Oftentimes, this isn’t the case. Many IT departments will delay the deployment of critical updates, or ignore them altogether, either because they don’t have time or they want to minimize interruptions.

This can have serious implications when it comes to protecting your sensitive files and documents. Public cloud companies like Google help eliminate this risk altogether with the help of dedicated vulnerability management, malware prevention, and monitoring teams. Manual and automated scanners detect domains susceptible to malware or phishing schemes, while antivirus engines help identify malware that may have been missed by other antivirus programs.

This is just one of the benefits that comes with a centralized security system. The same can be said when it comes to weighing security risks associated with your document management system.

Centralized = more secure

Accidents happen. People lose and misplace phones and laptops or worse, they are stolen. While we can’t prevent life’s mishaps we can prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to our sensitive information by properly protecting our documents. This means choosing the right cloud provider. Many public cloud providers like Google have advanced security features which allow you to revoke the access of a lost or stolen device as soon as it goes missing. Meanwhile, your corporate data will remain safe and sound in the Cloud.

With cloud technology, personal computers and phones are disposable. Your personal devices can be wiped at any time without losing any sensitive work-related data. Even better, you can be up and running on a new device in only a few minutes. Gone are the days of saving your files to a tiny USB drive that can easily be lost in the depths of the seat cushion on your daily commute (the proof is in the pudding).

And the perks don’t end there. Public cloud solutions allow you to centralize and control document access permissions as well, so that the “wrong” users won’t get their hands on your corporate data. When sharing documents with external users, things can get sticky. Tools like AOBox allow you to keep your files centralized so that only authorized outside users can collaborate, regardless of what platform they’re using, by using a secure link. This is an inherent (and safer) advantage over the traditional workflow: save, drag, drop, email, download, edit, and repeat.

You won’t get anywhere without training your users

According to a 2018 report published by Insider Threat, companies are as worried about unintentional breaches caused by the carelessness or negligence of their trusted employees as they are about malicious insiders, when it comes to the threat of internal attacks.

The reality is, while your employees might be great at their job, they may not have a degree in cybersecurity. Companies have a responsibility to bridge that skill gap by providing training and awareness programs that help prevent your well-intentioned intern from accidentally uploading a malicious program to the organization’s network or accidentally sharing a confidential document with your biggest competitor.

While the Cloud is designed to be more secure, you still have to make sure your users know what they’re doing. Company-wide training initiatives should be conducted regularly to teach your employees about things like:

  • Downloading files and using unauthorized devices
  • Suspicious links and email phishing
  • Social engineering
  • Personal device maintenance and safeguards
  • Password best practices
  • Reporting security threats
This might seem like an overwhelming list, so where should you start? This past year alone, 76% of businesses reported a phishing attack, meaning phishing attempts have grown by 65%.
These cyber attacks are not only dangerous, they’re also insanely expensive. Start informing your employees about these threats right away and you can stop sleeping with one eye open.

As we’ve seen, while the public cloud will provide you with everything from a secure infrastructure to software updates to centralized access permissions, human error remains a major security threat. Fortunately, this problem can be solved by proper training and process automation features from cloud-based document management tools.

By now you should be a master on document security and how to best protect your files with the Cloud. If you need a refresher, check out parts one and two again for the full spiel. Or, you can always download our complete document security white paper instead.