3 ways organizations lose control of their information

Most of the world’s data is in unstructured, document form. Too often this valuable data is at risk within organizations as willful and unintentional actions leave the information accessible to unauthorized viewers. To gain control of this data and documentation, organizations should focus on three key areas: its staff, its network and its printing environment.

A widely cited stat of importance to every business is that 80 percent of the world’s data is in unstructured, mostly document form, leaving businesses vulnerable to data loss or theft. The loss or misuse of sensitive documents through a security breach can have a massive negative impact on any business. It can also generate significant financial and legal effects along with harmful implications for an organization’s reputation among investors, business partners and customers. And, as can be seen from stories in the news, some companies may never recover from a major data breach.

Gaining control over documents is also essential for effective compliance processes. There are over 20,000 compliance requirements worldwide. And it isn’t just your organization that is affected by compliance regulations, think about your suppliers and partners; they most likely are and may pass down the request directly to you. According to Enterprise Strategy Group there are currently 10,000 regulations impacting data management. And while you need a near-flawless information strategy to keep pace with your compliance requirements, 31 percent of respondents in an AIIM survey reported that poor electronic records-keeping was causing problems with regulators and auditors.

Let’s look at three potential threats that may be impacting your organization’s ability to gain control over your information.

Your Staff

Too often, the work habits of employees – even conscientious staff – can put your enterprise at risk. A survey done by digital security firm Globalscape revealed nearly two-thirds of all security breaches can be attributed to negligence, human error or system glitches. One big driver of this situation, according to Globalscape, is millions of employees are actively using widely available tools, like personal email, social media and file sharing sites, to move confidential work files every day. The survey showed that nearly half of all employees transferred work files through unsecured channels several times a week, effectively yielding control of corporate assets to external forces.

Another critical issue is, as found in a survey report conducted by the Ponemon Institute on behalf of Varonis Systems, 71 percent of employees said they have access to data they should not see, and more than half said that this access is frequent or very frequent. According to Dr. Larry Ponemon, Chairman and Founder of The Ponemon Institute, “This research surfaces an important factor that is often overlooked: employees commonly have too much access to data, beyond what they need to do their jobs, and when that access is not tracked or audited, an attack that gains access to employee accounts can have devastating consequences.”

Your Network

An astonishing 43 percent of companies experienced a data breach in the past year, reported the annual study on data breach preparedness by the Ponemon Institute in late 2104. And cybercrime is a growth industry with McAfee estimating the annual cost to the global economy to be more than $400 billion.

In assessing cybersecurity risks for 2015, industry experts see new attack vectors in old, widely-used code as the top threat. Bugs, such as Heartbleed/OpenSSL and Shellshock/Bash, may produce new attack vectors. And from a platform perspective, the experts see Apple’s market success and growing enterprise presence as creating an inviting target for hackers.

Your Print Environment

While many organizations are aware of threats related to computer networks, they may not know about potential dangers related to their multifunctional printers (MFPs) and other print devices – two key components of their document infrastructure. According to InfoTrends, there are about 30 million MFP and other printer devices throughout the U.S. and Western Europe with most connected to a network.

A survey by market researcher Quocirca found organizations place a low priority on print security, despite the fact that over 70 percent saying they experienced at least one data breach through unsecured printing in the past year. MFPs are typically devices shared in an office with multiple users – meaning a security risk can potentially impact many in an organization. Enterprises also face the threat that private information may get into the wrong hands when printed documents are go unclaimed at the MFP.

Time to Take Steps to Gain Control

Addressing potential information management risks among your staff, network and print environment will position your organization to gain control to increase document security, improve compliance and boost business efficiency.

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Chris Strammiello

About Chris Strammiello

Chris Strammiello directs the worldwide Marketing and Global Alliances for Nuance’s Document Imaging Division. Under his leadership, the division transformed from solely a desktop software focus to the document imaging industry's most complete product portfolio of desktop, enterprise and OEM offerings. Strammiello has played a strategic leadership role in the merger & acquisition and integration strategies behind Nuance adding eCopy, XSolutions and Equitrac, helping the business unit quadruple its annual revenue. Previously, Chris was Director of Product Management for Nuance's Productivity Division where he successfully drove growth and expansion of speech and imaging technologies. He came to Nuance in 2000 from Xerox Corporation where he held a variety of marketing and strategy positions. Chris holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Connecticut.