A surprisingly effective way to avoid data leakage and improve security

Today, 73% of knowledge workers have access to scanners or scanning functionality. Makes you wonder: Are you doing enough to protect your most important data?

Scanning has become ubiquitous in today’s office environment. Once limited to back-office applications, scanning has evolved into a general office business function. Employees want access to scanning, they need access to scanning, and they now have it with the proliferation of network MFPs.

Research shows that 73% of knowledge workers today have access to scanners and scanning functionality, and the ratio is fairly consistent across all business segments and vertical industries.

That is an incredible statistic when you think about it, but for many organizations, uncontrolled access to network scanning functionality has become a security nightmare. The majority of employees in your organization are likely already converting significant amounts of paper-based content into digital files, and it is likely that much of that information is not controlled or managed effectively.


Avoid confidential data leakage

We recently discussed the topic of orphaned print jobs as a security vulnerability. Yet one of the most common security risks relates to the disclosure of sensitive information through documents that have been scanned and distributed by email. This unwanted “data leakage” occurs often when end users have uncontrolled access to scanning combined with unrestricted access to sensitive corporate materials. When you look at how businesses leverage scanning in today’s office environment, most documents are scanned directly to email for distribution as electronic files. In fact, research studies indicate that up to 50% of documents scanned from workgroup MFPs are emailed.

Of course, scan-to-email is widely recognized as a major productivity tool, and for many a necessary and important business process. Indeed, most organizations use scan-to-email for distribution of paper-based information to individuals inside the company. But what about documents that are scanned and sent directly to others outside the protection of the network firewall? It may not be intended or malicious, but your employees could be sending your most important trade secrets directly to outsiders … maybe even competitors.


Rock-solid security

Fortunately, there are simple solutions to help businesses safeguard against unwanted data leakage. Document capture and workflow solutions can work closely with smart MFP devices to enable more intelligent document management and a much more secure document infrastructure. Using these solutions, IT managers can simply place filters within the scan-to-email application to restrict access to various documents based on specified criteria.

These content filters can be programmed to search for specific words or character strings within a PDF file or Microsoft Office document during the scanning process. For example, content filters could be established to search for terms such as “confidential” or “non-disclosure.” Once the string has been identified you could program the software to take any number of actions, including to automatically encrypt the file prior to sending, or perhaps quarantine or drop the file altogether.


Improved security leads to improved peace of mind

Document security should be top of mind for any organization today. Determining how content is at risk is the first step toward deploying the proper solutions and security measures to mitigate those risks. Using document capture software to place scan-to-email filters is an effective way to reduce data leakage and prevent confidential scanned documents from escaping the protection of your network firewall.

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Jeff Segarra

About Jeff Segarra

Jeff Segarra is the Senior Director of Product Marketing for the Nuance Document Imaging Division. He is responsible for the global team that delivers industry product positioning, messaging and content to help our customers around the world identify how Nuance solutions can meet their needs. He enjoys speaking and writing about business process improvement, The Internet of Things, document security, document conversion technologies and personal productivity. He has an MBA from Iona College, Hagan School of Business and has been working with software technology for 20 years. Jeff is an original New Yorker and, therefore, a staunch Yankees fan – in the heart of Red Sox nation.