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The Risks Associated with Document Management

Document Management
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Document management is not the easiest of tasks at the best of times. Documents, whether electronic or in paper form, are often the lifeblood of business and have to be managed carefully. In industries such as legal, publishing, healthcare, and financial services, documents play a very important role, and the storage and retrieval of documents are quite essential for businesses to function effectively. However, there are a lot of issues that come up in document management that have to be dealt with effectively or organizations can even run the risk of incurring financial and regulatory penalties. In this post, we take a look at some of the issues that pop up in document management and the possible solutions to resolve them.

Some of the major issues that come up in document management are:

Lost or misplaced documents:

Contrary to what people might think, losing or misplacing documents is a fairly common occurrence. It does not have to be intentional or malicious; human error could well be the cause for documents to be lost or misplaced. However, the crunch comes when these documents are important and are time-sensitive for business transactions to be completed in time. This can cause an untold number of issues for organizations in terms of time, resources, or finance.

Fraud and misuse of documents:

Like any other occurrence in organizations, documents are also prone to be misused. Document fraud is another major issue, especially when there is not enough oversight. Just the change of a few numbers or a few clauses could mean a significant difference in the bottom line. When people are in-charge of filing documents, such occurrences can become all too often, and the repercussions could be significantly high. Documents can also be misused by individuals – they could be accessed without permission and sent out to competing parties as part of corporate espionage.

Natural disasters & data loss:

Documents stored in warehouses and filing cabinets could be prone to natural disasters. From instances as trivial as being chewed up by termites to the loss of entire warehouses as a result of an act of god or natural disasters, physical documents are not immune to being lost. Data loss could also occur as documents become old in storage and when they are not looked after with proper care.

Lack of security:

Many business transactions happen on a need-to-know basis. As in the cases of mergers and acquisitions or financial transactions, only the senior management needs to be privy to the content of the documents. However, senior management does not dirty their hands with the routine business of filing the documents or retrieving them when necessary – they employ secretaries or aides who perform these tasks for them. There is always the chance that these employees can become privy to the information in the documents and leak them.

So, with documents being such important components of business operations, and with the chance of so many risks that can be a part of document management, how do organizations safeguard them? Apart from the risks mentioned above, documents need also be worked upon by multiple stakeholders, and there needs to be a safe and secure way of sharing the documents among the relevant stakeholders so that they can perform their tasks.

So, how can all of this be achieved?

This is where Document Management Software (DMS) or Document Management Solutions come in. DMS can help organizations mitigate many if not all of the issues mentioned above and ensure that organizations’ document management happens in a secure manner while allowing ample scope for collaboration among all the stakeholders who need to work on the documents.

In the first place, the DMS maintains backups of documents in different locations so that organizations can rest assured that their documents cannot be lost or misplaced, nor can they be lost forever unless some truly disastrous events occur at all locations at once.

With regard to security, fraud, and mishandling of documents, organizations can rest assured that documents can only be stored and retrieved by stakeholders with the right credentials. There are extensive audit trails maintained by the document management system to show who has accessed the document and when they have accessed it for what purpose. If anything untoward happens, an investigation can be immediately launched to get to the bottom of the situation, and remedial action can be taken immediately.

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