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Guaranteeing the security and privacy of your organization’s data and files is critical. Learn how ECM systems can help you reach high level of security across your company.

All around the world, enterprises, financial institutions and government agencies rely on ECM systems to store, manage and share files. Data security and privacy is essential for these corporations, and the need for fully secure systems is always the main topic of all discussions, particularly with the rise of cloud computing and in the light of the recent hacking scandals (e.g. Sony).

So how can you ensure that your ECM system will protect your valuable and information sensitive documents?


External Protection: Perimeter Security & Encryption

Obviously, the establishment of a ‘Perimeter Security’ is the first compulsory step to a secure environment. The perimeter is an aggregate of security features which purpose is to make sure that no intruders can get into your IT infrastructure. Hardware-wise it involves secure routers and firewall, and from a software perspective, antivirus, malware detection tools, two-factor authentication, VPNs, SSL and the like add up to establish a secondary protection layer.

Over than the perimeter security, encryption of the repository and of the files should be your next focus.

Repository level encryption should be built into your software, and your ECM system should be able to encrypt data and documents in such a way that they can only be accessed through the ECM interface, protecting the data at the physical storage level by denying any unauthorized access to the drives. This add another layer of security by not relying exclusively on the hardware to carry out the storage security.

File level encryption adds another level of security by extending the encryption not only to the database but to the documents as well by storing them in an encrypted format. That way your system would provide several levels of security down to each individual document, protecting your emails, PDFs and any electronic files containing potentially sensitive information.


Internal Protection: Information Governance

Not only does your ECM system should protect you from outside attacks, but it should also guard against inside data breaches. ECM systems offers various tools that are designed to capture, manage, and store your organization’s content, but their role also double as security features to protect that same content.

Access Controls govern all content access by establishing permission levels specific to each user. Permissions make it more difficult for hackers to break into the content. Indeed, hackers would need first to crack the admin level access, and we can also note that in some systems administrators themselves do not hold the access rights which make the system even more complex to hack.

Audit Trails & Reporting tools provide a sense of transparency and security by delivering detailed reports on who access which document at what time. Technically it does not prevent data theft, but it comes into use to detect a breach, trace back the intruder and to estimate the amount of loss data.

Archiving & Purging enables to archive the content once it becomes inactive and dispose of them according to their retention, thus keep it off the user drivers. Managing the document lifecycle, from its creation until its disposal is one of the main ECM best practices and ensures higher levels of security by discarding expired content that could potentially jeopardize the organization if hacked.

Digital Signature validate and indicate the authenticity of a document and the identity of its signatory. They are designed to be forgery-proof by including a two form factor security, and also ensure that no changes have been made since the document was signed.

Backups are also a security feature that your ECM system should include. They provide an offsite and secure storage containing a backups of the all the organization’s information, that becomes handy in case of a disaster recovery.


To conclude, if compliant with these rules and efficient, ECM systems can and will enforce high levels of security to protect your sensitive data. Keep in mind that technically no system is unbreakable, but the more security layers it brings aboard, the more difficult it will be to break into.

Do you have  any question about your files security or do you wish to upgrade your security levels?

Sarah Viala
Having an eclectic taste for new technologies, I ramble about everything ECM and IT related – from Big Data analytics to mobile capture solutions. In particular I love to explore how today’s concerns can be addresses by tomorrow’s technologies. I moved from France to Canada over 1 year ago when I started working with Reva as a Marketing Coordinator.

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