It’s often imperative that some documents, such as internally shared price lists, have tight security measures in place to ensure they are not shared with un-intended eyes, or are not retrievable by employees that have since left the organisation. However, the challenge with this is how to easily share these documents with whom they are intended for. As a result, a lot of these types of documents are either distributed via email, or are shared on networked drives, neglecting security and therefore placing absolutely no restrictions on where the document might end up.
The idea of a lot of document management systems (DMS) is that documents that require an element of security are only accessible through the DMS’ interface, by those who have received permission to view them, safeguarding against documents being downloaded or shared out of the system. If a document does need to be shared, a simple workflow can be utilised to notify users that a new document exists, or a URL-link to that specific document in the system can be shared. This ensures that only users who have access can view it, meaning that if a staff member leaves the organisation, their access can just simply be revoked.
An alternative to a DMS in this context can be by utilising a “Destruction Date” feature, which is available on some file types such as PDFs. The idea behind this is that you can distribute a document with a destruction date placed on it, at which time the document’s content will no longer be viewable. However, as much as it would restrict its ability to be shared, it would not completely eliminate it, and would require the document to be reissued periodically.
The great thing about a good DMS is that it provides you with audit reports that show all activity that a user has undertaken in the system, such as what they have viewed, altered, or deleted. This means that by keeping confidential documents within a DMS, you have complete control and transparency over them.