Your Document Management Knowledge Center

Clearing the Air around Cloud Security and Online Document Management

No doubt by now you’ve heard the growing buzz about cloud computing, and the subset of online document management, and you’re excited by the opportunity to shed costly in-house IT infrastructure and resources. 

But do you still have security concerns?  You want to jump on the bandwagon but you’re worried about moving your company’s most sensitive information outside your office walls.  You may still be wondering:

  • What security standards are in place?
  • Who will have access to my sensitive information?
  • Will it become difficult to retrieve my data?

These are all legitimate concerns which are shared by others in your same position.  Providers of cloud applications have been moving swiftly to address these fears, and lately their efforts have been paying off.  In a February 2011 survey, 45% of small businesses said cloud services yielded better security.  Large business decision makers have also gained confidence in cloud infrastructure to address their security needs, and have said so publicly.

 Just a few weeks ago Army General Keith Alexander tecloud computingstified before a House Armed Services subcommittee.  The hearing was scheduled to discuss the merits of cloud computing technology and its adoption by the US Department of Defense. 

Of particular concern to the Congressional panel was the issue of data security.  Alexander addressed this concern head on: “It was our opinion that the best way to go was to a thin, virtual cloud environment, analogous to the way that Google, AT&T and others are doing it.”[i]

So why should one Army General’s enthusiasm for cloud computing matter?  Alexander is commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, so his endorsement of cloud computing resonates quite loudly.  If the head of United States Intelligence supports cloud computing to protect some of the most critical and confidential information in the world, well… it might just work for your company too.

But you’re still not convinced, so let’s address the 3 questions raised earlier:

What security standards are in place?

As you enter your documents they are uploaded to offsite servers which are housed in a highly secure, Tier IV data facility that delivers a 99.9999% uptime record.  SAS 70 Type II Compliance ensures that all of the operating procedures and controls are in place and in use to protect your data.  Physical security is in place to prevent unauthorized access to the hardware and network security is in place to monitor and prevent unauthorized virtual access to the systems.  Networks are located behind firewalls with intrusion detection monitoring.  This facility also has redundant power and cooling systems to guarantee continuous operations so your data is always protected. 

Who will have access to my sensitive information?

Multi-level permissions are established upon account creation controlling exactly which users have access to certain documents.  Document information can be redacted, hiding information on a document so certain users are only able to reference information necessary for performing their jobs.   Version control is standard and every version of a document from creation to disposition is retained.  Each version includes data indicating which user checked out that particular document and when.  To further protect your data, all communication between you and the server is encrypted and remains encrypted until it is displayed on your computer.

Will it become difficult to retrieve my data?                                          

Not at all.  In fact, you will be amazed at the speed and ease with which you can retrieve your data.  Currently you are probably managing your documents and information on your local computer in folders or on shared network drives, neither of which is a structured method of storing, protecting or retrieving information efficiently.  If everyone is storing files and data this way, other individuals in your organization will have a challenging time to find the information they need.  With online document management you get immediate secure access to your documents and rapid retrieval online from anywhere.  Documents are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Searching for documents is easily done by meta information that may include document type, content, date, or other parameters you designate.

Still need to think about it?  No problem, but in the meantime sign up for our Document Management Best Practices Whitepaper to learn more about what online document management can do for your business.  Hopefully it will make your decision a little easier.


Topics: Document Control, SaaS