Although technological advancements have streamlined many of the most tedious physical tasks involved in the storage and handling of information, safeguarding sensitive documents remains a vital component of a security plan. When files are digitized or are hard copies it is important to shield them from unauthorized access in order to limit the damage caused by the possibility of a data breach.

The most widely used method for protecting files is password protection. The file appears as a mess of letters and numbers to anyone who doesn’t have decryption keys, but changes can be made through entering the password. This can be particularly useful when files are regularly modified by multiple individuals, like surveys, forms or reports.

Another alternative is to use a rights management software that limits editing, printing and downloading. This is especially useful for files shared by contractors and freelancers as well as with third-party companies where it may be difficult to control who has access to them.

It’s also crucial to reinforce your security guidelines and communicate them internally when handling sensitive documents. It is important to ensure that your employees understand that adherence to these guidelines isn’t just a requirement but also an integral part of their job. Implement a procedure to ensure that employees who quit or move to another department don’t have access to sensitive information. This includes terminating their passwords, collecting access keys or ID cards, and deleting files when they’re not needed anymore.