Document Danger: What to do about hard-copy


The document industry has changed, and yet it remains the same, according to John Mancini, author, speaker and president of AIIM, a global community of information professionals. IT has been talking about moving to a paperless office for more than two decades; but, today, organizations still are managing both hard-copy and digital assets. The question of how to secure those documents — whether in paper-based or electronic format — was discussed during a recent InformationWeek webcast, sponsored by Lexmark, featuring Mancini and Larry Early, director and general manager of Lexmark’s Worldwide National Government Industry team.

“There is risk associated with having a whole bunch of unmanaged paper floating around. It’s a process risk, it’s a business risk, it’s a legal risk,” said John Mancini, President, AIIM. Paper poses problems. The move to a paperless organization is slow. According to a recent AIIM survey, 42 percent of organizations report that the volume of paper records is actually increasing. Information, Mancini said, is moving back and forth between the paper-based and digital realms as people print important documents and then scan them back into systems to be shared and stored again. In fact, 45 percent of all documents scanned today started out in digital format, according to the AIIM survey.

Lexmark’s Early cited research that found the average government employee prints about 7,200 pages each year, and those documents are then copied about 19 times each. Those numbers, he said, are not unique to government entities and can be applied to a number of other vertical industries. Regardless of the format, people save information for one of three reasons, according to Mancini. If you look at the content and files in an organization, 25 percent have business value, 5 percent are necessary for regulatory obligations and 2 percent are subject to legal holds, according to the Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council. The rest, he explained, is essentially junk. The challenge then is figuring out how to get that 68 percent out of your systems and processes or, if you can’t, protecting them.

“There is risk associated with having a whole bunch of unmanaged paper floating around, and it’s the same kind of risk that you have in the digital arena. It’s a process risk, it’s a business risk, it’s a legal risk,” Mancini said. Overcome hard-copy risks. Hard-copy documents are one of the weakest links in the document chain, according to Early. Hard copies can be scanned and shared, and electronic documents can be printed and shared in hard copy. Although recent electronic leaks have made headlines, Early pointed out that four of the 10 most notorious corporate espionage cases involved hard-copy documents. “Controlling hard-copy documents and what’s leaving your organizations via print or copy – and having access to that information – is extremely critical to protecting what’s important to your business,” he said.

AIIM’s recent study found that between 40 and 50 percent of those surveyed didn’t know whether they had ever had a document security breach. Just as bad: 31 percent of those surveyed reported they’re experiencing problems with poor recordkeeping that is serious enough to cause problems with regulators and auditors, and 14 percent were subject to fines or bad publicity. “If you don’t have control of the information, whether it exists in paper form or electronic form, the odds of your being able to successfully comply with all those different layers of compliance and litigation and regulatory concerns are probably pretty low,” Mancini explained.

With traditional multifunction devices, there’s no way to track the documents being scanned or printed — or who is doing the scanning and printing. At the same time, there are issues with storing and managing digital content as well. AIIM’s survey found that 61 percent of respondents hold content outside of content management systems, so tracking and compliance may also be compromised. Secure devices and monitor paper Lexmark’s multifunction devices help solve these problems by adding a layer of protection and security in addition to the ability to capture the images and full text of a document via OCR. Using Lexmark Enterprise Content Management (ECM), IT can manage an organization’s unstructured information, in whatever form and no matter where it exists, without affecting user productivity. The key components of a solution that addresses electronic and hard copies, Early said, include: 1. Monitoring of hard-copy transactions that occur at MFPs (printing, scanning, faxing and copying), including who carried out the transaction, when the transaction occurred, and which content was involved. 2. Content capture and extraction of what was printed or scanned, enabling the organization to identify, or potentially prevent, a breach. 3. Forensic tools for identifying breaches, including the ability to search for everything that was copied, faxed or printed in a certain time frame, by a certain person or that contained a certain word or phrase, for example. “Whenever you print a document, scan a document, fax a document or copy a document, we monitor and capture everything about that document at the transaction,” Early explained. This includes the date and time information was captured, the device used and full text of the document. This allows every document to be made available for search as well as alert processing, so IT can monitor data flows for specific keywords or content, improving security.

The information the Lexmark solutions capture makes it easier to track potential data leaks; investigations can be narrowed down to those who have printed, copied or scanned that information. In addition, organizations can proactively set email alerts so the correct people are made aware when potentially sensitive data is processed, printed or scanned. The emails contain a link to the system so the recipient can view the exact document as well as associated metadata. With the full power of the ECM system available, that information can be annotated and forwarded to others in the workflow, allowing organizations to take action very quickly, investigating and deciding whether further action is warranted.

To learn more about Lexmark and how it can benefit your organization, contact MCC’s Document Solutions Division today! 

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