The news that official papers containing information about the UK’s multi-million pound plans to develop state-of-the-art drones were lost from a train station in Paris should be a stark wake-up call to businesses to urgently review their document security. This is not the first example of paper documents being placed at risk by falling into the wrong hands: late last year confidential paperwork detailing security proposals for the Olympics were discovered on a train and this incident also received widespread attention from the press and wider public.
These incidents are undoubtedly set to continue in the near future as organizations adopt increasingly decentralized, mobile working structures, with employees on the move and needing to keep important information alongside them as they travel. Of course, paper-based working will always remain to some extent within the working environment. But the latest incident does speak volumes about the urgent need for a rethink in the approach to sharing of important information with individuals and employees.
Recent Ricoh research in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit revealed that four in five business leaders see the workplace becoming more ‘virtual’ thanks to technology by 2020. These findings may not be a surprise to many, but they do underline the huge transformation which needs to take place in businesses across Europe, as organizations seek to adopt new ways to manage business critical documents – not only between employees, but with partners and customers too.
In such a distinct period of unprecedented change, all organizations should be looking to replace ineffective and insecure paper-based processes with secure, digital, integrated document management, meaning hard copy and digital information can be saved and accessed from one place. Such a process means access to confidential data is restricted, while at the same time the people who need to access it can do so – no matter where their place of work is. Only by adopting a process-centric system for document distribution and sharing can CIOs ensure their business remains ahead of their competition.
The incident in Paris could have easily happened to any employee, from any organization. But the end result of this high profile, well publicized case of confidential document loss should be that European IT decision-makers look again at their organization’s approach to information sharing. With controlled and optimized critical document processes in place, CIOs can ensure confidential company information is controlled and secure for the long term.
By Edward Hamilton, VP, Ricoh Europe