Businesses that deal with legal and financial information are under more intense scrutiny than other businesses, especially in online environments. This article outlines the considerations you need to keep in mind if you’re using cloud platforms to store or distribute legal or financial information. If this article raises any concerns about how you’re using the Internet to send and store files, an online information security specialist like Your Digital File can provide advice tailored to your situation.
You should encrypt all legal or financial information that you store online, whether you plan on sharing it or not. Encryption software uses an algorithm to convert the file content (or the background information that comprises the file) into an undecipherable format. A private key is required to convert the file back into a readable, editable format. Encryption in itself doesn’t stop hackers from accessing your files, but it will make it near impossible for them to view and understand the content, which can often be enough of a deterrent.
Use Digital Signatures
A digital signature is a sophisticated piece of software that is attached to a file. This software monitors the use of the file and can accurately determine the authenticity and integrity of a document. It is useful to attach a digital signature to any legal or financial file, as you can use it to monitor who has accessed the file, when it was accessed, and what alterations were made. A digital signature will also include elements of encryption, scrambling documents so that only the intended recipients can view.
Email Isn’t Secure
Despite its ubiquity, email is a really unsecure method for sharing files. The email can be compromised at many points on its journey from your outbox to the recipient’s inbox. Don’t blame email though – it was originally designed as an open communication platform with no security in mind! It goes without saying that you should never use email to transfer important legal or financial information.
We all know it is really important to store backup copies of physical files or locally stored digital files, but what about the files that are already on the cloud? Cloud storage is more secure than the other options, but there are always risks. Check that your cloud provider has redundancies in place that reduce the need for your own backup strategies. You could consider storing highly sensitive and important information on a second cloud platform independent of your primary solution, but be aware that increasing a file’s presence online also increases the risk that it will be accessed by malicious parties.
Check Your Datacentres
Cloud providers often distribute their storage across a number of datacentres – across the country and even across the globe. This geographic distribution greatly reduces the likelihood that a natural disaster or other issue will affect data availability. However, this distribution also means that financial and legal providers need to be careful when selecting an online storage provider. Some countries prohibit international storage of important client, financial or legal information. Investigate where your provider will store your information, as there could be legal consequences for you if it’s out of the country.
These are some of the most important considerations when storing important legal and financial information online. Keep these tips in mind while consulting with your security and information technology teams to develop a solution that meets the needs of your staff and your clients.