The age of digital everything is here. People are now able to work from wherever they are and on whatever device they choose thanks to advancements in mobile technology, the cloud and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is defined as a network of physical objects (things) that are embedded with software and network connectivity so that the “things” can collect and exchange data. Forget about our phones and tablets for a minute – our cars and hydro meters can ‘talk’ to us now. I have a vacuum that doesn’t require me to do anything but hit the “on” button – it vacuums my floors and then puts itself away when it’s done.
Back to digital everything, our work lives and personal lives are colliding in this new world big time. More companies are moving toward BYOD, and more people are accessing more programs for convenience (e.g. Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive). One folder in their Dropbox app might be called “Company Contracts”, while the one next to it is “Vacation Pics 2015”. The same conveniences that the Internet of Things has brought to our personal lives have also been brought to our work lives, and the line between the two is very blurred.
So what can we do about it? Some experts are saying that the Internet of Things will consist of nearly 50 Billion objects by 2020. Everything we do will be connected to the internet in some way, and we’re already seeing it happen in front of our eyes. Everything is so convenient and at the tip of our fingers. I don’t miss my favorite TV shows anymore because if I forget to program my PVR, I can log into it remotely on my phone. If I forget that, there is TV on Demand, and if I forget that, well there’s always Netflix. Never in our history have things been so convenient.
I left my laptop at work one day last week and of course I needed to review something that night. I was able to access the company networks and get that document downloaded to my home computer in no time. No big deal, I know, but for the future I wanted to be sure that I would be able to access it, and other documents like it, if there were an issue with my VPN. So, I uploaded a few of the documents I tend to use on a regular basis to Google Drive. Ah, that’s better!
This kind of scenario happens all the time, but now what happens when that employee leaves? These are personal accounts outside company walls that employees are using to store sensitive company content without consequence. The IT department has no control over this content once it lands on personal devices or personal file sharing applications. Content security is being talked about more and more and is one of the only ways to combat this problem. No one likes the acronym DRM, but it is necessity in this world of DMS, EMS, CMS, and LMS. There are so many file sharing platforms out there and none of them secure the content – you lose complete control over it as soon as your readers download it.
Companies need to start considering their content security practices in conjunction with their document management processes. It cannot be an afterthought anymore. Some of your documents may need more security than what your file sharing platform is able to offer. If you want them to remain secure when they leave your company’s perimeter, then they need to be protected.