On May 25 this year, new rules governing data protection come into force and businesses across every sector will have to shake up how they store, collect and share personal information.

However, many small, medium and large businesses are still working with an antiquated filing and storage system, creating the need for improved document management to comply with GDPR – and create more successful working practices.

From archiving and saving to storage and processing, Document Data Group are experts at helping businesses implement strategies that can save time and money, including controlling the archiving of files and paperwork.

Here we spoke to David Forsyth, Document Data Group’s founder and managing director, to find out why an antiquated filing system could be damaging your business.

The four letters on everyone’s lips – GDPR

The new rules surrounding GDPR will change how all businesses store, share, collect and use personal information and data.

So, have you considered what this will mean for your business?

According to Document Data Group, the four key areas that need to be assessed are:

Secure access

Who could look at personal data you have on file? Is it stored in a filing cabinet in a shared office freely accessed by all members of staff? What about at night when you go home, could office cleaners or building security access the files?

Or is it stored in a Windows-based folder structure, extremely vulnerable to a cyber attack? Permissions, pin codes and access controls are key to securing data.

Encryption of personal data

In the event of a cyber or ransomware attack, could your files be accessed and read? Encrypting your data is the only way to ensure there is no GDPR breach, as any data stolen will be illegible.

David said: “By using Document Data Groups document management system, all files are stored with 128 bit encryption.

“It is one of the most secure encryption methods used in most modern encryption algorithms and technologies. So, even if a cyber attack was to happen the risk would be minimised.

“Encryption of personal data reflects best practice and will go a long way to being compliant with GDPR.”

Retention policy

How long do you keep personal data on file? GDPR rules suggest the removal of personal data you no longer require. For example, finance documents must be kept for six years, ex-employee records for seven years, and CVs kept until no longer required for a position in the company.

Therefore, once these documents reach these time frames, they should be destroyed – and this is no easy task if you have to plough through filing cabinets of information.

But with a document management system, these documents will be flagged up to the user once they reach the end of their shelf life.

Audit Trail

Who has access to the data you store? Have any changes been made to the original documents? And if so, by who and why?

If someone made a ‘subject access request’ under the new GDPR legislation you would need to produce every document you hold with their personal information. Can your current system do this?

You could also be wasting valuable time and money

How long are your staff spending looking for documents from five, 10 or maybe even 15 years ago? Sorting through stacks of old paper is time consuming, disorganised and often fruitless. But switching to a paperless, backed-up system will ensure you have instant access to any document, invoice or form with the touch of a button.

Additionally, an electronic system also ensures that your files are safely stored, removing the need for costly off-site storage and the fear of losing paperwork due to damage.

For example, Document Data Group worked with one company that fell victim to fire but because they had implemented an electronic document management system, they were able to access their documents again within hours of the event.

The most up-to-date paperwork might not be readily available

The revision and version control offered by a modern filing system can provide the most up-to-date versions of a document at all times. This is particularly important if you often work with tenders or proposals, as using an old document can lead to failed pitches or underestimating costs.

An electronic system can keep track of your files, time stamp changes, and even flag up when alterations are made.

For more information on how document management can help your business, and to book an appointment with one of Document Data Group’s expert advisors, visit www.documentdatagroup.com/contact-gdpr