For IT professionals, business owners, everyday users and everyone in between, computer security and understanding security for documents is a very big concern. Today, most documentation is stored in digital form. Understanding the basics of computer security and how it relates to document storage may give you some insight as to why many businesses are converting to document management software as a way of not only organizing themselves better, but as a way of improving their security.

Why They're Secure

Document management software does something that is enormously difficult to do with paper files. It tracks who made changes to a file, when and what was changed. This is referred to as an audit trail. If something about a document is incorrect, it's very easy to go back, see when changes were made and what changes were made. Not only does this audit trail include instances when the document was actually changed, it includes instances where the document was simply opened. This means that, if somebody managed to get access to a file that they shouldn't have access to at all, it's easy to find out that that happened.


Encryption is another major feature that adds to the security of document management software. Encryption makes information unreadable to anybody without the proper credentials. The encryption available today in business and even consumer level products is extremely secure. The chances of being able to brute force hack an encrypted file – which would mean trying to decode the encryption without having the credentials – are essentially mathematically impossible. Some experts have stated it in very explicit terms, that it would take all of the computers in the world networked together longer than the age of the entire universe to accomplish such a feat.

Encryption, audit trails and the ability to instantly locate and open any needed file are all important security features in document management software. Because this software makes accountability easier, makes retrieval easier and because it allows you to see if documents have been altered, it's very difficult for somebody to get around the security involved. With a hard copy file, destroying the original could create a disaster, making photocopies leaves no indication that the original has been copied at all and altering the file or replacing it could be done quite easily by a skilled individual. Overall, though most people might not be aware of it yet, digital document storage is much more secure than having documents stored as hard copies.

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