Sharing information between directors is essential for any board. But sharing it safely — well, for a lot of organizations that’s another matter altogether. A recent report from Thomson Reuters suggests many organizations struggle with keeping their information secure, and may not even be aware of the implications for their organization should sensitive information be leaked. As we close out the year, we thought we’d offer some tips for making sure security is one thing you don’t need to worry about.
1. Use the Right Platform
According to the Reuters study, half of the organizations surveyed did not use a purpose-built board portal. Instead, they used a combination of other, far less secure systems — email, mobile devices, and even couriered hard copies. A secure, dedicated platform, like Aprio Boardroom, can keep sensitive information safe and ensure board members adhere to security guidelines.
2. Educate, educate, educate.
For most boards, cyber-security is low on the list of concerns. If it’s not a concern, measures to mitigate it aren’t a priority, either. That can spell trouble for corporations, who could face legal trouble in the case of any breaches. Educating them about security is the first step to making it a regular part of board operations.
3. Don’t send emails with attachments.
There are so many reasons email is a bad way to send confidential information, we could write a book about it. In short: large documents may clog a company’s system; it’s easy for messages sending important information to be misdirected; searching an email client for attachments can be frustrating, and files can go “unfound” and therefore unsecured; and, as secure as we may think our corporate email is, hacking is still a possibility.
4. Don’t send hard copies, either.
Hard copies get lost. It happens to the best of us. But more than that, people don’t always dispose of those hard copies appropriately. Keeping everything in a centralized, secure place ensures the information is always available, easy to find, and perhaps most importantly, secure.
5. Don’t store confidential info in the cloud
It’s tempting to choose a free or low-cost cloud solution as a way to share documents between board members, but not all file-sharing platforms are created equal. Many, even well-known platforms, have issues with security and hacking — for example, people generally don’t encrypt the content they post on these services, Users all access shared files with their personal accounts, which could also put other personal files at risk. These solutions also leave the possibility that a director or other board associate may have files saved on their computer’s local drive, which brings us back to the security issues mentioned above. The bottom line: choose your cloud solutions carefully.
Keeping board materials secure might seem overwhelming and onerous, but it doesn’t have to be. The Aprio Boardroom provides online or offline access and allows you to manage documents securely — data is stored on a dedicated server, and administrators have access to detailed access histories, as well as the ability to control document expiration dates and other permissions. Book a demo today or download our free Board Portal Buying Guide and make 2016 your board’s most secure ever.
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