Document management systems offer many benefits to government agencies. These systems can be used by any arm of the government to manage and secure documents. However, not all document management systems are created equally. Document management for government agencies addresses citizens’ concerns about data loss and remains compliant with government regulations for data security.
Types of Government Documents Secured by Document Management Systems
Document management systems provide a database of documents and an interface to access them. Documents may be collected by government agencies in a few ways, all of which are typically accommodated by robust document management systems.
- Direct entry: The customer’s information is entered at a kiosk. Alternatively, a clerk enters the customer’s information at a computer terminal.
- Browser-based form: The customer enters information into the database via a form displayed in a web browser.
- Uploaded document: The customer fills out a form using common consumer software like Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat and uploads the form to the database.
- Scanned document: The customer’s printed form is scanned into the database. Depending on the system, the document may be stored as an image or processed through optical character recognition software before storage. This is often used with archived or historical documents as part of a migration to electronic document management.
Because of the sensitive nature of the data in these documents, customers’ main concern about document management systems for government is data security.
How Document Management Addresses Security Threats
Security threats can come from outside hackers or inside leakers, and a document management system must address both.
For outside hackers, two techniques are used to secure data. First, the system is hardened against hacking. This includes training to minimize employees’ susceptibility to phishing scams and implementing multi-factor authentication for access to data.
Second, the data is encrypted. Even if hackers can access data, encrypted data is useless to them.
The risk of insider threats often arises from poor network management practices. Insiders may be motivated to access sensitive government data for many reasons, including greed and personal animus. Insider threats may be disgruntled former or current employees, government leakers, or nosy clerks.
Regardless of how or why insiders gain unauthorized access to data, the solution is typically managed network services that match users’ access levels to their job duties, deactivate network credentials for former employees, and monitor networks for unusual user activity. The goal is to ensure that only authorized employees can access, print, or share documents and that the use of these documents is consistent with the agency’s policies and compliant with applicable regulations.
As security threats and customer expectations have grown, the U.S. and state governments have implemented laws and regulations to standardize data security across government agencies. These laws, like the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act, set the baseline for data security but do not prescribe any particular solution for maintaining security.
A solution like DME’s managed document services provides a level of security to ensure that an agency’s system is always compliant. But more importantly, it helps an agency meet industry standards and implement best practices, so the agency’s documents are always secure.
Minimize Data Loss with Document Management Systems
While data security includes measures against hacking and leaking, it also encompasses measures to prevent actual loss of data. Specifically, a key frustration among customers of government agencies is the “lost application.” Take, for example, a tax agency that “loses” a customer’s tax filing and levies a fine or penalty. Or a small business agency that “loses” an application and, as a result, never acts on a customer’s loan request.
Minimizing data loss is just as crucial to maintaining good public relations as maintaining good governance. Document management systems can provide automatic routing of documents to minimize hold-ups. Moreover, document management includes searching functions that allow agencies to find documents upon demand.
Data loss can also arise from circumstances outside an agency’s control. For example, disasters can destroy hardware and damage communication infrastructure. Recovering from a disaster includes recovering documents in an agency’s document management system. Robust document management systems can accommodate an agency’s disaster recovery plan by interfacing with onsite, offsite, or cloud-based backup systems.
Security in Government Document Management Improves How Agencies Deliver Services
When government agencies can ensure the security of the data it collects, citizens have greater confidence when doing business with the agencies. Moreover, avoiding data breaches and maintaining regulatory compliance can help government agencies avoid harm to their customers from stolen data.
Document management systems can be essential for agencies to provide services accurately and competently. Contact DME for help identifying services that can meet an agency’s document management needs.