When sharing your data online it’s important to ask yourself the right questions to ensure it stays secure. It can be extremely detrimental to an M&A deal or to your clients if confidential information finds its way into the wrong hands through foreseeable oversights. Cyber security should not be taken lightly, especially at a time where major hacks are prevalent and can cost a company millions of dollars in reimbursement with just human error. Below are a few questions to consider before or during your processes so that you can evaluate what will help your deal succeed while also staying safe.
- Do you use email for confidential document sharing?
Email might be the easiest way to share information and documents online in an efficient manner, but it is definitely not the most secure. If you are currently using only email to send vital data about your business during M&A then it’s important to revaluate your current process and consider other options that might be just as easy and much safer. Email can be easily hacked by unwanted third parties and can be detrimental to the success of a deal.
Furthermore, once a server is accessed then all past data shared is exposed, allowing anyone to get their hands on sensitive information that you don’t want to be left vulnerable. A better alternative is storing your confidential documents in a secure virtual data room so that you can be sure only selected users can view it and it stays under your complete control. A VDR is also much more organized and easier to navigate than email, which can increase the speed at which you are able to close a deal.
- Do you know who has access to your documents?
Whether you are sharing your documents via email or within a virtual data room it’s important to always know who has access to that information. Not remaining aware of who can access what, either within your company or outside of it, can lead to extremely detrimental circumstances that threaten you and your clients’ security going forward. Ensure that all the appropriate permission settings are applied to your VDR and be sure to know who it is that you are inviting or sending any confidential documents that you don’t want to end up in the wrong hands.
It only takes one error or oversight for sensitive data to be available for anyone on the internet to view and use against you. The success of your deals and the reputation of your business is counting on the accountability you have over who views your information and why.
- What are you doing with physical documents?
When thinking about document security it can be easy to forget that it isn’t all about the online safety of your data. Not staying aware of where your physical documents are going can be just as detrimental to your security as insecure methods of online document sharing. Whenever printing documents be sure it is done through a personal printer account that only you can access and to not leave any documents unattended in the printer room. Offices have a lot of foot traffic and your document can end up in the wrong hands without you even knowing it.
When you no longer have a use for certain physical documents—maybe the portfolio of an old client—be sure to dispose of any paperwork appropriately by shredding it or throwing it out in locked recycle bins that no one can easily reach into. Your clients want to know that you are doing whatever you can to ensure the safety of their data as well as yours during your relationship together.
Don’t let your cyber security slip and ensure that you are taking all the right steps to keep your documents out of the hands of unwanted third parties. Invest in the right software to store our information and stay constantly aware of where your information is going, who is able to view it, and how long it stays vulnerable.