Yellow security lock connecting process to seven purple blocks

Layer 1: Process and information security

Digitalization requires the integration of digital technology across all areas of the business, fundamentally changing how we operate and deliver value to our customers. It also brings a cultural change that requires employees to adapt to a more dispersed workplace, adopting new processes that can enable them to be productive both in the office and remotely. Business leaders must adapt and become aware of the process and data security risks.

Information governance

Poor information administration practices can expose any organization to a variety of risks that can lead to significant financial penalties and reputational loss. Understanding what information and data you need to keep, and how you can improve the way it is managed, reduces these risks and protects you from scrutiny.

Information governance security services support establishing and maintaining ongoing information confidentiality, integrity, and availability. These focused services assist organizations in meeting security policies and achieving compliance with a variety of federal, state, and industry regulations — including the ability to audit and demonstrate compliance in an efficient manner.

Every digital transaction between businesses and their customers produces a trail of data. Data may be highly sensitive, requiring security, privacy, and discovery controls; other data has no value and simply takes up space, commonly referred to as ROT (redundant, obsolete, or trivial) data. It is estimated that ROT data accounts for a minimum of 25-30% of company data, with other sources saying it can be much higher.

Knowledge of the information you have and where it’s located is a fundamental first step to information security. Ensuring the protection of sensitive data such as personally identifiable information (PII) and payment card industry (PCI) information is critical in mitigating potential risk.

90%+ of data is unstructured¹

Unstructured data is information that hasn’t been organized into a traditional, structured database format, which means it isn’t accessible, tracked, or leveraged for business insights. Without managing your repository — most of which is unstructured — you’re at risk of storing high quantities of ROT data and exposing your organization to risk and vulnerability if breached.

Unstructured data is a key contributor to security breaches, privacy violations, high IT costs, and compliance penalties. When considering cybersecurity, unstructured data is often the low-hanging fruit cyber criminals will target to gain access to deeper systems. They are looking for things they can monetize, such as names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, banking information, or contracts. Unfortunately, this sensitive data is often found throughout the infrastructure, making it difficult to track and keep secure.

Here are four key areas to improve the handling of data and information governance

1 Data discovery solutions

Automated data discovery solutions are an efficient and secured way to identify and locate sensitive data ownership and permissions across unlimited endpoints. Protect your organization by reducing ROT data assets, proactively managing the lifecycle of your data, and ensuring compliance with privacy regulations. Data discovery also remediates data by restricting access, encrypting, archiving, redacting, or moving sensitive data to secured locations.

2 Data lifecycle management

This security best practice seeks to mitigate an organization’s risk through the management of data, including sensitive and valuable information throughout the entire information lifecycle. Ricoh professional services and managed services teams can assist in any step of this process.

3 File analysis

The nature of your data is as varied as your business. Your responsibilities for safeguarding it and opportunities to benefit from it are hindered without reliable knowledge of what you have. By performing automated analysis of your file repositories and email systems, you can identify sensitive and valuable data and take necessary actions. Thorough file analysis is not just a point in time event — best practices state it should be incorporated into ongoing workflows.

4 Data classification

Data classification uses automated AI-based technology to categorize or index your documents so the data can then be easily extracted, exported, accessed, and protected. Implementing a system to classify your data can strengthen your security and enforce policies. It can also transform data generated from various physical and digital workflows into intelligence to enable better decision-making, more responsive customer service, and efficient operations. Ricoh security and process specialists have a deep understanding of information generated from print and digital workflows as well as archiving and email security — so the right approach is applied when classifying your data.

Transaction and process automation

Most transactions and business processes essentially follow a similar path. We collect or capture information, store and manage it, share and collaborate with the information, and then preserve or dispose of the results.

As the way we communicate, collaborate and create evolves, the need for secured and sustainable solutions becomes more apparent. The core of what we do — sourcing, creating, capturing, and managing information — is integral to success, and, therefore, must be protected from potential threats.

Automated business processes streamline how information moves and flows through your business, which is especially important with hybrid workplaces and remote workforces that need secured access everywhere.

Robotic process automation (RPA) provides organizations with a virtual workforce or bots that tackle repetitive business tasks, accelerating the way we work. RPA tools have their set of security standards with measures such as enterprise-grade encryption, role-based and permission access, Active Directory authentication, database encryption, and more.

Inbound information such as email, mail, web form submissions, document scans, and e-commerce must be received and handled securely. Integrating them with secured, automated workflows helps ensure data is safe and assists with information governance and compliance.

Secure capture and digitized documents

Automating data capture, classification, extraction, and export can accelerate the flow of information, providing convenient access to those who need it. Controlling and governing access to information — especially sensitive information in digital formats — requires formidable security capabilities across multiple touchpoints.

Sensitive data can be personally identifiable information (PII), proprietary, intellectual property (IP), or fiduciary, among others, and can lead to hefty fines if not safeguarded. However, if the data is to be protected, it must be transformed from unstructured data into actionable, structured data. Let’s explore how intelligent capture and secure eForm solutions can protect your valuable data.

How do you achieve this while ensuring your data is protected from outside threats, internal security breaches (accidental or deliberate), data loss, or compliance violations?

Secured sharing and collaboration

Sharing and collaborating may involve both sending and receiving information. It may rely on several systems validating information or it may involve human-in-the-loop processes that include all of the above. Information may be used internally or externally, or both, and it may be integrated into a collaborative system such as Microsoft Teams. Key considerations include how the collaborative systems use the information, and what the end state of the information will be when derived through the process.

Advanced faxing

Decrease the risks associated with stand-alone fax machines and replace manual routing with an automated delivery process. A safer method to get faxes into the hands of just the intended recipient often includes taking advantage of secured authentication, encrypted protocols, encrypting data at rest, and routing rules. This automation eliminates paper handling and reduces the risk of paper documents being picked up by unauthorized persons.

With administrative control over your fax environment, you can address compliance and policy requirements using several features — including verifiable document transmission and receipt, full audit trails of activity, and access to archived faxes of all inbound and outbound transactions.

Secured preservation and disposal

It’s too easy to lose track of how much sensitive data your organization has, where it’s located, and who has access to it. Without clear visibility of your organization’s sensitive data, risk increases, and your organization cannot meet baseline security requirements.

Retention and disposal

Information policies determine the lifecycle and handling of different classes of data. Retention policies can determine when and how data is moved from your active repositories into an archived state, moved into an off-site cloud repository, or expunged from systems as warranted by policy. End-of-Life Information Disposal Services encompass cleansing data from multifunction devices to ensure that the NVRAM and drives of retired customer devices are wiped clean before disposal.

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  1. 1IDC. “High Data Growth and Modern Applications Drive New Storage Requirements in Digitally Transformed Enterprises,” July 2022.