Posted by Bill Ho
The Internet has made it easier than ever to transfer information from person to person. Documents, images, applications, and other data can be sent around the globe instantaneously at the touch of a button or the click of a mouse. While such rapid-fire communication has revolutionized the way business is done, it has also raised a number of questions: What is being sent? To whom? By whom? When? And, most importantly, how do you know?
Files can be delivered in a variety of ways, but the essential business requirement of tracking these files and reporting on their delivery remains identical. Organizations receive data, create data, and send data, and someone has to keep track of this process. Reporting and tracking tools not only improve business efficiency and directly impact the bottom line; they also increase an organization’s transparency, necessary for responding to auditor requests.
The need to deliver files securely is increasingly important, not only to organizations that are required by law to protect confidential information, but to any organization that wants to take greater control of who receives critical files and data. With the increased enforcement of compliance regulations, a growing number of hackers attempting to steal confidential data, SPAM filters removing valid messages, and additional strains put on current communications servers such as email, a system with better security and more efficient communications is becoming more valuable and necessary.
Documents and files can be delivered by a bewildering variety of systems, but what makes one system better than another? You should consider a secure file delivery system one that easily sends files of any size from one person to another or group of people; requires no additional client software at either end of the transaction; delivers files securely and can track security breaches; and maintains a complete audit trail of all activity, and notifies the sender when the document was received.
The importance of file delivery tracking and reporting in a secure file delivery system should not be understated. It provides benefits that go beyond protecting the organization. A system that tracks all activity is an invaluable monitoring tool that can help administrators in a number of ways.
It can provide dramatic process improvements. An overall look at how files are delivered over time can pinpoint bottlenecks and delays. Inefficiencies that may not have been obvious before are easy to identify when viewing a report of deliveries over a specified period. It can assist in abuse prevention where sensitive data can be monitored to ensure that it’s not being sent to unintended recipients. A detailed report of file delivery traffic can also expose misuse of the system for personal reasons. Tracking and reporting can also improve the way an organization does business, thus increasing the return on investment (ROI) of the file delivery system. Some areas that benefit from better control and view of data management include:
- Reduction in manual compliance checks.
- Electronic tracking may replace the need for an overnight courier service.
- Retain existing systems and applications and augment them with a secure delivery module.
- Reduce or eliminate fines for compliance violations.
- Save IT involvement in time and manpower and let content owners securely deliver files.
When assessing the tracking and reporting capabilities of a secure file delivery system, consider the realities that activity must often be reported in a variety of formats, and that many users who require a report may not themselves have access to the actual data being delivered. Organizations require a file delivery system that enables users to view all activity without also being able to view the files/documents being sent/received. These realities require that reports be generated without details on the contents of each transaction. In addition, because users may not have access to the system, or training in its use, these reports may also be automated.
Tracking and reporting is an essential part of regulatory compliance but it is also useful to organizations that simply want to have better control over their data. With increased scrutiny of document and content access and delivery, especially in light of recent compliance regulations, tracking and reporting will be a necessary part of any organization’s data management practices.
Bill Ho is President of Biscom.