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What is a document management system?

A document management system is a software solution allowing businesses to securely collate, share and amend documents digitally. This helps negate the need for countless paper documents, unwieldy filing cabinets as well as the endless man hours spent filing and retrieving documents.

How can a document management system add value?

Document Management Systems bring a number of values to any business, increasing productivity and efficiency as well as reducing costs. There does also seem to be one overriding theme however, and this is security. Below we have listed 7 key security reasons for implementing a document management system:


Reason 1 – Reduced need for email

When it comes to the transfer of large and sensitive documents, particularly via email, this can be a significant security risk for any business. Despite being a fantastic business tool, email is one of many weak points for organisations, as emails in transit can be an easier point of entry for hackers and interceptors. Document Management Systems reduce the need to distribute files via email as they allow users to share directly from the system interface. This can also reduce the risk of accidentally including individuals within confidential emails.


Reason 2 – Collaboration

Working collaboratively on documents with others, whether internally or externally, comes into most roles. However, it is no easy task when it comes to keeping up to date with influx of documents. Document management systems can facilitate the authoring, reviewing and approval of documents by giving users visibility of where documents currently are in a lifecycle. This is an important security feature when it comes to the reputation of your business as it can prevent misidentified, incomplete, inaccurate and unapproved documentation from reaching clients.


Reason 3 – Reducing Human Error

Holding HR records, customer files and financial information is essential for organisations, however keeping these in paper form brings with it numerous challenges. Not only is physical storage expensive and takes up valuable office space, but it also makes archiving and retrieval processes prone to human error. From a security point of view, DMS solutions can prevent sensitive data from being lost and leaked as they can be digitally archived, allowing for quick searches based on titles, keywords and dates.


Reason 4 – Compliance

As mentioned, it is essential that customer details, HR records and financial information are kept by businesses in order to comply with legal regulations. Having these documents easily accessible via a DMS gives organisations the ability to clearly demonstrate custody and traceability of these documents, which can then easily be deleted once the legally mandated time period for storage has passed.


Reason 5 – Version Control

Allowing one user to edit a single document at any one time, these systems prevent important document changes from being lost, and duplicates being made. Questions such as “Who has the most recent version? Where is it saved? Who made these changes?“ will be no strangers to those who regularly work collaboratively. Document Management Systems leave a full audit trail on all files, documenting exactly who has edited these and what changes have been made, whilst simultaneously keeping a fully accessible log of all previous versions. Most people can recall to a time when damaging changes were accidentally made and saved to an important document, making it impossible to retrieve the original version. These systems can prevent this from happening, saving the loss of important documents.


Reason 6 – Back up

Document Management Systems can prevent the loss of data within the system by moving documents to both primary and backup storage folders that are never kept within an organisation’s database. Much like the conventional back up process of saving duplicate documents in separate locations, DMS solutions do this automatically, again removing the risk of human error.


Reason 7 – Access Permissions

Document Management Systems allow administrators to set up system permissions calibrated down to an individual document level, meaning only authorised personnel have access to system files and documents. This prevents sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands and significantly reduces the risk of data breaches.


Read more about document and information management on our information management page.