Social distancing measures taken by responsible employers have greatly increased the number of employees working remotely. Even in the midst of this crisis, some companies and their employees can enjoy the objective benefits of not having to waste time and money on long commutes. At the same time, plenty of businesses really didn’t have the structure in place to support a vast, full-time work-at-home workforce with the security of business processes they needed.
Remote Workforce Security Challenges During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Because employees or departments scrambled for ad-hoc solutions to remote working, they sometimes sacrificed robust security to get up and running as quickly as possible. Sadly, cybercriminals can also work from home or other remote locations, and many saw the rise in remote workers as an opportunity.
For example, one survey of security professionals found:
A majority of security employees struggled to offer strong security solutions to remote employees.
At the same time, almost half of the respondents reported seeing an increase in phishing attempts.
Most of these corporate security pros had concerns about their ability to scale security, respond to abrupt environmental changes, and the difficultly of controlling employee use of unknown and untested software.
Five Best Security Practices for Remote Employees
With the increase in cyberthreats and the concerns of security professionals in mind, it’s a good idea to consider some best practices to help keep business systems free of threats and just as important, to ensure compliance with rules that govern privacy and security in different industries.
1. Two-Factor Authentication
With two-factor authentication, sometimes called 2FA, users have to finish their login with a code that gets sent to another device, typically a cell phone. It takes a few seconds longer to access the system, but it provides better protection against phishing attacks. One CTO found that this simple measure reduced security problems in his company by almost 40 percent.
2. Use Secure Connections
Obviously, most of these home workers will rely upon their home Wi-Fi connections. Without any other protections, your security will only be as good as whatever the employee’s home internet company, router, and password can provide. To boost security, you might have employees log in through a VPN or other method of encrypting communication between their home device and your corporate systems.
3. Endpoint Security and Monitoring
No matter how well you protect logins and communication, you still can’t always avoid the threat of malicious code entering your system. On your server end, you can employ software to block threats and monitor system usages.
Even though most threats may stem from accidental vulnerabilities, it’s impossible to ignore the rise of inside jobs as a source of risks. Not only will these systems provide a firewall against malicious software, they can also send automatic alerts for unusual data use and provide a clear audit trail just in case something does happen.
4. Develop and Create Clear Security Policies
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, companies grappled with security issues that stemmed from remote workers and the rising use of personal devices.
In some cases, you may allow personal devices, so long as employees adhere to other security policies. For instance, you may require installation of approved security software and only let employees login to your network through your corporate VPN.
In other cases, you may ask employees in sensitive areas to only use the laptops or other devices that you have issued to them and to only use them in approved ways. For example, you may restrict these company-issued devices to work and not allow employees to use them to watch videos or browse social sites.
In any case, it’s important to develop clear policies. In addition to communicating these rules, you should also ensure that employees understand why they’re important and that they can incur consequences for ignoring them.
5. Deploy Secure Information Systems
Deploying intelligent and robust document and data management systems may not take as much of an effort as you think it will. These systems come designed and built to offer robust security and rule-based access for both in-house and remote workers. They also provide audit trails and guarantee recoverability, so if something suspicious happens, it’s easy to trace the issue to its source and remediate it.
How M-Files Offers the Best Solution for Remote and In-House Employees
Companies that already employed a smart data management system like M-Files didn’t have to worry about an abrupt change from working in a corporate office to a home office.
Access to documents could already have been set by role, so the people who needed information would have an easy time accessing it, according to their security levels. To others, that same information would be invisible. The right people could view, change, add, or delete information, and others would not even see it exists.
With built-in encrypted access and simple rollbacks for recoveribility, M-Files also has already been certifed as an ISO-27001 Certified Provider. This standard meets the requirements for the most sensitive data and systems.
Besides security, the intelligent features of M-Files can help improve your business processes. To learn how M-Files can help protect your business, employees, and information, schedule a custom demo today.
Anyone who has ever spent an appreciable amount of time working with business information knows full well that the sheer volume of content within their deployment is growing by the day. But at the same time, the variety of content is also on the rise — which can easily lead to governance issues before you know it.
This was always an issue for organizations in the process of scaling, but it has become increasingly difficult in the wake of the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With more employees working from home than ever, information management solutions have become more than just tools to store important files in the cloud. They are literally the foundation of your workforce right now, allowing people to better communicate and collaborate with one another during a time when they’re not going to be able to get back in the same shared space for the foreseeable future.
This, in essence, is why ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance is so important. Every minute that you spend trying to make sense of your infrastructure or trying to get third-party add-ons to work the way you want, is a minute that you’re not actually acting on the insight contained in your data and using it to propel your business forward. Thankfully, most IT leaders seem to understand the gravity of the situation.
The Power of ‘Set It and Forget It’ Governance: An Overview
M-Files intelligent information management solution helps achieve a ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance strategy. With workflow rules, organizations can maintain consistent records management policies. Documents in a governance workflow would be governed by a ruleset whereby any of the following would happen automatically:
Records would be disposed of or retained according to policy
Stakeholders would be notified to review batches of documents designated for a certain disposition
Files can automatically be added to this workflow, as well, through metadata. If, for instance, a file matches certain criteria — say, a type of contract — it would automatically be applied to a governance workflow.
Thanks to a lot of these features, information in all repositories across the organization are standardized with common ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance standards. Really, what this means is that there is now no longer a need to transfer important information like records or compliance documents to a totally separate repository. This approach to governance only ever worked with records that you didn’t need to use that often and created quite a significant challenge in terms of management for everything else. Active records obviously need to be available with their critical context intact — meaning in a way that allows you to retrieve all relevant documents and see all crucial tasks also quickly. Now, these types of records can be actively managed within the M-Files platform — which is really the most important advantage of all.
In the end, ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance is all about breaking down yet another data silo so that information can move freely across your organization for the first time. Rather than forcing your employees to use a number of different tools just to get work done — thus increasing the time it takes them to complete those important tasks to begin with — they should have access to absolutely everything they need, all under one roof.
But you also shouldn’t have to work very hard to get to this point — which is really what ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance is all about. It’s about making it easier to get the highest return from your IT spending and from your technological investment, not harder. You’ll still need to make sure that the business strategies that are driving your technology investments are carefully thought out, of course. You should never invest in a solution because you think you need to — it should be the right move to make given whatever you’re trying to accomplish at the moment.
Thankfully, “simple” has emerged as a recurring theme when it comes to businesses who are embracing cloud platforms and process standardization — and it absolutely could not have come at a better moment.
2020 was a year of unprecedented challenge for the whole world — when what we thought of as normal did not exist anymore. Everyone had to adjust to new ways of working and a business community that was suddenly closing its doors after a long period of increasing global movement.
In M-Files, we face the same challenge of suddenly moving to home offices across the globe. For us, it was quite straightforward though, as M-Files is designed to enable remote work from anywhere.
Now, let’s take a look at the upcoming new year 2021. The world will certainly not get back to what used to be normal. It is time for the new normal!
2021 for M-Files means continuing on the path we partly took already in 2020 — but with increased focus. The four major themes for us are:
1 | AI Continues to be an Integral Part of M-Files
AI is already a core element of M-Files, essentially making M-Files what it is. Going forward, AI will go even further in enriching search and navigation, driving employee productivity with intelligence that helps the user focus on the job at hand.
2 | Focus on the User Experience
In today’s world, end-users expect to have tools that are intuitive and easy to use. They use different types of apps in their personal lives and expect at least a somewhat corresponding experience in the products they use for business. M-Files is answering this demand with an increased focus on improving the end-user experience, be it the search experience, the usability of the product in general, or the intuitiveness of the workflows that support the business.
3 | Improved Self-Service Capabilities
True scalability calls for the ability to view and analyze the performance of the system. Therefore, one of the areas we want to focus on in the future is improving self-service capabilities. The next step is to offer customers the ability to manage their own M-Files subscription with M-Files Manage.
4 | Making Content Collaboration a Key Focus
With remote work a key part of the new reality for an increasing number of businesses and knowledge workers, content collaboration is an obvious focus area. You’ll see some new stunning innovations in our product related to remote work enablement later on in 2021.
What to Expect Next?
As we open 2021, there’s some good news just around the corner! The user experience is a theme we want to focus on, and there are two current, significant updates that will certainly have a positive impact on the user experience.
A new, improved Web Client for M-Files became available in the December release and will be installed in customer environments as the year starts. Additionally, the December release introduced the new Smart Search, which will give faster, even more, accurate search results.
If you wish to learn more about any of the new improvements, please contact us for more information.
Thanks to the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, more and more businesses find themselves in urgent need of a digital transformation to stay afloat. This includes both organizations who were previously interested in the idea but who didn’t think it would happen quite so quickly, along with those who never really gave it much thought at all.
Regardless, your IT department will play a crucial role in determining whether your own transformation is the success you need it to be or the failure you fear it might become. More specifically, there are six core IT department roles that will be instrumental in guiding your organization’s digital transformation.
By far, one of the most important contributors to the success of your digital transformation comes down to the cloud specialists you choose to surround yourself with.
Remember that these professionals are tasked with doing more than just managing the migration of information and services from one platform to another. They also need to be on hand to quickly troubleshoot any issues, to help team members navigate the cloud environment, and to help mitigate risk for your rapidly transforming organization. This is especially true during the COVID-19 era, where industries are constantly evolving in new and unexpected ways and businesses have to evolve just as quickly to stay ahead in increasingly uncertain times.
Another invaluable role during your digital transformation will be that of the system integrators. These IT professionals will need to customize the employee experience before, during, and after the digital transformation itself, carefully selecting the best combination of hardware, software, networking, and storage products to support your people and the important work they’re doing on a daily basis.
In a best-case scenario, systems integrators will be able to create a highly specialized experience that not only meets your business’ needs as they exist today, but that also makes sure your technology is finally aligned with your long-term business goals — which is a big part of what your digital transformation is supposed to accomplish, to begin with.
Any digital transformation always brings with it a certain degree of risk in terms of cybersecurity, which is why another one of the most important IT department roles that can mean the difference between success and failure will ultimately come down to your information security team.
As more and more information and activity happen within a cloud-based, “anytime/anywhere” infrastructure, security must become and remain a top priority no matter what. Information security specialists can not only help come up with a cybersecurity strategy that makes the most sense given your environment, but they can also monitor for any suspicious activity to help stop small problems today before they have a chance to become potentially catastrophic ones tomorrow.
Hidden inside the massive volumes of data that your business is creating on a daily basis is a treasure trove of insight that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. This is especially true during a digital transformation when you need access to current and high-value information to make the most informed decisions possible every day.
Data analysts help enormously to that end by retrieving, gathering, and analyzing data — all of which allows you to take a more organic data-driven approach to what you’re doing. Not only can they spot important patterns and better understand how certain activities impact your business, but they can also make smarter recommendations on how to improve your operations to help you reach your long-term goals more efficiently than ever.
The User Experience (UX)
User experience designers also have a crucial role to play in your digital transformation by capitalizing on opportunities to improve not only the accessibility of your system but its usability and interaction potential as well. In a larger sense, they’re tasked with providing all of your users with the best possible experience that they can — all so that your employees can spend less time trying to figure out how to get their technology to work and instead focus on putting that technology to work for them.
This is once again particularly important during COVID-19, given the fact that your online experience is essentially the only experience that you’re able to offer your employees for the foreseeable future. Therefore, user experience designers are critical to not only help make sure that your digital transformation goes off without a hitch but to do so in a way that also makes sure that your employees have access to everything they need to do their jobs every day.
Finally, we arrive at information management specialists, otherwise known as the hardworking men and women who are tasked with making sure that data is flowing freely across your organization at all times.
Especially when you’re talking about something as important as digital transformation, you cannot afford to deal with data silos at any point. If you’re not sure where information is or even what is important and what isn’t, it’s difficult to make sure that everything transitions from one system to another as securely and as smoothly as possible. Information management specialists can leverage solutions like M-Files to bring all of your data together, regardless of where it might be stored. An information management platform like M-Files will create a single data repository for all of your important files, regardless of whether they’re stored in the cloud, on personal drives, on network shares, or on something else entirely.
In the end, any digital transformation will always be a time-consuming and somewhat stressful process, but that is especially true during the COVID-19 era when more people are working remotely than ever. But by making sure that these six core IT department roles are filled before, during, and after the transition, you’ll have put your business in an excellent position to enjoy all of the benefits of this process with a few of the potential downsides as possible.
One of the most important things that business leaders need to realize is that outdated technology – especially a document management solution – isn’t just frustrating. It can literally be costing organizations money in more ways than one. In this article, we’ll discuss four benefits of a document management system.
The sheer volume of information that your average enterprise is creating on a daily basis is enormous — to the point where simply keeping track of it all can be an uphill battle. Without the right type of document management structure in place, your employees quickly become overwhelmed by your data, rather than using it to help move your business forward.
Luckily, the right document management system like M-Files can help relieve these issues in businesses in nearly every industry. In fact, a document management system will bring with it a number of distinct benefits and opportunities, all of which are worth a closer look.
The 4 Benefits of a Document Management System
Empowering Compliance Capabilities
Depending on the industry you’re operating in, it’s likely that your business has its fair share of compliance requirements to deal with. One of the major things that a lot of people don’t understand (until it’s far too late) is that if your technology isn’t compliant with regulations like ISO 9001 or ISO 13485, your business isn’t either.
Thankfully, this is one of the chief benefits that a document management system like M-Files brings to the table: they allow you to demonstrate regulatory compliance in an effective way, all while improving visibility into and control over your own information at the exact same time.
M-Files allows you to finally understand how data and business processes flow across your enterprise, allowing you to finally conduct a risk-based approach to quality processes. Plus, approval history and audit trails mean that documents are always highly traceable in a way that meets your security expectations, too.
Superior Document Security
Speaking of document security, a document management system excels to that end by offering a single repository to offer better protection to the critical information you’re creating on a daily basis. When your essential business information is stored across personal and enterprise cloud drives, local storage, network shares and in other spread-out locations, it’s difficult to simply know what is where let alone to protect it all.
By bringing everything together into a single source of information and knowledge, however, you make that information immediately less accessible to hackers and other malicious types of third parties.
Robust Search Facilities
Another issue with having your data so spread out ultimately involves how difficult it can be to find what you’re looking for. This is especially problematic given the sheer volume of documents that make their way through a business every day. If it takes your employees on average ten minutes to find the document that they’re looking for just so that they can START their work, that’s ten minutes that they weren’t doing anything meaningful to drive revenue for your organization. Multiply that opportunity cost by the total number of employees you have and the total number of documents they may need each day and you can begin to get an idea of just how severe this problem can be.
With a proper document management system, however, all of this goes away. It doesn’t matter WHERE something is stored at that point because so long as your employees know WHAT they’re looking for they’ll be able to find it. Likewise, with version control and similar features, you can always make sure that your people are retrieving the correct version of a document at all times.
Enhanced Collaboration Anytime, Anywhere
Finally, we arrive at the ways in which a document management system doesn’t just support internal collaboration but enhances it. The important work that your employees are doing for your clients isn’t created in a vacuum. Oftentimes successful projects are the result of the hard work of countless people, all working in tandem with one another to contribute something more effective than they could as individuals.
But when information is still trapped in data silos, it’s nearly impossible for this to happen because those documents aren’t getting into the hands of the people who need them. Without proper version control, collaboration becomes a disjointed and frustrating process. Three different people may need to review a document before it can be passed onto a client, but how can you be certain that they’re reviewing the same version of that document? If a change is made that eventually comes into question, how do you know who made it? How can you get all key stakeholders on the same page, let alone always moving in the same direction?
A high-quality document management system like M-Files eliminates these issues by providing a single source of information that all parties can access securely anywhere at any time. It doesn’t matter if your workforce will be operating out of home offices for the foreseeable future — they can all access the same versions of documents at the same time and contribute to the job that needs to be done.
This doesn’t just eliminate wasted resources — it promotes far better productivity and delivers more value to your customers as well.
If information is the foundation of your business, it’s safe to say that you need to make the effective management of that information one of your ongoing top priorities. That, in essence, is what a document management system is designed to do: it creates an opportunity to stop worrying about things like compliance, security, lost productivity and poor collaboration, all so that you can focus the maximum amount of your attention on running the most successful business that you can.
Does it take way too long for your organization to adopt an ECM system?
You are not alone. Many organizations face humongous implementation projects with the added complication of data migration before they can actually realize real benefits from their ECM investment.
Any software solution only brings value if end users embrace it and adapt it to their daily routines. And the users will be happy to adapt only when the solution is easy to learn and use.
Ease of adoption is the gift we continue to give our users. M-Files has received exceptional ratings for usability as it is; for example, Nucleus Research named M-Files a Leader both in Better Functionality and Greater Usability.
Now, we have taken the next step.
M-Files has recently introduced a new Web Client. A client that brings a consumer-like easy user experience to everyday ECM users.
(Actually, we call it Intelligent Information Management rather than ECM, because of all the unique capabilities that span content across different systems, archives, and applications, ending the nightmares of migration projects.)
When developing the new Web Client, the user experience took center stage — specifically, how it supports daily work. With better support for daily work, use and adoption are easier, quicker, and more intuitive — and can thus provide for more efficiency for the business.
So, what exactly is changing?
All-in-One View. First of all, intuitive user flows adapt to the user’s needs and behavior. The three panels with all the relevant functions give users a quick overview of all relevant information about their documents at once. This means less time browsing through different tabs. ???????
Fast and Accurate Search. Second, the improved Search functionality with more search options and an intuitive search experience helps your workforce find what they need faster, more accurately, and even more easily than before.
The whole user experience on the web client is helping users to adopt it quickly in their daily information management operations — like creating, editing, and archiving documents, tagging documents with metadata, or sharing documents with colleagues.
And if this improved usability for your end-users is not enough, the new Web Client is easy for administrators as well…
The Web Client works across multiple platforms — all you need are user credentials. The Web Client is always up to date, without the need to install anything, making administrators’ work easier.
Does this sound too good to be true? It isn’t.
You can achieve both superior functionality AND superior usability, all in one package. It might never be the only user interface for your super users — that’s what the Desktop Client is for — but the new Web Client will certainly help the organization at large to adapt to new ways of working quickly and easily.