Did you know that managers spend up to four weeks looking for documents lost over a year? Worse even, 20% of staff time is eaten up if they don’t have proper records management. If these statistics are anything to go by, you would understand why you need to improve your document sharing practices. Good document practices allow companies to transform, store and exchange various digital documents across networks safely. With suitable structures in place, you can reduce complexities, time wastage and enhance productivity. Let us expound more on the best practices you should follow.

Have a structure in place

Imagine an external client coming in contact with an internal document that was not meant for his/her eyes? Or, think of a situation where files are named according to the person’s name and not function. These are some of the problems you will encounter if you do not have a functional document structure in place. As a business, you must ensure that you have a consistent way in which folders are named and structured. Ensure that the structure is accessible and simple; in a way, people will not spend hours looking for a file. It would help if you always learned to separate internal and external files and name them according to function and not names.

Make it easy to find files

As you put structures in place and invest in software, you must ensure that the processes are simplified. Make it easy to find documents. You should have a file search feature to do quick searches, an enterprise search engine that can help you search titles and content easily. If you can find ways to label and tag documents to make them searchable, then you can hack online document sharing.

Audit regularly

Another good practice in document sharing and management is conducting periodical auditing. If you are sharing and accessing confidential files, you must establish a process of reviewing access. As a manager, you must see exactly who has access to a given file, and when they accessed it. This is very important, especially when dealing with sensitive documents.  Auditing ensures that the problems that accrue from file mismanagement and negligence are reduced.

Have a backup plan

It is also good to have a good backup plan. There is nothing worse, losing a file after spending hours working on it. Regardless of the safety measures that you have put in place, make sure that take extra precautions by investing in a secure file sharing solution. Find a solution that can simplify remote file access and maintain data privacy and access control.

Use software to manage document version automatically

Think of a situation where you are expected to approve some document for compliance purposes, but you are unsure whether the file is the latest version. Imagine how much you have spent working on that file, and will spend looking for the newest version. To avoid this mix-up, ensure that you have software that can manage the versions. It is also good to keep the old versions in the system to know what you are looking at, and for audit purposes.

Limit access

Did you know that security breaches and data leaks begin internally? According to statistics, 42% of all cybersecurity incidents arise from employees’ malicious and inadvertent actions. Well, improper document sharing and management is one of those loopholes. You can also enhance data security with secure file sharing solutions for your team. As a rule of thumb, before sharing or allowing access to any document, ask yourself a few questions:

Who needs to access what file? Should there be levels of permission to access content? Are these files for editing or viewing only? These questions are essential when it comes to the safety of your documents.

Tips:

  • Mitigate risk by limiting file access to a ‘need to know’ basis. This ensures that confidential documents are only viewed by a select group and not by employees that don’t require access.
  • Be consistent with authorization privileges.       

Evaluate your file sharing solutions

Just like any business solution, you must take the time to evaluate your file sharing solutions. This is the only way to know if the tools are effective and efficient. Keep in mind that business and workflow needs change over time; this means your current solution might not be a quite fit anymore.

Tips:

  • Ask your team members for feedback randomly. Find out if these solutions aid or hinder workflows.
  • Be on the lookout for tools that address your new or modified workflows. For example, if you are now working remotely, you should have solutions that cater to that need.
  • Choose re-evaluation timelines that work for your organization’s needs.                    

Wrap up

Any business that cares about efficiency and productivity must invest in proper document sharing. It improves your workplace collaboration in your team and protects your critical information. Data is now one of your biggest assets. How you care for it determines the output you receive. While setting up structures can seem complicated at the onset, it will help your business in the long-run. 

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