Document security should be a priority for any business to safeguard sensitive information and prevent it from becoming compromised. However, it is an even bigger priority for companies operating in the finance and healthcare industries, which face strict regulatory compliance requirements due to legislation such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These regulations govern how organizations within these industries handle data, and failure to comply can result in strict penalties ranging from steep fines to imprisonment, depending on the nature of the crime. One way to manage, protect, and preserve your data to ensure regulatory compliance is through document scanning.
How SOX and HIPAA impact your data
In a nutshell, SOX requires financial organizations to have controls in place to produce accurate financial reports and prevent data from being falsified, altered, or destroyed. Companies subject to SOX must also keep their financial records readily available and easy to access for the sake of an audit. HIPAA, on the other hand, requires healthcare providers to protect the privacy and security of a patient’s personal health information. Providers must ensure that identifiable information is not made available or disclosed to non-authorized individuals.
How can document scanning help you comply with SOX and HIPAA?
By scanning your paper documents, they’re converted to digital versions that can be stored electronically rather than in paper form. In digital form, documents face fewer compliance and privacy challenges than paper records. For starters, digital files can be indexed, making them accessible quickly and easily through a keyword search, eliminating long, frustrating, and often-futile manual searches for paper files. Digital files can also be backed up and stored in numerous locations, which makes data recovery possible and puts an end to missing or lost documents. Access to digital files can be controlled through user permissions, making them much more difficult to access than paper files stored in folders kept on a shelf or in a physical file cabinet. Digital documents enable you to track who has accessed a file, whereas paper versions do not afford you that ability. Data can also be distributed more securely through electronic means, as opposed to paper documents that can easily end up in the wrong hands. The bottom line is that documents stored in digital form are handled by and accessible to fewer employees than their paper counterparts.
Additionally, digital documents are optimal for archival purposes, taking up less space and ensuring they are kept for as long as you are legally required to store them. Digital files stored in the cloud are impervious to the elements and invulnerable to threats such as fire, flood, or natural disasters.
Scanning your paper documents and working with digital versions is a no-brainer for any organization facing regulatory compliance. However, the benefits of document scanning go well beyond regulatory compliance. To learn more about document scanning and management, or to get started converting your office to a paperless one, contact us today.