How leaving the costs of paperwork and postage stamps behind is a lot easier than it looks.
In workplaces around the world, the digital revolution is well underway.
With that said, breaking headlines about data breaches and cyber security risks have left many councils, businesses, and board members holding on to hard copies, or jotting down notes by hand instead of working with digital documents or foreign concepts like ‘The Cloud’.
While fear may stoke these anti-digital fires, the facts, stats, and security figures are fast stacking up – rather than the paperwork! – in favour of digitally managing and distributing documents.
Whether you’re an accounting firm sending sensitive financial reports to clients, managing a committee, or an enterprise tracking board meetings and minutes, you’re likely well aware that decades long document management processes are buckling under the pressure in the same way desks are creaking under the weight of all those documents.
Transitioning away from a reliance on paper or insecure digital channels can be a boon for business. Thankfully doing so and embracing the security, productivity, and workflow of a cloud based environment has never been easier.
Digital Document Distribution? It’s a sensible solution…
Before we get into the ‘How?’, let’s take a moment to examine the ‘Why?’.
The benefits of moving from an unmanaged to a managed, digital document environment include:
- Slash paperwork and running costs
Physical documents all stack up. As do the costs! Transitioning away from traditional methods of working on – and sharing – documents saves both time and money by slashing annual outlay for on- and off-site storage, ink, toner, paper, and postage.
- Store, share, and send securely
Every business’s tentative steps into the digital world are also often their last, leaving them juggling an insecure, slow, and inherently costly mix of standard delivery methods (snail mail and couriers) as well as easy – and easily compromised – online channels like email.
- Do more, in less time
Most business is conducted online these days, so why should paperwork be any different? Something as simple as converting physical documents into a digital format, for example, can cost valuable time. Embracing the benefits of electronic document distribution can improve workflow, streamline processes, and boost overall productivity.
These 7 tips make it easy to transform the way you deal with documents, digitally
1. Audit processes, data, and documents
How are documents currently shared? Stored? Or kept secure?…or not, as the case may be?
Assessing your internal practices, policies, and processes around the creation, storage, and sharing of documents is a critical first step in determining both the size and scale of the task at hand, as well as how best to kick-start the transition to a wholly digital working environment.
2. Bring employees up to speed
Paper-based processes become well-entrenched over time, so you’ll need to account for lead time for training and bringing employees up to speed, as well as equipping them with compliant laptops, phones, and tablets.
In the case of Stellar, setup is simple and takes just minutes with no IT setup or in-depth training required. In fact, it works like any other app: simply download to iOS, Android, or Windows device…and you’re away.
3. Get clients on-board
Depending on the sector, clients may or may not be hesitant to transition to a digital environment. Clients within the legal or financial sector, for example, may hold reservations around compliance and security issues, so set out to highlight that going digital actually provides much greater oversight, control, and security which improves your ability to retain complete oversight and ensure compliance.
4. Start digitally signing documents
Fewer and fewer people carry a pen these days, yet many businesses still require physical signatures for the likes of NDAs. While it may be a small step, cutting out the time required to send, print, scan, and then return signed documents as part of a paper-driven process can quickly add up.
5. Maximise the use of templates
Transitioning to a digital environment can take time, but the ability to create, edit, and re-use digital templates that can then be shared and customised on the fly saves time and countless photocopies.
6. Reduce the reliance on paper
New habits take time to learn, so removing or discouraging the ability to fall back on familiar paper-based habits by decreasing the number of printers or stationery supplies is an easy way to curb the costs of printing and encourage the use of digital documents, instead.
7. Embrace digital document distribution software like Stellar
Software has become a mainstay in the business world. Mobile apps are used for stock-take in stores, for example, while accountants rely on Xero and other software in order to make their lives easier. So…why not paperwork, too?
Software such as Stellar Library makes the transition to a paperless workplace completely seamless, supplementing existing services you’re likely already using such as Dropbox or Drive with increased oversight and much more granular levels of control only available in a cloud-based software package designed from the ground up to securely store and distribute your documents.
The transition is seamless with Stellar Library
Whether you need to deliver sensitive data to sales people out on the road, or to staff and clients across the city, country, or across international borders, Stellar Library cuts out the costs – and downtime – of dealing with physical documents and makes it easy to create, store, and share anytime, anywhere, on any device.
By embracing digital document distribution software like Stellar, you’ll ensure the right people are receiving the right information while maintaining complete control over your sensitive data.
Why hitting ‘Send’ on that next email may not be as straightforward as it seems.
Email has fast become the de facto form of communication for most organisations in the digital era.
It’s highly familiar, cost effective, and above all else, it’s simple. In mere seconds, you can draft an email to board members anywhere, at any time. In this context, there’s little wonder the average office worker keeps members abreast of important information by sending some 40+ emails per day.
But this convenience comes at a cost. As reported by Avatier, the simplicity of sending an email belies a communication channel that’s inherently insecure, with some 6,789 reported email data breaches globally in the space of just two years
In order to meet compliance and regulatory standards, boardrooms, council chambers, and accountancy firms are in desperate need of a way to prepare and distribute board minutes, memos, agendas, committee papers, and other sensitive data away from emails.
Not doing so could prove costly in more ways than one…
Email – A necessary evil in the early digital era
When the digital revolution first took the boardroom by storm, it promised a connected future that would drive productivity, boost workflow, and cut costs.
The rise of internet connected devices and mobile coverage now meant employees could work anywhere, anytime, sales teams could stay informed while on-the-go, and overheads could be slashed as boardrooms went paperless.
In reality, the adoption of digital channels has been slow, forcing organisations to embrace insecure, stop-gap solutions while processes and IT departments have struggled to keep up with the pace of change.
Many of which are likely still found in your boardroom today.
In a world where personal data is now worth more on the black market than credit card details, security isn’t just an added bonus, it’s a must. And it’s your board’s responsibility to ensure it sits at the top of the priority list, where it belongs.
The security stats? They’re sobering…
Before we dive deeper, let’s take a moment to examine the true scale of the risk posed by email.
- In 2004, AOL lost upwards of $400,000 following an internal data breach which saw the details of some 92 million AOL accounts sold to spammers by one of the company’s former software engineers.
- Yahoo’s $4.8 Billion sale to Verizon almost fell through in 2016, after the company revealed all 3 Billion of its users’ accounts were breached across 2013 and 2014.
- Back in 2017, 2.2 million Wishbone user email addresses were exposed.
- In that same year, 36,000 Boeing employees’ email addresses as well as personal information were compromised after a staff member emailed the file to their spouse for help with formatting.
5 Security concerns that will have your board reconsidering composing that next email
#1 – It’s inherently insecure and easily intercepted
Whether they’re run internally, hosted privately, or a public service like Gmail, emails are vulnerable to a range of attacks that put your seemingly private conversations at risk of being read by third parties. DNS Redirects and Sniffers, not to mention certain viruses, are just a few of the threats that can work their way through various servers and to your sensitive information.
#2 – Encryption isn’t as secure as you might think
Most organisations rely on encryption to ensure their emails are kept safe and secure. Encryption protects data by scrambling an email’s contents, so that only the recipient – with the requisite authentication – can see, read, and download.
That said, encryption is far from foolproof. In fact, the false sense of security it grants can leave many vulnerable to attack. Depending on your investment in security, encrypted emails can always be cracked open.
#3 – Human error can’t be accounted for
The focus always falls to high level security risks, but it’s often the mundane ones that can prove to be an organisation’s undoing. As hard as security staff may try, employees are far from infallible, with fat fingers resulting in unintentional forwards or typos sending sensitive data to just about anyone in their address book.
Rationalised noncompliance is another human hazard to your business and its sensitive information. Surveys have shown that almost two thirds of employees have reported that they regularly use personal technology such as phones and laptops for work purposes, or forward sensitive files to their own personal accounts to be worked on later.
In fact, a survey from Balabit highlighted that some 69% of employees are willing to bypass security and privacy policies purely out of convenience.
#4 – Email servers are prone to attack
Emails pass through many hands on their journey from sender to recipient, often seeing them stored in the cloud – or on servers – which themselves are at risk of malicious attacks able to gain access to this information long before anyone is aware there’s been a breach.
#5 – Files sit on the sender & recipient’s device
One an email is sent, it’s stored in your Outbox and the recipient’s Inbox. That’s why laptops, mobile devices, or just about any piece of technology left on – and logged in – is an easy ingress point for anyone looking to access this information, from partners and family members to disgruntled co-workers or rogue employees.
Say sayonara to insecure communication channels with Stellar Library
With all of this bad news, it’s tempting to shun the digital future and revert back to the ‘good old days’ where paper documents were printed, posted, and held in the hand.
But reactionary decision making such as this is shortsighted. Just because a system did work, doesn’t necessarily make it more secure. Take printed documents. These can easily fall into the wrong hands, be misplaced, or lost in transit, let alone the overhead of printing, managing, and storing all of this paperwork.
Stellar Library’s electronic document distribution software has been specially designed to enable enterprises to embrace the digital future, sans the ‘insecure’ moniker. Unlike email, files aren’t stored on the recipient’s device, and are instead controlled by administrators who can change read, edit, and even printing permissions on any document with just the touch of a button.
While your business may not be able to rewrite email’s shaky history, document management software like Stellar ensures you can write your future – out of the ‘Hacked!’ headlines – and avoid being just another statistic in a long line of security breaches.
How document management software like Stellar can help your business securely share sensitive data while saving thousands
Stellar Library is a tool that was developed to securely manage and distribute sensitive data and information, with an initial focus on boardroom documents and paperless board meetings where confidentiality and security are vital, and for use in the distribution of sales information to the mobile devices of salespeople on the road.
But the power and flexibility of Stellar lends itself to any application where security and control of sensitive data is a pre-requisite.
One such use is in the arcane areas of Data Rooms.
What are Virtual Data Rooms?
Data rooms are spaces used for managing data, usually of a secure or privileged nature. While they can be physical spaces, what we are talking about here are virtual data rooms. These can be used for a variety of purposes, including data storage, document exchange, file sharing, financial transactions, legal transactions, and more.
The most common use of data rooms is in commercial transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, where sensitive commercial information can be made available to interested parties in a controlled manner with full tracking of access and use of the data.
This controlled access is particularly important when transactions get to the point of due diligence where sensitive details of the target company have to be revealed.
A virtual data room is essentially a website that uses a secure log-on with limited, controlled access. As discussed above, secure access to information is often required by legal, accounting, investment banking and private equity companies performing mergers and acquisitions, fundraising, insolvency, corporate restructuring, and joint ventures including bio-technology and tender processes.
Using a Data Room Tool to share securely? It makes a lot of ‘cents’
The Stellar Data Room (SDRT) Tool provides the type of secure system needed to electronically distribute sensitive documents and manage access to them at a much cheaper price and without the extra, seldom-used features available in high-end systems. This can mean savings of tens of thousands of dollars when compared to “industrial strength” data room solutions. Other advantages include:
Securing sensitive data is easy with Stellar
The SDRT retains all the usual Stellar Library advantages of ease of setup and use, with the client apps for specific devices available on Apple, Microsoft and Android App Stores.
What to look for when you need Electronic Document Distribution Software that empowers on-the-go sales teams to close deals faster anywhere, anytime, on any device.
When the Apple iPad was introduced in 2010, it received a mixed reception.
It would never catch on…
It couldn’t compete with netbooks…
And it lacked the ability to synchronise wirelessly…
Well, hundreds of million of devices later and the landscape is very different. What’s more, the iPad spawned a host of imitators in the marketplace where it is now joined by Android and Windows devices.
Mobile devices, and tablets in particular, have quickly found their way into the workplace and become an important business tool in boardrooms, council chambers, and accountancy firms the world over. Especially for salespeople who, as part of their work, are naturally on the move.
Since successful sales teams spend most of their time in the field, organisations have had to face up to the challenges of managing their mobile devices, including keeping mobile information secure and up to date. Among the issues that have to be managed are software updates, application installation and management as well as security.
The mobile device solutions that work best make it easy to deliver updates and change/update business information. More importantly, all this has to happen without having to come back to the office.
Stellar keeps information secret, and keeps it safe with these 5 features
- Easy to use, easier to update
The two core pillars of Stellar’s early development focus were security and ease of use. Built in was the assumption that the application would be used on the move and that users didn’t want to be bothered by updates and management issues with the software.
Add to this the fact that sales teams seem to run at 110 percent capacity. This means that new features and capabilities have to be delivered in a seamless manner (in our case via the app store for the particular platform) and with minimal training requirements.
- Safe, secure, and with constant oversight
From a security point of view, the library/administrator not only controls access but can also monitor access and usage of all files. There is no risk of losing data, as Stellar is not a repository for files – rather it provides access to a copy of the information.
Full offline capability means mobile sales people do not have to rely on being connected to the cloud to do their business. Because backups are a perennial problem, especially with sales teams who rarely come back to the main office, the fact that Stellar is based in the cloud removes this as an issue.
- Supercharge sales with up-to-date information
Besides securely managing sensitive data, Stellar also provide the facility to ensure accuracy and up-to-date information. This means sales people who routinely use training videos, presentation libraries or large PDFs aren’t waiting for a download.
- Order and organise for easy access
The flexibility of Stellar allows it to be integrated with modern approaches such as mobile sales enablement, which supports structured approaches to the preparation and engagement their audience using mobile devices in any place, and close deals faster. Stellar has a Document Collation Module, which allows users to group and order documents to assist with seamless presentations.
- Securely share across iOS, Android & Windows devices
Finally, the fact that Stellar Library is completely device “agnostic” means it works with almost any current mobile device, be it iOS, Android or Windows. In fact, it’s never been easier to electronically distribute documents to use on any size of phone or tablet.
Stellar secures your sales information, it’s that simple!
Stellar is the application for sales people on the move looking to (securely) take full advantage of the mobile revolution started many years ago by Apple.
How Stellar Library is harnessing the power of cloud computing to change the face of enterprise information management, forever
One of the technologies that provides the power and security behind Stellar’s functionality is the Cloud.
In fact, it’s the Cloud that makes it possible to manage and distribute your documents and information without being exposed to all the complexity around data storage and the associated administrative overhead.
Hence the “simple to install, easy to use” byline.
Regardless of how you’re using Stellar – for Board Books, as a Digital Library, as a Sales Tool or for Data Room management – a key attribute of the product is “persistence” when it comes to your information.
The dictionary defines persistence as “the continued or prolonged existence of something“. In this context we’re talking about your documents, and the ability to access them anywhere anytime, on any device.
Once the administrator or librarian makes a document available, with pre-defined assigned access and distribution rights, no further work is required to make it available thanks to the Cloud.
What is The Cloud?
The Cloud frees users from the need to have to run applications or programs from software downloaded on a physical computer or server within their organisation. Using the connectivity provided by the internet, users can access not only the data they need, but also the applications required to access that data.
While the Cloud is just a concept, behind that idea lies the huge computer server farms which store and manage the information run by global giants such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
Besides being a very efficient and cost-effective way to work, this also means it is possible to quickly access more resources to scale activities via the cloud. You can also reduce resources used if needed, hence the references to the the cloud’s elasticity.
Stellar – securely fastening your enterprise’s information seat-belt
Of course the often referred to downside of widespread availability and easy access to information is security, something that Stellar takes very seriously.
And that brings us to the “gory detail” around keeping your information safe.
- Stellar Library provides high levels of security. All files are encrypted on devices and during transmission. There is a full audit trail of file access and use. It’s also possible to remotely remove documents if a device is lost or stolen.
- Stellar’s data is hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS), a subsidiary of Amazon.com that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms. Amazon has never had a significant data security breach.
- Stellar’s primary data location is in Sydney, which provides proximity and helps assist speed of operation. We also utilise other AWS regions for backup and development. The services we use include EC2 for web frontend and document conversion and S3 for library file storage along with other services to store data and speed up and manage distribution.
- Stellar use AWS IAM to manage security and give individual staff members access to the Amazon environment. Administrative access to the database and front-end servers is restricted to the IP addresses of our offices and those of our contractors. Our library manager site is secured with an Extended Validation SSL certificate and our application is designed to only allow access to the files a given user has access to.
- Stellar’s access control is performed by the web front-end, releasing time limited signed URLs to retrieve the document from S3/CloudFront only when the user requesting the document has sufficient access rights to retrieve that document.
If you or any or your technical people have any further questions around security please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and, if necessary, we can put you in touch directly with our developers to discuss details.
Information management’s forecast? It’s cloudy
While cloud computing provides the key platform for many business applications as well as Stellar, it’s not something that is standing still.
Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain loom on the horizon, among other developments, to help process the increasing amounts of data being generated everywhere and to help make the Cloud more “data-aware“.
As the complexity of that data and networks grows, AI will be necessary to control them.
For Stellar’s part, we’re focused on embracing these technologies and working closely on accessibility, ease of use and, as always, security.
That, and our next challenge to make Stellar’s secure management and electronic distribution of documents ubiquitous across our customers’ data environment.
We’ll keep you posted!