Improving the Security of your Contract Management Processes

No matter which industry your enterprise operates in, your enterprise is subject to attacks from malicious hackers and identity thieves. While only major data breaches from publicly traded companies and major corporations may make the news, there are still plenty of attacks on small, medium, and large enterprises on a daily basis. Your best plan of prevention is to educate your employees on best practices both online and offline. Let’s review three ways to improve the security of your contract management processes.

  1. Use of Encrypted Forms to In-Take Data

There are many benefits to using a centralized enterprise contract management system, including improved document management and contract compliance. When focusing on the security and integrity of your contract data, centralized in-take of contract data through customizable forms is a major strength of a robust contract management software.

However, the key is that your employees actually use the request module of the system to create those customizable forms. To help your employees save time and increase their usage rates of these forms, develop pre-approved templates for several common client-facing data requests and provide clear instructions on how to access and customize those templates when routing processes.

Another reason to use encrypted forms instead of email to collect contract data is that the most common way hackers infiltrate malicious software is through attachments to emails sent to employees.

  1. Stronger Set of Guidelines for Passwords

Using a centralized CLM software is a great practice, but making sure that the password to access that software is strong enough is a best practice. In 2014 and 2015, the top two most popular passwords stolen by digital thieves were “123456” and “password.”.

To prevent this, your employees should create optimal passwords to access company-owned laptops, computers, mobile devices, and software; provide your employees clear guidelines of acceptable passwords. For example, here is a set of actionable password guidelines suggested by the Unites States Computer Emergency Readiness Team. Also, your IT staff could set automatic rules that prevent users from creating passwords that don’t meet specified criteria, using previous passwords, or forcing to change passwords every three to six months.

Last but not least, strongly suggest that employees don’t use the same password for several accounts. If a hacker gets a hold of one password, he would attempt to use that password across all accounts of an employee. About 73% of online accounts are guarded by duplicated passwords, so help your employees not only protect your company data but also their personal data.

  1. More Vigilance on Areas With Physical Contract Documents and Data

Even though you have CLM software, you may still receive documents via fax or regular mail and have to worry about securely storing and getting rid of those documents.

Mail theft is no laughing matter. According to data from the U.S. Postal Service, in 2015, approximately 1,400 cases of mail theft were investigated nationwide and 2,355 people were arrested. Convictions were secured in 2,048 cases. However, U.S. Postal Inspectors followed up on almost 97,000 customer complaints and 304,693 complaints from major mailers regarding attempts to steal mail.

This is why your enterprise needs to monitor carefully activity in areas where mail is received, processed, stored, and discarded. Your first line of defense is your team of employees, who should be careful when handling documents, be cautious of strangers in those areas, and report any suspicious activity. Areas of concern aren’t limited to just mail rooms, but also areas containing printers, fax machines (still very common in financial institutions and medical facilities), and other communication devices.

Work with your HR department to establish, implement, and enforce appropriate guidelines throughout your enterprise to improve the integrity of areas containing physical documents and data related to your contracts.