Data security is central to a company retaining its competitive edge, as well as the trust of its clients and vendors. There really aren’t any documents that are exempt from this either. These days, businesses desperate to outmaneuver competitors and savvy hackers looking to make a buck seem to figure out how to infiltrate and exploit, or even monetize, virtually any pilfered data. Obviously, the data contained within a company’s contracts are not an exception to this reality, and thus they must be safeguarded with the same vigor as any other sensitive document.
There are a myriad of ways to keep documents secure, but one of the best security features available is permissions management. This security measure is generally a feature that is found in custom-built software that is intended for the storage and safekeeping of company records, including business contracts. Here is why permissions management is useful and offers excellent data protection:
With a software solution that offers permissions-based management, there is usually an administrator who oversees the data room, or contract repository. This person, likely the primary contract manager, or some other high ranking member of the contract management team, can decide who is able to access the contract repository depending on each individual’s position and role with respect to the fulfillment of a particular contract. Essentially, the administrator will be able to decide who should be given “permission” to enter, view, and manipulate the contracts saved within the system, or perhaps just a certain segment of those contracts.
Once the decision has been made with respect to who needs access, the administrator can formally grant that access. The granting may be unfettered or highly restricted to one particular contract or appendix. The great thing about permissions-based assignments is that those granted permission to utilize the contract repository can only do so within the parameters delineated by the administrator. There is no reason to have an all or nothing approach when permission may be granted in a custom manner pursuant to the prospective user’s role and responsibilities.
Just because a person is initially granted full access to a contract repository does not mean that s/he will have that full capability indefinitely. With permissions management, the terms of a user’s access may be modified at any time. For example, in the event that an appendix is added to a contract and it pertains to valuable intellectual property, there may be external folks whose permissions will need to be restricted to prevent them from inadvertently viewing something they should not have been allowed to view. This fluidity allows quick action to be taken to ensure items remain secure at all times.
Of course, in addition to modifying one’s access to a particular contract or the entire contract folder in the event there is a change or addition, it is always possible to completely revoke a person’s account, thereby terminating his/her access to any and all contracts. This is particularly important when consultants provide short-term services or employees leave the company for a position elsewhere. The administrator must always keep a vigilant eye on the number of users and the items to which they have been granted access and ensure that such access is terminated as soon as it is necessary to prevent something from becoming misappropriated.
Permissions management affords a company with complete control over who may access its contract portfolio. This kind of centralized control ensures that items do not fall into the wrong hands, intentionally or otherwise. Ultimately, such control over access to data ensures far greater data security than a system in which documents may be shared or viewed without limit.