Protect your sensitive data with proposal software
13. Feb 2020 |
3 min read
Working with individual files in your bids and proposals can be a potentially fraught exercise in the security and integrity of your business-critical data. This post addresses how you can both minimize the risks and maximize your productivity with dedicated co-authoring proposal software that uses a database.
Business collaboration with files
Working with processes involving file-based systems like Word, collaboration with email or file sharing apps can be exploited with bad actors ranging from the unwitting employee in your organization, to competitors in your market, to the cunning criminal.
Sending an attached file to the wrong address, perhaps simply by a spelling mistake, or sharing with an unauthorized recipient innocently or otherwise, can have catastrophic consequences. Once the file has left the security of your ecosystem, it is very difficult to retrieve or limit the exposure of your sensitive information to unknown parties.
Even with the best of intentions, for expediency files end up being saved on unsecured devices, especially mobile appliances, which do not meet required IT security standards of your infrastructure.
Consider also there can be many varying versions of the same file, perhaps saved in various locations. How do you know who has accessed the latest, or one specific, version and where each one is located?
Practices to prevent data leaks with your proposals
To take a first firm grasp on your valuable data, a standardized workflow both streamlines and structures the document collaboration process. How might you achieve this? Assign tasks to each team member, send them reminders and save changes, comments and edits.
The documents containing your precious data cannot progress without going through the integrated controls and review protocols of each step in the workflow.
Consequently, this data will therefore be published or eventually be sent outside your organization without explicit approval.
How a database solution for document co-authoring supports securing your sensitive data
Now that you are aware of, and can implement, the kind of controls inherent in this workflow, what tools help you reach these goals?
A secure database for your document co-authoring is a single source repository to manage all your content, housing all the objects that your documents need. Your content is accessible not only to all those who will work on the various stages of document creation but also with all the controls necessary for your workflow.
Access to the database is only available to the particular proposal software, and those users who have been authorized by you to access your content using that software.
The database paradigm itself empowers you to lock any sections that are actively being edited to a single user, while the rest of the document remains open for editing by other authorized users.
It also provides a revision history and audit trail of every piece of your content, allowing you to compare an existing version against any previous version, or undo any edit.
Use, reuse and update the same content in different documents employing Composite Content Management, and link everything together under administrative control leveraging Master Data Management.
While being secure, the database solution is also performant. By indexing based on any attribute or data property, you can rapidly store and retrieve related data to optimize the throughput of your workflow that a file-based system cannot match.
Finally, a database solution as described here enables the separation of content and presentation. This allows you to focus on the quality of your content, while leveraging automatic formatting and layout templates means your published data will be as impressive as it is valuable!
David Cox is Product Specialist at Xait. He holds a Master of Science in Information Technology from the University of Liverpool (which, naturally, is home to the greatest football team). For Xait, he brings experience from User Experience roles in software development within Ecommerce and Oil & Gas sectors in both England and Norway. When not training for marathons or competing in sim racing, David's passion is travelling.
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