Growing Impact of Altered Data Requires Integrated Data Integrity
By Cary Fulbright
Recently Denis wrote about the state of document management systems, including the licensing pain point that is slowing wide adoption within the enterprise. Digital transformation and the move to digital document management has become crucial to organizations of all size and across all industries. One impetus for the shift to digital is the use of cloud technologies. It allows instant, always-on access to the most recent version of documents, reducing errors and enabling employees to be productive throughout their day.
Without efficient document workflows, simple tasks like creating, sharing and signing documents can become both challenging and costly. One report from IDC estimated that document challenges are costing organizations more than 20 percent of overall productivity. The firm put that cost at nearly $20,000 per employee every year.
This need to recoup productivity costs and increase business agility are driving the digitization of document management. Not only are employees within an organization often collaborating on documents and sharing via email, Slack or other channels, they are working with partners, customers and other third parties. It is important that all relevant parties can collaborate on a document, comment, verify changes, access particular versions, and view or change who has access rights. One prime example of this need is contract management.
At the same time, this data must be secured. Not only from data exfiltration via headline-grabbing breaches, but from tampering and manipulation. This is an emerging threat to businesses in all industries. One study predicts that, by 2020, 50 percent of organizations will have suffered damage caused by fraudulent data and software. A recent CNBC story points to the increasing importance of data integrity.
In November, we saw an altered video of a CNN reporter grab headlines as Americans began to understand that even video could be faked to spread misinformation. Perhaps even more frightening is the “deepfake” AI technology that can digitally manipulate videos to make a new “perceived reality.” As a result, the potential to undermine trust and spread misinformation increases like never before.
Last year, Japan’s third-largest steelmaker admitted falsifying product quality data which could have far reaching implications for projects using inferior copper, aluminium and steel products. This month, the Guardian, among other UK media outlets, reported that dozens of criminal cases are being overturned due to alleged widespread data tampering. A UK forensics lab had manipulated forensics data, affecting more than 10,500 criminal cases since 2014. The investigation has led to a total of 41 drug offense criminal cases overturned, and further 50 investigations dropped.
These cases underscore how an integrated data integrity solution is crucial for organizations. Companies today must safeguard the chain of custody for every digital asset, in order to detect and deter data tampering. For assets such as supply chain audit trails, legal documents, tax records and more, document management systems can ensure data integrity by digitally notarizing any type of data with a product like our Cryptowerk Seal. It enables users to seal that data at the time of creation, and then automatically verify the authenticity of data and digital assets such as a legal document, a scan of a shipment ID code or an e-commerce transaction.
As digital transformation continues to drive businesses forward, the number of workers with digital document management tools will continue to rise. As the number of users grows, organizations will need to better protect those documents from manipulation — or suffer what could be crippling consequences. Document management software vendors should be helping their customers to meet this need and protect against data tampering.
Cary Fulbright is Chief Marketing Officer of CryptoWerk in San Francisco