Just a few years ago, creating a culture of security and ensuring it is part of our everyday workflow, probably wasn’t something you thought too much about. Today it is almost impossible to escape (what many say are) the limitations that security can bring- but that doesn’t have to be the case.

As a manager of a large real estate brokerage for six years in St. John’s, Newfoundland, security was always something we were very mindful of, but the security of our data three years ago wasn’t as much of a priority as the security of our papers.

As a successful real estate office, we practiced client confidentiality daily and ensured all Fintrac form guidelines and paperwork measures were taken on each sale. At this time, if someone were to talk to me about working in an office environment with a “culture of security”, I wouldn’t have known exactly what that meant- other than email, a server with a backup offsite and secure paper filing system.

Fast forward to 2016. I now know that it is becoming more apparent and critical for us all to educate ourselves on today’s risks of security and how we can make it part of our everyday work flow. Four ways to do that are:

Common Understanding.  

Even the most basic of management books will agree that the more employees you have who: understand the business, how it remains profitable and how their role contributes to the overall success, the more they understand how they can act to protect and grow the business. Driving that understanding usually results in two actions:

  • employees are more engaged with the business and require less frequent, less direct management
  • employees start participating more actively, more pervasively in the protection of the business.

Talking about the flow and integrity of the office should all be included in these conversations at staff meetings with your employees.  

People, Policies and Technology.  

It is important to remind your employees of how technology allows them to perform their roles in pursuit of a profitable business and how the policies and technology and yes… locks on the door, help make the business a sustainable one. If passwords are created and used by more than one employee, having a log of these passwords are key to protecting your business and your business’s data. There are some great free and affordable business tools available, such as LastPass that can help you get your business set up. LastPass solves the password problem for teams, providing centralized, cost-effective password management and cloud. Talk to your team about circumventing controls and make it an open and honest discussion– if they can tell you why they bypass or disable controls, the controls need to be changed just as much as, or maybe even more than, the employee’s behavior.

Meeting Change with Change.

How long does your business go with no change in business?  Just keep on keepin’ on? It doesn’t happen very much, anywhere. New customers signed, new services launched, new locations opened, old products retired, old offices closed.  Are your security processes as flexible as the rest of your business?  Is there any value in keeping the proverbial safe under lock and key when it’s empty?  Are you leaving more valuable data assets out in the open? Sometimes breaking what already works is tough, but it is for the better. For example, using paper within the office and hard files is something most businesses are used to.

Have you reviewed the security measures of this practice and is your business data being safely stored properly? Looking at new data storage laws and reviewing the option of storing your business’s data in the cloud can be a safer alternative than keeping sensitive files in an office. Digital documents are encrypted and protected by numerous layers of security and access can be restricted to only a few individuals. Docmaster is leading-edge digital solution that is hosted in Canada that allows businesses to break their addiction to paper and securely store their data on a cloud-based platform online. It is affordable so that you can have all employees added onto the system and convenient so you can access your business from anywhere.

In order to keep employees on track and engaged, you need to help them understand the logic behind this transition. Simply informing them you’ve decided to go paperless is unlikely to be sufficient.

Provide your team with the “why” behind the move. This will bring everyone up to speed and increase your chances of long-term success.


Let’s say your business is located in St. John’s, NL and you’re meeting with a top client in Vancouver. On Friday afternoon, you’re discussing a project with the client and need to refer to a specific file that’s back at the office.

You call the office and suddenly remember that it’s 7 p.m. on the East Coast. You’re out of luck! You’ll have to wait until Monday morning to get the file, or ask one of your employees to head in on Saturday morning to help you out. Very inconvenient on both fronts.

Now, if your office was paperless, all you’d have to do is log into your cloud-based data management account, such as Docmaster, search for the file by custom tags that you create and show the client the document almost instantaneously. The convenience of being a paperless operation can save a lot of trouble with regard to logistics and geography when it comes to accessing your documents quickly and securely. Having everyone on board to create a culture of security means convenience and peace of mind knowing that you are running an efficient office for 2016 and beyond.

Everyone needs to buy-in.

Your employees, colleagues and leadership matter.  They’re going to have access to the data and systems because it’s how they do their job.  It’s up to you, whether system administrator or the VP of IT, to make them an integral part of the security controls.  Educate and include them in your planning, don’t treat them (solely) as the threat.  Users are becoming ever-weaker links in the security chain and I believe it’s just because we haven’t done enough to keep them engaged.  You patch your systems and implement and maintain your security rules to keep pace with emerging threats and that’s considered a requirement. If you can ‘patch’ your employees with the same level of diligence and enthusiasm, your enterprise will flourish as a result.


Docmaster is a secure, cloud-based document management and storage for businesses in Canada. Docmaster makes working, storing and managing your business in the cloud safe, secure and easy. Your privacy guaranteed, so you can focus on what matters most – serving the needs of your clients. Interested to learn more? Email to find a solution for your document management.

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