That deluge of paper that devours so much effort and cost from government workers? It also presents a security threat that’s increasingly untenable in an era when security concerns about personal data are on the top of everyone’s mind.
Paper documents have a nasty habit of being mislaid or lost, and you can’t be certain they haven’t landed in the wrong hands…until it’s too late, unfortunately. Sure, there are challenges with digital data security, of course, and states like California are aiming to give citizens more control over that data.
But it’s far easier to set safeguards in the digital realm versus a paper-driven one; there’s a reason why, at one point, 98% of data breaches in the Department of Veterans Affairs involved physical paper. Sensitive personal data can be safeguarded in digital systems using multiple defenses, from passwords to access limitations, data encryption, two-factor authentication, and higher-level defenses.
On a more basic level, there’s the fact that disasters like fire, hurricanes, and floods can wreak havoc with paper-based systems, destroying archives or crippling operations.
As “smart cities” become more common, with their high levels of connectivity, paper-based processes will become even more of a hindrance. Rather than try to bootstrap antiquated operations, governments need to abandon them and move into digitization of documents and assets, putting themselves in a better position to manage tomorrow’s data security demands, rather than being hamstrung trying to still manage yesterday’s challenges.