Managing Digital Risk

Leveraging Content Management Systems to Mitigate Digital Risk

The convenience of the digital world is not freely given. It is hard to imagine a world where you can’t think of an item and purchase it online within a few minutes. As we bask in the glow of endless catalogs of online goods, the thought of online security and the risks of exposure to one’s digital self seem dubious. While there are teams of security experts and engineers at work behind the scenes of our online transactions, we cannot be so complacent with the storage and management of digital content crucial to our business.

Risks of Digital Content Storage
  • Resource Discovery
    • Breakdown of resource discovery data resulting in difficulty retrieving data.
  • Content Overlap
    • Content duplicates
      • How do we maintain content provenance with multiple copies of the same data?
    • Larger footprint – Higher risk of failure, more difficult recovery.
    • Higher cost
  • Copyright
    • Loss of copyright or other legal information resulting in uncertainty over rights and obligations.
  • Human Factors
    • Leadership and staff changes resulting in ambiguity of ownership and rights.
    • Accidental deletion of content.
  • Natural disaster
    • Power or data line loss
    • Damage to building or infrastructure

This abridged list doesn’t include some external threats like malicious cyber attacks or extraterrestrial invasion, but it should serve to get you thinking in the right direction. Failing to identify and address risks around digital content can have some calamitous outcomes…

  • Legal or regulatory recourse
  • Degradation of reputation with clients or consumers
  • Opportunity loss
  • Financial loss, costs of content reproduction

Circumventing disaster by carefully analyzing and addressing the risks of digital content has far-reaching rewards. The obvious reward is the convenience and value digital content adds to your organization. Accessing content quickly from any location, reducing physical space, and creating digital breadcrumbs for security and non-repudiation. With the advancement of big data analytics and AI, organizations are able to extract even more value from their digital content, deriving value long after the content has been created.

An integrated Content Management System (CMS) can alleviate some of the risk coupled to digital content. The process of choosing a CMS should include an analysis of digital content risk and the candidate system’s ability to manage that risk. Some vendors will be able to address most of the concerns out-of-the-box while others may require some form of customization.

How can a CMS help manage digital risk?

  • Robust indexing of content with clustered index servers means search is always ready.
    • Index servers can be hosted separately.
    • Automatic failover is generally an option.
  • Deduplication services
    • Find duplicates easily by tracking document fields or document content.
  • Automated copyright management
    • Notify content owners of impending expiration.
    • Kick-off workflows for license renewal or content convergence and removal.
  • Easy permissions management
    • Permission changes can be automated or implemented as a workflow to select new content owners when employees leave or change roles.
  • Retrieve deleted content for n days after deletion
    • Most CMSs allow deleted content to be retrieved after a configurable amount of time.
  • Hot system back-ups and failover built-in
    • Clustered environments can be used to ensure continuous and fast availability of server resources.
    • Most clustered CMSs can be geographically dispersed.
  • Auditing
    • Generally built-in and enabled by default.
    • Look for Analytics to see real value.

These are just a few features that can dampen the risks threatening on your digital treasure trove. It is important to be vigilant when choosing or managing a deployed CMS. There are several resources available to help you identify and address risk in your organization. Some of the information in this article was parsed from the Digital Preservation Coalition, a great place to learn more about preserving the integrity of your data.

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