Confidence in internet data security has been somewhat rocked this year, due to high-profile data breaches and ransomware attacks. The world has experienced a number of setbacks and shutdowns, some examples include the theft of sensitive personal information from more than 140 million of Equifax’s American customers and the NHS WannaCry ransomware attack that brought many of the United Kingdom’s healthcare I.T. systems to a standstill.
While fears around cloud security have altered some views, these are in the minority, and the cloud is now more secure than ever; and safer than desktop in some cases. Business assurance, governance and compliance are critical priorities for the majority of stock listed and multinational companies, as the adoption of more resilient and innovative technology helps to promote business excellence, protect business reputation and boost profitability.
With a flexible, cloud-driven business model becoming more common, uncertainties are reducing and confidence is building in cloud – especially within the legal, banking and finance industries. This trend also offers optimism to international firms looking to improve their document production process and guarantee consistency in business systems – regardless of worldwide location or language.
Over the past decade, cloud computing has become more habitual within daily and corporate terminology, with many organisations striving towards powerful and globally standardised methods of implementing consistent business processes. Commonly termed as “digital transformation”, this fresh mindset is being embraced by multinational companies as a means of achieving overall business transformation through efficiency and improved customer journey.
Despite enhancements to document automation software (particularly with regards to integration opportunities) a significant number of international firms are still operating with dated, macro-driven, home-grown tools and inconsistent manual processes for document production, which often vary from country to country.
Document creation, management and compliance is no longer just about giving control and visibility to what happens within departmental silos, it is about global integration. Traditional compliance, document control policies and procedures fundamentally hold companies back by being categorised too strictly. This is an inefficient practice that fails to recognise the true corporate value in harnessing the cloud to proactively share mission-critical document templates across a global business.
Reputation and compliance are firmly hinged on the intricate, triangulated balance between efficiency, risk and reward, as any mistakes in data accuracy can have major financial implications. A truly cloud-based software strategy provides major companies in highly regulated industries with the opportunity to enhance collaboration, intelligence and mobility.
Businesses are starting to recognise the need to shift away from the common, error-prone practice of storing one master Microsoft Word document as a “template” on a shared drive and informing staff to only use that template going forward. Clearly, there is no way of being 100% certain that this document is being used consistently.
One infamous example of a sector that has felt the media spotlight in current years is that of banking, with many companies still feeling the aftershocks of the 2008 financial crash and recent payment protection insurance (PPI) phenomenon in the UK and Ireland. Global banking firms are under more pressure than ever to achieve and adhere to various industry standards in quality management, ISO 9001 and compliance with Financial Conduct Authority frameworks (such as Know Your Customer and Customer Due Diligence). This increased focus on compliance has meant that internet security and customer data accuracy have never held such a high position of importance within global banks as they currently do.
Companies must recognise the need to establish a flexible and secure foundation for delivering document automation that will set them apart from their competitors. Standardising enterprise-wide documentation arguably represents a huge opportunity for companies to build a strong competitive advantage and deliver more value to customers by ensuring documentation is truly accurate and up-to-date.
A major hurdle to the successful deployment of SaaS (Software as a Service) is a fear of the unknown – a pattern that is frequently witnessed within companies with a culture that is risk-averse. Most companies that adopt cloud computing do this to save costs and deliver new capabilities in an efficient manner. Leaders in cloud adoption are already seeing significant benefits and are ensuring successful digital transformations of business processes and operating models.
As far as cloud computing is concerned, one of the main doubts associated with this platform is that it is easily breached and there are some question marks over its security. However, responsible providers, such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, are strictly validated and compliant with ever-tightening regulations.
Cloud-based infrastructure is extremely robust and is not built on sand. It is resilient to attack, safeguards information privacy, helps keep customer data secure through encrypted communications and is subject to regular threat management and penetration testing.
Cloud distribution is considered to be more future-proof and flexible than desktop and on-premise software, as it provides the ability to update globally and instantly. A universal method of controlling data-related risk and compliance builds business improvement, value for shareholders and allows the front line of the business to focus on maximising profit.
Why should I consider cloud-based document automation?
There are a number of reasons why international organisations should consider rolling out a cloud-based document automation model (within privately hosted or public cloud services).
Similarly to some on-premise software tools, the cloud is a scalable platform that allows for more streamlined upgrades of packages to include additional business units and locations. The main benefit of cloud and SaaS technology over on-premise is that the upfront capital costs are greatly reduced and monthly operating costs are lower. Another main benefit is that maintenance and infrastructure are inclusive, rather than an annual cost and effort.
As chatbots and artificial intelligence-driven tools gather more gravitas within a number of industries, this mix of technologies represents an exciting period in the evolution of more efficient working practices. There are a number of reasons to be positive about the security of cloud-based software distribution, as this technology will continue to evolve and become safer as adoption levels rise.
Different software distribution methods may be more suitable to companies at any specific time, depending on their situation or size. However, the time of enterprise businesses simply “dipping their toes in the water” with cloud-based technology is well and truly over. SaaS has the power to become a real alternative to the traditional on-premise method of procuring and consuming enterprise-level software.
HotDocs provides some of the world’s largest and most reputable companies, commercial banks and law firms with software to automatically and accurately assemble frequently used documentation.
Our technology is proven to help reduce risk, boost compliance, improve the quality of mission-critical documentation, save time and increase customer satisfaction and is identical whether you deploy on premise, in the cloud or as a hybrid solution.
HotDocs contains robust, industry standard APIs that allow you to easily integrate and embed your dynamic, intelligent HotDocs interactive interviews and forms into your website or business application.
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