It’s rare to find an organization that hasn’t taken some form of cloud-based software for a test drive. Most individuals have done so without even realizing it. Dozens of applications, from human resource tools and CRM systems to motor dealership software and collaboration platforms, have made the leap out of the corporate data center and onto the cloud, and there’s no surprise why. Simplification.
Companies looking to shift their operations to the cloud are pretty universal in what they expect to achieve. First, there is the promise of lower operating costs thanks to the pay-as-you-go licensing model (SaaS) and no requirement for expensive server and network infrastructure. Besides this already winning justification there is a reduced administrative burden, allowing IT teams to shift focus away from non-value-enhancing activities to strategic initiatives designed to benefit the business through observable results. And with more users working outside of the confines of the corporate firewall (from home for example), cloud-based applications are more flexible in accommodating the needs of a highly mobile and dispersed workforce.
It would seem that Enterprise Content Management (ECM), often-times referred to as a Document Management System (DMS,or in our case, DocMan), could benefit significantly from any of these changes. Traditional, on-premise DMS can cost upwards of R10 million, can take up to 12 months to deploy, and when all is said and done, implementations have a tendency to become silos that are not easily accessible outside the organization’s walls. I’d say there is room for improvement in South Africa.
Yet despite the potential of a cloud migration to address these issues, companies have been reluctant to transition DMS systems over to the emerging paradigm. According to AIIM’s (The Association for Information and Image Management) State of the ECM Industry survey, only 4% of corporates were deploying SaaS or cloud-based DMS technology at the time. In a more recent informal poll, AIIM uncovered a bit more momentum around cloud-based Document Management, with 11% of respondents looking at a full cloud ECM model (mostly those new to ECM) and 14% considering a hybrid model, combining traditional on-premise DMS capabilities with new SaaS-based functionality.
But why are companies (especially South African companies) so slow to adopt cloud based Document Management systems? Surely with their obvious benefits and blatant savings the decision would be unanimous? Turns out most companies are still afraid of one thing alone: SECURITY.
Many of their concerns are valid, but a good number are due more to perception than reality. One thing is for certain, the recent Heartbleed Security Hole wouldn’t have increased the faith in online data privacy. DMS vendors are increasing efforts to to respond and combat user’s concerns, particularly in the area of security. SovTech, for example, has just released DocMan, it’s cloud based Document Management System that incorporates more encryption and access control than you would think possible (encryption at rest, encryption in transit, and granular access control right down to every user account on the system).
Before ruling out the cloud or blindly embracing it as the foundation for next-generation ECM, it pays to know what exactly SovTech’s DocMan offering is actually all about:
From the moment your PC or mobile device makes contact with the DocMan application, your session is encrypted with 128 bit SSL security, meaning that between you ansd the server your data will look like gibberish and be completely indecipherable. This prevents interceptions down the line, and ensures that your data is only worth anything to you, no one else.
Encryption At Rest / Transparent Data Encryption (TDE)
Encryption at rest, or Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) ensures that your data remains safe whilst it sits on our cloud servers. A master key is used by the web application (so that you don’t have to do anything) and this makes the data readable only once it’s required to be readable. In other words, when no one is making use of a document, that document is air-tight to any unauthorized access.
Secure Data Centres
Our Cloud servers are hosted across MTN’s datacenters, providing multiple layers of both physical and virtual security. Even if someone did manage to hack into or break into these data centres, our data is worthless as it all requires a specific set of keys to even be dealt with. Residing on MTN’s data centres also has it’s other advantages, such as their fantastic backbone infrastructure making the use of cloud-based applications (Such as DocMan) a fast option for anyone looking to move about the African Continent.
As with any kind of major IT deployment, there are no hard and fast rules governing cloud-based decisions. With DocMan, as with any enterprise computing platform, moving to the cloud is the ultimate lesson in looking before you leap: Take a step back, cut through the industry hype, and make a clear decision based on the unique requirements of your organization. As any industry veteran will tell you, that’s easier said than done.