As a project manager, it is your responsibility to make sure that all of the team members assigned to the project are doing their part. As you know, the project that you have been assigned to manage is important to your company. If you fail to gather all the right data, assign tasks to different team members, and estimate a fair completion date, there is a chance that you will fail in the eyes of your supervisors. To ensure that a complicated project is well-organized, you must take time break the whole project into smaller sub-projects that are more manageable and easy to document. Without the proper project documentation, it is hard for all of the team members to assess what life cycle of the project you are in and which objectives have already been fulfilled. But even when you have all of the right documentation, you have to find a way to ensure that the project documentation is safe and secure. If you are not sure how to keep this valuable and confidential information secure, here are 4 tips you should consider:
4 Methods to Keep your Project Documentation Secure
1. Use a Document Management System
One of the most effective ways to keep any confidential internal project documentation secure if to use a comprehensive document management system. A document management system is a computer program that will help catalog all of the documentation pertaining to your project. The documentation that is stored in the management system is organized, cataloged, secure, and easy to sift through for all project team members who are granted access. The documents within the management system can also be updated real-time so that the next person accessing the files will have up-to-date information.
With a document management system, you can not only control who can access the files, you can also control who can make changes to any of the documentation that is on file. Just like with all commercial software programs, there are a variety of different features you should look for when investing in one of these systems. Here are some of the many features to look for:
- Cataloging and organizing all of the documents for one project
- Protocols can be set for review and quality assurance
- Responsibilities and access can be set by the manager
- Documents can be checked out by authorized team members
- Checking in or updating of documents in the system
- Ability to identify changes and the reason for changes
2. Cloud-based Storage Systems
If document management systems are too expensive for your company, you may want to consider a more cost-effective option to keep project documentation secure. One of the most affordable methods to enhance the security of your project documentation is to use cloud-based storage systems that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. One of the drawbacks of using a document management system is that the documentation that is stored within the system can only be accessed when the user is at a computer where the system has been loaded. If you are managing your project on-the-go, you are going to want secure access to documentation wherever you are. Cloud-based systems can do this for you.
When you choose cloud-based storage, you should make sure to choose services that are all about being secure. If you choose a secure service that is managed by a vendor that you can trust, you can keep all of your documentation and project data on lock down without compromising the convenience that comes along with cloud-based storage. You can give specific team members access to the files in these systems and remove individuals from the access list if someone is removed from the team. You also have the ability to backup all of the files that are stored in the cloud in more than one location so that you never have to worry about all of your progress being deleted just because one of your devices malfunctions.
3. Peer-to-Peer File Sharing and Security
In today’s global business environment, professionals who are assigned to a project might never see each other in person. It is very common fro specialists from within the organization and outside of the organization to assign team members to projects who are located in different cities, states, and even countries. Because of this, the project manager needs to find a way to share project documentation while still ensuring that the documentation is secure while it is being shared. After all, sharing documentation with a team member who is in another country is not quite the same as sharing a project report with someone who sits right next to you in the office.
Peer-to-Peer file sharing has become a very effective way to share documents, have teleconferences, and update documentation as a team. Because of the sensitive nature of the documents that must be shared on P2P networks, it is very important that the IT department takes time to make sure the network is secure with firewalls and intrusion protection. With the right safeguards, P2P networks are a great way to keep information secure while still ensuring that it can shared real-time anywhere in the world.
4. Offsite Document Storage
There will be cases when you will have physical data that you need to keep. If you have original data that you must keep, you may want to consider using an offsite document storage service to ensure that the physical papers are kept in a safe and secure facility. When you do this, you will always have access to the documents and you can also view images of the documents when necessary.
As you can see, there are a number of different types of technologies you can use as a project manager to keep documentation both secure and accessible. When you are choosing a system, you must consider your budget and what you might be compromising. Choose the most appropriate medium and keep all of the reports, research data, and updates secure so that your project is a success.