Digital board portals: selecting the right vendor

When your organisation’s reputation is at stake, choosing the right board portal vendor can be the difference between being under cyberattack or keeping your sensitive information safe. While efficiency and cost savings are always important considerations, focusing on the bottom line at the expense of security may not be the wisest approach.

A 2017 Chartered Secretaries Institute of Singapore (CSIS) and Diligent survey found that 83% of respondents ranked security as an important benefit when adopting a cloud-based board portal or governance software.

 

Security must be a priority

Not all board portals or governance software focuses on security to the same extent. Some board portal solutions lack stringent security features, thereby putting your board’s sensitive information at risk. While the cost of the solution is a valid evaluation criterion, it’s also important to place value on security, ease of use and the overall robustness of the technology.

When choosing a board portal or governance software, it’s vital to check whether criminals have succeeded in breaching the portal. If so, how did the portal vendor respond to the situation? You will also need to determine what encryption is used (if any) and how robust the technology is.

 

Distribution must be easy and efficient

For distribution to work effectively, the portal or governance software must be intuitive and easy to use. To be efficient it must have a centralised repository for current and archived information. It also needs to support all types of mobile devices, as well as operating systems and the email and messaging feature must be secure. Check what collaboration tools the portal provides and confirm that the email and messaging tools are secure.

 

Free or budget board portals and governance software may lack important features

Free and so-called ‘budget’ board portal and paperless board meeting solutions may come with a surprise upgrade price tag. They may also lack features and functionality, and offer no support or training. It’s important to check whether the fee includes complimentary training and support or whether this comes at an additional fee. Additional features that come at an extra cost could make the deal not as good as it may have first appeared.

 

A vendor’s reputation provides valuable insight

In the CSIS/Diligent survey, 75% of respondents said the reputation of the board portal or governance software vendor was ‘important’ and 25% said a solution’s reputation is ‘very important.’ When choosing a vendor check their track record. Find out what other customers they have worked with and whether they have won any awards. If they are a vendor new to the market, has their platform been truly tested?

Cyber risk is a global concern that affects everyone in the organisation. As the number of attempted malicious attacks escalate, the methods used by malicious actors are also rapidly evolving. If organisations are to protect their sensitive information and their reputations, a secure a paperless board meeting software platform where board members can easily access digital board papers and communicate in real time is critical.

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