Digital board portals: increased security, streamlined processes

Security and confidentiality are key in governance. How board directors communicate and store this sensitive information has a direct impact on the organisation’s credibility and trustworthiness.

A 2017 Chartered Secretaries Institute of Singapore (CSIS) and Diligent survey found that 83% of respondents ranked security as an important benefit when adopting governance software or a board portal. However, half the respondents said 100% of their board receives printed paper materials at some point.

Traditional methods of printing or emailing board papers are well known for their security risks. They leave the organisation vulnerable to data breaches, leaks, litigation, regulatory fines, sanctions, and financial. This can lead to loss of trust and reputational damage.

 

Digital board portals eliminate the risk of unsecure communication

Every time an electronic document is emailed, downloaded outside a secured governance software platform or is backed up on a personal drive, a digital copy is created. These copies can be cached and stored across multiple devices and systems, each of which is subject to cyber risk. As well as being costly to produce, printing brings with it the risk of papers being misplaced or not stored or disposed of securely.

 

Despite known security risks, over 90% of board members use unsecured personal email to communicate about board business at least some of the time (Diligent/CSIS survey, 2017)

 

A cloud-based board portal eliminates these communication risks by allowing directors access to securely stored board documents.

 

A digital board portal is more flexible

A board portal is essentially paperless board meeting software. Unlike email, a board portal lets directors easily and securely collaborate and communicate with each other and allows for paperless board meetings. Members receive real-time updates which they can access any time or anywhere there is an internet connection. The design of the portal itself encourages secure communication as it’s easy and timely. This ultimately leads to improved governance.

 

Board portals are cheaper and more efficient

A CSIS/Diligent survey found that 75% of executives surveyed in the Singapore region said that a ‘simpler distribution process’ is ‘very important.’ Preparing for board meetings using paperless board meeting software, avoids the costly and time-consuming need to print and distribute papers, or reprint papers and advise updates if there are last-minute changes.

 

Not all board portals were created equal

Not all board portals and paperless board meeting software focuses on security to the same extent. When choosing a portal or governance software always check the vendor’s security record. Have criminals succeeded in breaching the portal? If so, how did the portal vendor respond to the situation? It’s also critical to determine what encryption is used (if any) and how robust the technology is.

An organisation’s cyber defences are only as strong as their weakest link. With the global increase in cybercrime organisations can no longer be complacent about how they communicate sensitive board issues.

Ever wondered what happens during a cybersecurity attack? Watch a compelling discussion which offers practical insights across the private and public sectors.

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