This client portal software guide will help you understand 'must have' features and choose the best customer portal solution for your needs.
How Much Does a Secure Document Portal Cost a Regulated Business?
Choosing a secure document portal can be tough. Here are some options (and their costs) to consider when deciding between client portals.
Regulations are generally good. Let’s agree that regulations aim to keep industries fair, create equitable marketplaces, and promote ethical, safe practices in modern businesses. They sustain the public’s faith and trust in the idea that organisations are doing what’s best for their customers and shareholders alike.
“We noticed this thing is bad so you’ll need to prove you’re no longer doing it.” That’s the gist of most regulations and complying with everything from secure document collection legislation to adhering to your local building safety codes will be a regular expense on every regulated business’s bottom line.
Secure Document Collection for Demonstrable Compliance in Regulated Businesses
At the heart of demonstrable compliance is an auditable, secure data collection solution. Organisations need an efficient method to collect and store documents and data that prove the required due diligence for regulations and codes like:
- SOC 2 Type 2 – A voluntary audit report for financial services organisations that helps assess data privacy and security in an organisation
- KYC – Know Your Customer sets the rules for how to identify and locate a customer when opening an account with a company
- HIPAA – The regulations that apply to all healthcare organisations, service providers, or third parties that collect and store personally identifiable information (PII)
These regulations are just some of the major compliance frameworks that organisations deal with today. Almost every industry will have its own set of rules and regulations that will require the secure collection and storage of data from a variety of sources. To help streamline these intake processes, businesses are looking to document portal solutions that can integrate with their line of business (LOB) applications.
The amount of data generated and stored is increasing exponentially every day. The costs of keeping this data secure can quickly skyrocket as your business grows, so it’s important to solve this problem early and find a cost-effective solution to support all your organization’s workflows. Let’s run through the different types of secure document collection solutions available and unpack how much each will likely cost.
What Secure Data Storage Solutions Are Available?
When you start your search for a solution, you’ll need to think outside of the secure document portal box. Although many regulations call for the retention of physical documents, more organizations now prefer to store most of their data digitally and limit the secure paper document storage at their physical location to keep costs down. Making the distinction early can save you a lot of wasted effort and reduce the costs of your storage solution.
Secure Physical Document Storage Requirements
Some of the documents that a business needs to retain physical copies of might include:
- Articles of incorporation – This document is essential if you have to prove you own a business like when dealing with other financial institutions or government agencies
- Certifications – Financial and other highly regulated industries like food manufacturing need to provide physical proof of all certifications to remain compliant
- Password lists – Organisations that manage a master password list should keep it offline and locked up securely to prevent a breach from exposing account information
- Tax documents – These records should be available to demonstrate compliance with tax codes and regulations, especially during an audit
- Permits – Any operating permits should always be available on site where they apply or where the equipment is in use
This isn’t an extensive list, and you may have other industry-specific records that require secure physical document storage. You should compile a list of the regulations that apply to your business and identify any documents that need to be stored physically. Try to keep these to a minimum, as physical storage can be costly and have its own sets of challenges.
The cost of secure physical document storage depends on the volume of paper records you have to keep. Prices range between $75 and $175 as a minimum premium. Once you exceed the maximum volume, the costs can typically increase along with each cubic foot of storage you require.
Secure Document Portals in the Cloud
Digitalization opened up new realms of possibility for the storage, filing, and retrieval of business documents. Network drives solved many of the challenges with physical cabinets, and today, you can increase your capacity with cloud-based storage solutions. Some of the most popular cloud storage solutions include Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft’s OneDrive.
While these solutions are popular with individuals, implementing them for businesses is a little trickier. The main challenge is ensuring the cloud storage solution is secure enough to comply with the regulations that apply to your industry. Even if the choice of solution does come with encryption, you’ll need to solve some procedural concerns to remain compliant.
Some of these concerns include:
- Managing the credentials of users and applying the appropriate classifications to documents using only a folder structure
- Limiting the data sprawl that inevitably results from giving your business users access to cloud storage solutions
- Tracking changes to documents and generating the required audit trails with limited metadata associated with each type of file
Although the cost of cloud storage makes it an attractive option, you still need to follow the right procedures to maintain the required security. If you don’t have automated workflows driving the document collection and management process, demonstrating compliance becomes a major concern using only a cloud storage solution.
Costs range from as little as $1.99 per month (for OneDrive and Google Drive) to $11.99 (for Dropbox). All of the top cloud storage solutions provide encryption but to integrate a workflow with the system, you may need to buy additional software or add-ons. You’ll also need technical resources to help you implement the solution and maintain the technology stack that comes with using a cloud storage solution.
Some of the procedural controls you’ll need to implement are:
- Using strong passwords (that expire) and two-factor authentication (2FA) for all access requests
- Conducting regular or automated audits on the share permissions for each document or folder
- Implementing a shredder solution for sensitive files as cloud storage solutions may keep them in a recycle bin where these documents are still available after deletion
- Regularly review the connected apps and accounts on your cloud storage for security vulnerabilities or known exploits
Using cloud drives for your secure document storage requirements comes with several challenges, not least of which is the cost versus control dilemma. Other options are available like building an internal data collection platform, or if you want a cost-effective solution, consider a magic potion like FileInvite to manage and secure your business documents.
Integrating a Secure Document Collection Portal
As an independent, safe, and secure document collection portal, FileInvite lets you move your document collection out of emails and shared folders. You can create a single point of control for all your regulated documents and integrate the platform with your existing LOB apps including the cloud storage solutions that you’re already using.
FileInvite takes the hassle out of manually managing your documents across multiple locations and makes demonstrable compliance easier with a dedicated client portal. You can easily add your own branding to the portal and configure your document intake and storage workflows according to your business processes.
To ensure you remain compliant, FileInvite keeps a complete history of all your client interactions, messages, changes to documents, and access permissions. If you need to prepare for a SOC 2 Type 2 audit, you can grant audit access to the team and eliminate the need for digging through emails and shared drives to demonstrate compliance. FileInvite comes packed with features including:
- Encryption of all data during transit and at rest to keep all your regulated documents secure at all times
- Digital signatures for agreements, contracts, and applications to streamline your client onboarding process
- A single point of control to manage permissions, users, and client invites from a dashboard on your client portals
- Integration of your back-office applications with FileInvite using our API or Zapier to automate the flow of form data to your preferred destinations
If you need a secure document collection solution that’s easy to use and affordable to implement, you shouldn’t waste your time trying to reinvent the wheel. As compliance requirements for regulated businesses continue to increase, having a scalable and secure document management portal available can save you a lot of wasted effort from day one.
Streamline Compliance Tasks with FileInvite
With Live Forms, eSignatures, automated syncing to your cloud storage solution, and team collaboration features, you can optimise your workflow to ensure you remain compliant at all times. FileInvite allows you to digitise your paper forms and deploy an integrated document collection and management solution for improved business productivity. Instead of spending hours every day weeding through emails or network drives to find the right document or record, your teams can work efficiently and ensure you never breach a regulatory requirement that can put your business at risk.