Information is the lifeblood of any organization, which is why so many businesses invest significant time, money and resources around content management systems. Understanding how information moves throughout the environment has become increasingly complex with the continued adoption of mobile technologies, mobile workflows and cloud-based infrastructure.

Mobility is no longer simply a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon. Organizations are rapidly investing in cloud-based solutions to drive productivity and create more efficient business processes. Sales of mobile business and productivity apps continue to rise. Some estimates indicate business and professional users spent more than $28 billion on mobile apps in 2013. According to a recent study from Strategy Analytics, approximately 200 million workers are now using mobile business apps. Obviously, content management and document workflow have taken on a radically different meaning today compared with just a few short years ago.

"Approximately 200 million workers are now using mobile business apps."

Meanwhile, businesses continue to generate and consume massive amounts of content. Studies show that there is now more than one exabyte of data stored in the cloud, a number that is hard to imagine without some context. One exabyte is equal to a million terabytes or one billion gigabytes. It is suggested that one exabyte could hold a hundred thousand times all the printed material stored in the Library of Congress.

Clearly, content security is a chief concern for most businesses. Protecting your organization’s most valuable asset is growing more difficult with users demanding 24/7 access to information. Content is expected to move freely both inside and outside the corporate firewall. But there is an obvious need to balance the convenience that comes from the ability to share information easily with the need for securing data and protecting content integrity.

This has become a growing concern within the document imaging community. Because multi-function printers (MFPs) can easily connect to the cloud, they have become part of the problem, as well as the solution. The MFP is now an on-ramp and off-ramp to the Internet. Documents can now be scanned and stored directly to the cloud at the MFP, which means that secure solutions are required to control access to information. In many cases, documents sent to a mobile device or to the cloud are out of the control of the enterprise and in an unmanaged environment.

MORE: How Much Productivity Should We Be Willing to Sacrifice in Exchange for a Mobile Solution?

As a result, security measures must be extended. While document encryption can protect content while it is on the way to the recipient, that protection usually stops once the document has been opened. The threat is significant, but for many organizations, it remains unmeasured and not as visible as some might think. It is risky to assume that content is being used solely by the individuals for whom it was originally intended.

These trends will place continued emphasis on digital rights management (DRM) software—not only from end users but also from hardware vendors and solution providers. Vendors have begun to integrate DRM solutions at the MFP to control access to content and to provide more secure solutions for managing how information is accessed, stored and shared in the cloud. It is an issue that is reaching critical mass among IT professionals, and one that is critical to the successful implementation of mobile workflow and content management systems in the future.

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