When companies use document control software, is data integrity protected?

Consider the following case study: “A pharmaceutical company touts the safety of its new wonder drug.

But when the FDA inspects the offshore production facility, work is halted immediately; important quality control data is missing. Unfortunately, this real-life example of compromised data integrity isn’t uncommon. Problems with the accuracy of data and consistency of data exist across all industries and can cause everything from minor hassles to significant business problems.” – Talend

What is data integrity, and why is it important?

Data integrity is the accuracy, completeness, and consistency of data. Additionally, it refers to the safety of data in regard to regulatory compliance and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If companies are noncompliant with regulatory organizations and GDPR, companies can be sued, liable for penalties, or involuntarily shut down. It is in the best interest of companies to protect data integrity, especially while using document control software.

What differentiates data integrity from data security and data quality?

Although data integrity, data quality, and data security are related, these concepts are distinctively different from one another. Data integrity is a result of data security, but data integrity refers to the accuracy and validity of data rather than the protection of data. Data security is one measure that can be used to protect data integrity. Furthermore, data integrity is not data quality. Like data security, data quality is a part of data integrity. Data integrity encompasses every aspect of data quality and goes further by implementing rules and processes that govern how data is entered, stored, and transferred.

What factors affect data integrity, and how is it protected?

Data undergoes a variety of changes and processes to transform from raw data to formats that are conducive to identifying relationships and making informed decisions. Thus, there are several touchpoints where data integrity can be lost. Human error, spyware or malware, and hardware or server crashes are the most common factors that affect data integrity. Security measures, including access control, validation, error detection, internal audits, data encryption, data backup, and data duplication, can protect data integrity.

Best practices for data integrity

A process for data integrity needs to be established, set into motion, and audited for compliance. The process should be comprehensive to meet regulations, support data throughout its lifetime, and ensure that standards can be met. A well-defined process with continuous improvement at its heart will set companies up for success. Here are 10 steps for establishing data integrity:

  1. Train users
  2. Manage vendors
  3. Limit system access
  4. Conduct internal audits
  5. Test the software lifecycle
  6. Validate computer systems
  7. Monitor backup and recovery
  8. Follow regulation compliance
  9. Leverage error detection software
  10. Create, store, and maintain an audit trail

The golden rule is to make data integrity a priority. Verifying data integrity can be complicated, but it is worth the effort. Having inaccurate data can have massive consequences for large and small businesses alike. In short, make sure that data is an asset and not a liability.

What is document control?

Document control is the practice of managing documents in a way that ensures reliability and trust in the documents that people are accessing and using. Controlling the processes and practices for the creation, revision, distribution, and accessibility of documents is the foundation of document control. Document control is essential for all companies, but requirements can vary widely. Companies in highly regulated industries, such as pharmaceuticals or medical manufacturing, will have specialized needs for document control. However, no matter the industry, quickly storing and accessing files, controlling and automating processes, and ensuring security are universal needs.

What is document control software?

Document control software automates the security, organization, approval, and completion of tasks regarding company documents. It drives document management from creation and revision to distribution and accessibility. While document control software is usually used in regulated industries, all companies can benefit from document control software. It is essential for managing regulated content where quality and compliance are required. With document control software, companies can automate record management, control access, and track activity for submissions and audits. Overall, the software ensures efficiency, quality, reliability, and standardization.

Best practices for document control software

Even the best tools and systems need wholehearted implementation of processes to achieve their purpose. Establish ownership, create a document retention policy, involve the users, and make the document control software secure.

When procuring document control software, ensure that the software includes:

  • Integration with other programs
  • An easy-to-understand file structure
  • Advanced filters to quickly locate files
  • Security checkpoints for sensitive documents
  • Scanning capabilities for hard-copy documents
  • Version control and the ability to track changes
  • Mobile readiness and accessibility of documents
  • Security checkpoints for cloud connectivity and storage

What does the future look like?

In the world of cloud-based data, large amounts of information are stored and processed via document control software. Companies understand the importance of preserving the quality, integrity, and safety of confidential data. With great power comes great responsibility. Document control software companies have taken on this responsibility and strive to keep data secure.

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