In today’s data-driven business world, protecting sensitive information from prying eyes is paramount.
Threats are rampant, and a lack of adequate cybersecurity can result in heavy fines, litigation, increased insurance costs and, of course, can erode an organization’s brand and reputation. Naturally, every new source of data needs to be come with comprehensive information security.
As organizations increasingly embrace contract lifecycle management (CLM) systems to store, manage, and get maximum value from their many contracts, it’s vital that these systems be highly secure. Contracts store essential and highly sensitive business information that needs to be safeguarded, including:
- Commercial information such as pricing, margins and discounts.
- Supplier data and relationship information that provide strategic advantage.
- Personnel information and client data that the organization has legal and regulatory requirements to protect.
The good news is that adopting a CLM system can help secure contract data by moving contracts away from emails and into a secure cloud environment. Leading cloud providers offer robust security services to help organizations identify and keep up with the fast-changing threat landscape.
When evaluating a CLM system, here features to look for.
Must have security features for CLM
A best-in-class CLM solution should support these essential security standards and features.
1. Encryption at rest — To protect contract data stored on a disk, solid-state drive, or backup system, your CLM should support encryption at rest. Icertis Contract Intelligence encrypts data at rest using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit encryption provided by underlying Azure services.
This ensures that even if physical storage devices fall into the wrong hands, the contract data still cannot be read.
2. Encryption in transit — If communications are intercepted while contract data is moving between services or to or from the cloud, encryption in transit is essential. This safeguards the data by encrypting it before transmission. Then, only after a connection is established and authenticated, is it decrypted.
Ensuring your CLM solution supports encryption in transit removes the need to trust third-party network providers and reduces the attack surface on which contract data is vulnerable.
3. ISO 27001 — Developed by the ISO and the IEC, the ISO 27001 standard helps organizations protect their information through an information system management system (ISMS) and a more holistic approach to security.
The ISO 27001 standard requires management to systematically and completely examine the organization’s information security risks, design and implement a suite of security controls to address those risks, and adopt a management process to ensure those controls are maintained.
IT and security professionals evaluating CLM solutions should determine whether the provider meets ISO 27001 certification requirements.
4. Single sign-on — Make sure your CLM solution supports single sign-on (SSO). Once authenticated, users can log into multiple applications and digital resources using a single set of credentials.
In addition to improving productivity and easing collaboration, SSO improves security. It may seem counterintuitive, but when users need to remember only one master password they are far less likely to write down or reuse passwords — both frequent methods for password-related hacks.
Combined with a CLM solution that has strict role-based access control, organizations can make sure that contract data is only seen by those both authorized and authenticated.
A Note on Generative AI
The sudden general availability of generative AI services like ChatGPT have presented a whole new information security challenge to IT departments.
It has become abundantly clear that consumer-grade generative AI tools do not provide adequate protections for sensitive corporation information. If the CLM systems your organization is considering offers generative AI services, ensure that they are built on services like Azure Open AI that offer enterprise-grade data security.
Contracts are at the heart of everything the business does and, as a result, contain a wealth of valuable and sensitive information. Protecting this information can’t be taken too lightly or left to mere chance.
IT and information security teams must make data security a top consideration when evaluating CLM or contract intelligence solutions.