What is a Content Lifecycle?
It used to feel like 90% of office jobs were dealing with paper. Think of something simple, like going to a doctor:
- When you arrive, you’re given a document on a clipboard to fill out, with questions about your health and family history
- Then, you sign a form saying you have insurance/will provide payment
- Lastly, there’s usually a form about the protection of your health data (which falls under the HIPAA regulations)
- After you fill out these forms, you might have 5-6 pages to hand to the receptionist
- They review the forms
- Then file them away
Of course you don’t see the next part, but did you know that health care providers are required to keep your health data (i.e., the forms you just filled out) for at least 6 years according to HIPAA regulations? That’s where filing and archiving paper files can get tricky given the sheer amount of paper used.
Now, you might not have quite the same process as a healthcare office, but nearly all offices have some type of system for dealing with paperwork like this—which is called a content lifecycle.
Of course, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was slowly moving toward digital paperwork instead of paper files, reports, and folders. Now, with the advent of COVID and the huge rise in remote work, businesses often no longer rely on paper.
That doesn’t mean they’re no longer using content lifecycles. In fact, content lifecycles are more vital than ever with the importance of data and rising regulations on data protection and privacy.
The 4 Parts of a Content Lifecycle
As we said above, most companies have a process for how they deal with paperwork (including digital “paper” work) However, there are four basic steps that all content lifecycles contain.
Employee receives files or collects/gathers incoming paper and scans/adds them into the system.
2. Add to Content Repository
Employee stores content in a specific, pre-designated spot (folders on a computer, a company drive, an online cloud storage solution).
This step might take the longest time, as the content is being collaborated on by team members; for example, a PR release is reviewed, edited, and then officially published.
4. Archival/Long-Term Storage
Once a document has been finalized and its purpose completed, that document or file is usually stored somewhere, either in a digital folder or archived in your system.
This process might seem fairly simple, but in fact, it becomes more complicated when you begin to think of data governance goals and regulatory requirements. For example, if the documents you’re dealing with are medically related, you might have to keep them for up to 6 years to comply with HIPAA. If you don’t keep these files, you could face steep fines, not to mention the loss of trust between your company and clients.
Additionally, you can’t claim you didn’t know about the regulation or that compliance was too complicated. If you’re working with any type of personal data that falls under data regulations (and almost all companies are!) then you must have some type of content lifecycle in place that takes into account data governance.
That’s where FileCloud comes into play.
How FileCloud Makes Content Lifecycles Easy
FileCloud is a Content Collaboration Platform (CCP) that makes content lifecycles easy. With unlimited storage for FileCloud Server, easy and secure share links, hyper-security, and the Compliance Center, FileCloud takes the stress out of compliance and data protection. In fact, one Senior Systems Engineer said,
This is a great file collaboration and sharing tool with robust security and auditing capabilities. The flexibility of the built in tools allows for it to easily be used across multiple industries with ease. The auditing tools make for easy compliance reports
Security and ease of use are built into FileCloud’s platform. Deploy FileCloud as an on-premises system (behind your firewalls and stored on your servers), entirely online (hosted on your behalf behind our firewalls and servers), or as a hybrid solution.
Additional benefits include:
- 256-bit AES encryption for data at rest
- TLS/SSL encryption for data in transit
- Smart Classification, using default and custom metadata sets
- Data Leak Prevention (DLP) that blocks or allows shares or downloads
- Retention policies that automate maintenance, retention, and destruction of data
- Digital Rights Management (you decide who has access to what files and folders, with options to revoke access at any time)
- Integrations with your favorite apps (like Microsoft Teams, Office 365, Google Docs, and more)
- A Compliance Center that connects complicated regulatory requirements with FileCloud’s security settings and policies
FileCloud has many tools put into place that help make content lifecycles easy to manage, with a simple, seven-step process.
Build Your Content Lifecycle in 7 Simple Steps
Step 1: Content is Added/Updated
Just as it sounds, this is where you add or update files and data in FileCloud.
Step 2: Smart Classification
FileCloud’s Content Classification Engine is a rule-driven content classification system that allows you to label files and metadata. When you upload files, they will be automatically classified according to their content, which helps ensure data is immediately protected upon entering FileCloud’s hyper-secure system.
You can use smart classification to find sensitive content, such as personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), and payment card information (PCI) quickly, both on premises and in the Cloud. Use federated search to find content across user home folders and team folders.
FileCloud’s futuristic, smart classification’s flexible plugin architecture enables customers to add additional classifiers based on cloud AI (Google, AWS and Azure) offerings, as well as custom in-house AI. Use purpose-built classifiers to classify enterprise content.
Step 3: Apply Metadata
Need to find a file that was created on a specific date? That’s easy once you apply metadata. You’d simply search for that creation date in your FileCloud system and quickly find the file you needed.
FileCloud has built-in metadata sets including image metadata, document lifecycle metadata, color-tagged metadata, and many more (along with totally customizable metadata sets) that you can use to provide extra info about files and folders.
This metadata can be especially helpful when trying to find files and folders or applying a broad rule across specific file types (for example, you could find all metadata created on a specific date, as in the example above).
Step 4: Apply Retention Rules
FileCloud’s retention rules help ensure your files stay/are moved where they need to be.
These rules often relate to legal requirements or data protection regulations. FileCloud has five types of rules to help make sure your files fall under the right umbrella. These include:
- Admin Hold: Outranks all other policies and prevents any update or delete of digital content for an indefinite period of time.
- Legal Hold: Freezes digital content to aid discovery or legal challenges. During a legal hold, file modifications are not allowed.
- Retention: Identifies digital content to be kept around for an unlimited amount of time before being deleted or released.
- Archival: Moves and stores old organizational content for the long term. No deletion is allowed until a specified time period is reached. After this time, content gets moved to a specific folder.
- Trash Retention: Can be configured for automatic and permanent deletion of all files in the Trash bins or to expire with no actions.
Need to make sure that a certain file with private health information is kept for the minimum 6 years? No problem, you’d simply apply the “retention” rule shown above.
Retention Policies in FileCloud are attached to files and folders and allow you to define the conditions under which a file/folder is changed/modified/moved. Admins can easily and quickly confirm data under their control won’t be altered, moved, or deleted.
Step 5: Apply DLP Rules
Our simple, flexible, rule-driven Smart DLP system securely prevents accidental data leaks from end users and can save enterprises from huge compliance fines.
Control user actions (download, share, login) based on IP range, user type, user group, email domain, folder path, document metadata and user access agents (web browsers, operating systems). Smart DLP evaluates rule expressions and variables in real time to “allow” or “deny” selected user actions, and logs rule violation for future auditing.
FileCloud’s Smart DLP allows admins to monitor malicious or neglectful activity, helping prevent data leaks and losses. DLP allows admins to closely control who can access/change what file and when. Admins can create their own DLP rules using IF/THEN statements and the rule expression builder, which, when applied, can prevent data leaks.
Step 6: Archival/Expiration
After a document has ended its usefulness, it can be archived automatically using the retention policies mentioned above. Additionally, since FileCloud is a file sharing tool as well, shares can have set expiration dates where the user is no longer able to access that data anymore. This helps prevent unauthorized user access.
Step 7: Monitor for Changes
Once the six steps above are complete, admins and users might forget about a certain file or document, but FileCloud won’t. We constantly monitor files for any changes, block unauthorized actions, and notify admins if any rules are broken or files are changed/removed without permission.
Just because paper is a thing of the past doesn’t mean content lifecycles are. With FileCloud, you can easily upload, store, and track your data, ensuring that you’re following compliance regulations while also being able to find and use that data at the drop of a hat. Try it out by getting a free trial today!
Article written by Megan Barnard, Digital Content Specialist with FileCloud