In case you haven’t used the technology yourself, but only heard about it, a board portal is similar to an app, designed for the purpose of facilitating communication between the people who sit on boards of directors. They’re used to distribute board books, allow directors to review materials anywhere, online or offline, prepare for meetings and discuss agenda items between meetings, vote remotely, and organize meeting schedules and invitations. They’re also useful tools for giving highly-engaged directors more avenues to exert their energies and can also make it easier for administrators to hold directors accountable if the portal allows admin staff to see who has accessed documents and whether they have completed training resources.
According to market research firm Gartner, the use of board portals has become a common technology used by directors around the world. Early adopters of the technology were driven by the convenience of migrating away from paper board books, which were not only costly to print and deliver to directors, but were also cumbersome. When documents had to be replaced, directors didn’t always get them on time, either, leading to uneven distribution back when paper dominated. Today, most organizations have left paper behind for one technology oranother, but the main motivation for organizations adopting board portals has become security, although efficiency and convenience are still important factors.
In order to resolve the inconvenience of paper binders, many organizations began distributing documents either by email or through services like Dropbox and Google Drive. While more convenient than paper, they fall short of purpose-built board portals on two counts: they are not designed to help directors work and communicate between meetings (especially without Wi-Fi when they travel), and they do not offer the kind of security that confidential board documents require.
If you want to learn about board portals and whether or not they can make your board meetings more efficient, take a look at a board portal buying guide and compare your options. The UI design alone of board portals surpasses what file sharing services can offer, as they’re made to make it easy for directors to access both current and past documents and may offer design features that make it easy to prepare for documents. One feature offered by the board portal made by Aprio that makes working in the platform easier is an annotation tool that enables directors to mark-up digital documents on their tablet or desktop, all without having to download or print the document.
Only last year, Dropbox announced that a security breach from 2012 had affected more than 68 million users and their security credentials had been found on the dark web, where hackers often sell stolen security data. Emailing documents is also risky, as they are easily intercepted and can be read by anyone who does, including attachments. When administrators share documents on the Aprio Boardroom portal, for example, directors receive an email notification, but can only access the documents through the portal, requiring an additional password. This protects documents from being intercepted when they’re opened in emails over unsecured Wi-Fi connections, for example. By providing better security, board portals can also help organizations fulfill legislation regulating data privacy. For both convenience and security, if your organization isn’t using a board portal yet, now is the time to start looking for one.
Tags: Mainstream Technologies