Paper Pushing

Caroline McDonald


February 1, 2014


More board members are reviewing—and misplacing—sensitive materials, according to a Thomson Reuters survey. Almost half of organizations are also dispensing information to directors the old-fashioned way by issuing thick, paper reports rather than electronic documents. The survey, “Managing the Increasingly Complex Demands of Global Board Governance,” found a 67% increase in the volume of materials prepared for board members compared to 2012. There was also a slight decrease in electronic distribution of board books, with close to half of boards still distributing paper books that averaged 179 pages in length. Directors seem to underestimate the security risks involved with various communications. Of organizations queried, 79% use personal email accounts to distribute documents, increasing the odds that the information could be lost or stolen. While one-third of companies provide secure devices such as tablets or laptops to board members, compared to a quarter in 2012, a third of board members surveyed don’t know if these devices are available, compared to only 2% last year. On the positive side, however, more than half of organizations surveyed now use a secure portal to share sensitive information with board members.