Regardless of the size of your organisation, you can never take security for granted. The risk of competitors getting hold of critical data or the danger of a cyber-attack always looms large on an organisations mind. Although not every company wants to consider that such incidents will take place, it makes good business sense to address every concern in protecting company data.
One of the most vital areas of a business is enterprise documents. Confidential data contained in enterprise documents are crucial to a company’s reputation and profitability. If the contents in these documents are mishandled, it could have a damaging effect on the organisation. In almost every organisation, many documents must be internally accessible but also restricted to specific individuals or groups of users.
Typically, enterprise documents are not meant for general distribution outside a specific department. Examples of such documents include:
• Accounting figures:
• Investor data:
• Contracts and proposals:
• Private information:
• Personal credentials of clients and consumers:
• Price lists:
• Technical data:
• Business models and plans:
In addition, competitors must be prevented from viewing any other kind of data confidential and sensitive to a company. One may assume that standard computer security systems can address the issue of enterprise document security. However, there are considerable gaps in protecting PDF documents and Word files. Operating systems provide specific controls that are based on access, which focuses on who can access the data. To add another level of security and further protect these documents, it is important to control what the viewer work can do with and to, those files.
For instance, normal computer security processes can permit who can read a document. However, it does not stop the user from screen grabbing or printing it. For highly confidential data, one can even add in advanced controls that can prevent unauthorised distribution and printing of the document. Also, the document can be controlled to stay only in permitted folders.
Challenges in safeguarding enterprise documents
The primary problem of protecting any enterprise document is the Internet. As the Internet is the primary mode of communication, especially for organisations to work and transfer data, the need to strike a balance, between convenience and security is critical.
With data leaks becoming commonplace, the issue of securing confidential information in PDF files and documents is paramount. Every form of digital communication can theoretically be distributed across the globe instantly. And while restricting document access and permitting only specific users to view these documents can give an organisation a measure of control, it is only part of a challenge that a business faces.
The danger of users copying the information or taking an image of the documents and distributing them goes beyond the control of the company. At the same time, a blanket ban on the use of the Internet can negatively affect the running of a business.
Possible security solutions to enterprise documents
Given these challenges, some enterprise document solutions like Locklizard have developed to address these issues. Organisations have created programmes that can prevent thumb drives from being installed on company hardware. Scanning techniques can detect documents that cannot go out unless encrypted for an intended user. In spite of these solutions, people tend to use other methods that can bypass the blocked routes.
Digital Rights Management
The most effective way of limiting the use, duplication, modification and distribution of enterprise documents to unintended recipients is through Digital Rights Management (DRM). Now what is drm? DRM (Digital Rights Management) is a set of ever-developing technologies and tools employed to address the accessibility of digital media files, including PDFs and documents.
Here are some examples of how DRM can secure enterprise documents. These include:
• Limiting the number of printed copies
• Restricting the number of IP addresses to access a document. This can ensure that sensitive data is viewed only at one place.
• Authorizing only permitted users to view data subject to the limitation.
• Preventing the distribution of restricted data
• Imposing time limitations on the use of data
• Suspending or revoking pdfs or documents in real time if needed
• Ensuring that documents cannot be modified or saved in unprotected formats
Thus, as can be seen, DRM offers much more than typical security services found in access control. With DRM, organisations can integrate these tools with their existing systems and safely secure their enterprise documents from unauthorized use and misuse.
Integrating DRM in organisations
One of the most significant benefits that DRM offers is in its customisation. Companies can use tailored DRM systems to fit their specific needs. Some measures can be taken to add a protective layer of security including:
• Completely automated document protection methods that can instantly protect PDF files and documents as soon as they are published
• A single sign-on process for multiple users
• Automating secured distribution to specific people
• Making files available offline
To utilize the benefits that DRM security has to offer, companies must consider distinct requirements suited to their business.