How much importance do you place on PDF and document security in your organisation?
There are some references across industries that point out how critical documents must be protected.
And while it is essential to preserve these documents, it should be easy to share them with people who need to view them.
Data security breaches can have disastrous consequences for organisations. Confidential data, if leaked outside the company, can spill secrets to its rivals and lead to grievous damage to its reputation.
Additionally, there are greater legal ramifications of data breaches that organisations must keep in mind when protecting their intellectual property.
PDF and document security
Document security solutions that address PDF and document files are designed to safeguard the access to the data.
Also, these solutions discourage improper usage of PDF and other documents.
Some security measures that are employed by organisations to protect their PDF and documents include:
- Protecting the document through passwords
- Restricting the copying, printing and forwarding of PDFs and documents through digital rights management (DRM)
- Document expiry, self-destruct and restricting access
- Watermarking PDFs and document files
- Tracking and tracing users who have viewed protected documents
One of the most straightforward measures of protecting a PDF or document is with passwords.
Although a password is not a fool-proof security method, it adds in an additional step in the way of any intruder wanting to access the document.
Sometimes, people may unintentionally come across confidential documents by accident, or at other times may deliberately try to obtain information not permitted for their usage.
In situations where shared folders or shared computers in an office environment are common, files may go places where unauthorized users may gain access to it.
In such cases, it is vital to protect the PDF or the document filed with the password to deter improper access to the file.
This level of security can be made more useful when combined with additional security measures.
Digital Rights Management (DRM)
In DRM, the owner of the PDF document can control what the reader can do with the file.
This data security solution is usually used for PDFs that contain confidential data or intellectual property that the document owner intends to keep it concealed.
For instance, if you have created an educational module or written an e-book, you may want to protect your intellectual property to ensure that it is not copied and profited by someone else.
Similarly, if you have sensitive information in PDF documents that need to be shared for due diligence, you will want to make sure that the content does not reach unintended users.
DRM is a highly effective barrier that can prevent documents from being spread easily.
Additionally, DRM can also prevent material from being printed so that hardcopies did not get distributed without the owner’s permission.
The solution can also prevent the user from copying and pasting the contents in the PDF file or the document into a new document or an email.
Self-destruct and document expiry
There are numerous reasons why the owner of a PDF document file would like to annul access to the document or restrain access to the contents so that it is not permanently available.
Through the feature of document expiry, documents can be revoked and self-destructed.
A number of organisations opt for these access restrictions as a part of their document management system.
This is because once a document with confidential data is sent out, control on how it could be misused can sometimes get lost.
This feature significantly enhances PDF and document security when used in conjunction with additional security features.
Watermarking documents and PDF files
Watermarking documents are one of the earliest document security measures, seen as early as the 13th century.
This data security measure is conventionally used to claim ownership or act as a trademarking feature for documents.
However, in the digital world, watermarking has additional applications.
For instance, the creator of a document may want to discourage the contents of the document from being leaked and so would include some means of tractability if those documents are disseminated further than intended.
Watermarking not only helps to discourage unauthorized distribution of content, but can also establish the ownership of the data.
It is often seen that when a document is shared online, control over its spread and usage is generally lost.
This means any individual could be viewing the contents in the PDF document or file and the owner would not be able to know when and where this was happening.
With the help of document tracking, you will know in real time who is viewing the data, for how long, how many times and when it was viewed and printed.
These security features ensure complete control over PDF documents and files.