Sharing Documents Securely: What You Need to Know

It is a no-brainer that you need to ensure that all the documents in your organization are shared securely so that only those who are authorized to access them get to do so. But, do you have control over how any of the authorized users use the documents? Is there any possibility that those users will distribute or share the documents with unauthorized users, either intentionally or unintentionally?

To avoid such security threats for your critical information documents, you must adopt certain best practices for sharing documents securely within your enterprise or perhaps even outside the company’s network. And, you may believe that document encryption software will help you prevent the sharing of confidential documents as only those who have the decryption key can access the same. But, the authorized people can easily share the decryption key with others and thus make your documents accessible by unauthorized users.

So, it is necessary to use a comprehensive document rights management software application that combines Digital Rights Management (DRM) controls, along with encryption technology, to avoid unauthorized use of your documents and to ensure secure document sharing. Some basic DRM security features include document copy or edit protection as well as avoiding screen grabbing by preventing any “print screen” option as well as disallowing the use of other screen grabbing software.

So, the DRM controls serve as an additional layer of security on top of document encryption by encrypting your document to protect it while it is at rest or in transit and later add controls for secure access as well as use. A document DRM tool also allows the use of licensing controls on your documents that ties them to specific users and their specific devices. In this way, you can make it extremely difficult for any unauthorized person to get access to the document, unless an authorized user willingly shares his or her device with the person.

You can even restrict access to your documents on the basis of locations. For example, you ban the access of your documents outside your office or do the same for specific countries or cities due to certain regulations. This document security functionality can be achieved through an advanced document DRM system that limits the use of authorized documents to only specific IP address ranges and countries.

A DRM solution will also give you the ability to automatically expire the use of documents after a specific period of time. This is useful for documents which have a natural shelf life and the expiry can be based on the number of views or prints or on a time period (i.e., number of days). A complementary feature in the form of “instant revoke” can also be made available by your DRM system for documents that have accidentally fallen into the wrong hands.

In addition, it is even possible to maintain log files and track who opened a document or printed it and when they did so. This assigns accountability to all authorized users as they will know that their document use is being tracked.

A similar accountability is assigned with the help of dynamic watermark generation which will show details like the user’s name and email ID as well as company information as a watermark on the document’s background if it is printed or viewed by a user. In this way, if any critical data is leaked, it becomes easier to spot the culprit.

So, how do you share documents securely?

Author Bio:

Karishma mainly writes on tech related subjects. She enjoys reading eBooks and travelling. She occasionally contributes for Locklizard, a software company that specialized in digital rights management security for PDF documents.

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