No matter the size of your company, you must be able to share documents between departments, with authorized third parties or even just with certain employees. But, it’s essential that the control over the documents always rests with you and not with the receiving party or someone you never intended to have access at all.
Access rights and encryption alone aren’t enough. Once someone has gained access to your PDFs, an intruder can choose to do with it what he or she likes. This issue has been severely exacerbated with the use of personal devices, such as tablets, smartphones, and even laptops, in the workplace in recent years. So, it is critical to maintain the security of your documents.
What Goes into Limiting the Sharing of PDF Documents?
You need a finely-tailored security solution for your PDFs. For example, you need to be able to:
- Stop authorized users passing on access
- Prevent PDFs being printed
- Prevent previously-authorized users accessing it once they no longer have authorization (for example when an employee leaves your company)
- Combine intuitive Digital Rights Management (DRM) controls with government approved AES 256 bit encryption to ensure your documents are always shared as and when they should be, without misuse
You may also need to consider the following:
- Do you need to prevent your documents being used after a certain date?
- Do you need to restrict the location or network in which the PDF can be used?
As stated above, simply encrypting a document isn’t enough as people can share the document encryption key as well as share the document once they’re given authorization to view it. So, the answer lies instead with DRM.
How Can I Prevent Unauthorized Sharing of My PDF Documents?
What you need is a full document protection solution using DRM which allows you to enforce tailored controls on document sharing. Such DRM rights will use a combination of access and document rights, encryption, and other controls to allow you to limit who can share documents in the first place.
For example, DRM ensures any ‘forwarded’ document is nothing but an encrypted enigma to unauthorized parties. Also, you can limit the IP range in which the document can be opened. For example, you can restrict it to your corporate network only.
DRM can also implement a set date after which the document will be inaccessible and you can set it so that the (non-transferable) license offered to the user should be checked every time the document is opened. This would allow you to revoke access immediately should someone, say, leave your company.
Proper DRM will even limit the ways in which your document can be printed, thus preventing document sharing through this means. For example, all printed versions could include the user’s details (think usernames, your company name, ‘from the desk of’ notifications, and date or time stamps) in a dynamic watermark. Such watermarks will also keep people more mindful and compliant with a sharing policy. So, DRM will discourage those who may consider inappropriate sharing from doing so, especially as documents are easily traceable back to them through the watermarks.
In short, a good DRM solution will allow you to control who can access your document, what they can do with it (especially regarding copying, printing and forwarding the content), and for how long they can view it. Secure document sharing, document management, and copy control or protection will also help keep your documents accessible to only those people you want to have access.
What About PDF Sharing on the Cloud?
The cloud is a critical part of the modern business environment. However, it comes with its own security risks concerning unauthorized access to PDFs. This is why you need a suitable web portal to help manage the risks, allowing you to extend accessibility to your document via the web, while still maintaining control.
You’ll also be able to use an intuitive folder system to store each document. In this way, those with access to the platform won’t have to search through all the files to find the one they need.
Harness DRM to provide secure document sharing through copy protection, copy control, and document rights management.