4 Reasons You Need to Start Protecting Your Documents

4 Reasons You Need to Start Protecting Your DocumentsAll documents aren’t created equally, as we know. Some documents are more valuable to your company than others. Some have information that you wouldn’t mind letting out into the “wild wild web”, and some have highly sensitive data and information that would be highly damaging if it was released into the wild.

What’s the worst that can happen?

We’ve dealt with hundreds of companies over the years, and one quick assessment of the value of the document and data contained within it is to imagine some scenarios that can, and do, occur.

1. Leaks and unauthorized sharing (intentional or otherwise)

  • Documents are sent to the wrong “unauthorized” person by mistake, either via email or other means.
  • Unsecured documents and data are found on a lost or stolen device.
  • Documents are intentionally misdirected for malicious and/or fraudulent purposes – either for monetary gain, extortion, or to damage a company’s reputation.
  • Documents and information are leaked by employees (or other “bad” actors) to the media, antagonists, or competitors.
  • Poor security or infrastructure on protected networks have left documents and data vulnerable to unauthorized sharing.

2. Hacks and attacks

Most of us are under the impression that only very large companies are attractive to hackers, not so! As documents and data become more ubiquitous and accessible, hackers are finding small and medium sized companies (with their relatively few hardened security protocols) attractive targets. Hackers may probe your networks for vulnerabilities, and specifically target documents without wrap-around security, and documents in transit, synced to devices, in cloud-storage, or in unsecured emails.

The tools and trade of the hacker have become infinitely more sophisticated, and companies large and small must now be on the lookout for these kinds of threats, including:

  • Database and network intrusions
  • Permission theft, misuse and loss
  • Communication intercept attacks like MITM and Relay attacks
  • Denial/disruption of service attacks for blackmailing, or extortion purposes

3. Copyright or patent infringement/abuse

Companies go to a lot of trouble and expense to produce original works and this content is often patented or copyrighted to protect that original investment or any revenue streams that might be attached to it. If you have copyrighted material, this work can be:

  • Copied or duplicated without permission.
  • Modified or manipulated without authorization.
  • Used in ways that were not the original intent or without proper authority.

4. Piracy

Online pirates aren’t just interested in music, movies and stolen software. Your course material, eBooks, company data, Board minutes, research data, maps, specs and all manner of information can be just as valuable to someone else as it is to you. Your content can end up in illegal file sharing sites where over 90% of the material is copyrighted and should, by law, be protected.

What’s it worth?

When considering a document protection plan, determine whether or not your company has data, information or content that is “worth” protecting. Determine what the consequences to your business would be in terms of:

  • Revenue – losses and damage that might occur now and in the future
  • Reputation – trust and confidence in your brand
  • Compliance, or non-compliance with regulations and privacy laws

This was an excerpt from our white paper: What Documents Need Protecting Most? You can read the full white paper here.

Vitrium Beta Release of Document Encryption Add-In for Microsoft Office

Document security and secure file sharing solution provider, Vitrium, releases beta of encryption add-in for Microsoft Office.

[PRWeb | Vancouver, BC, July 19, 2016] Vitrium announced today the latest release of its document protection and secure file sharing solution, Protectedpdf, which includes a beta version of the highly anticipated add-in for Microsoft Office that allows document owners to protect their Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, as well as the ability to email encrypted files to their users with Microsoft Outlook. For the first time ever, Vitrium is moving beyond protection of PDF files, providing encryption and digital rights management for confidential or revenue-generating Microsoft Office documents, such as financial statements, sales presentations, training materials, research reports, eBooks, and much more.

Using Vitrium’s file security add-in, document owners can protect their Microsoft Office files in two different ways. First, they can protect a file directly within the Microsoft Office application, whether it’s Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint and the file gets encrypted and uploaded immediately to the Protectedpdf application which can then be shared with the appropriate users. Additionally, the document owner can send an unsecured Microsoft Office or PDF file via email (as an attachment and a link) and the file is protected during the sending process. The email recipient would then need to use their login credentials to unlock and access the shared file.

The files are secured with Vitrium’s 256-bit encryption technology and can be confidently shared outside the corporate network, saved onto an unsecured platform, or synced to a mobile device – the encryption follows the document wherever it goes. Authorized viewers can access the encrypted file with Vitrium’s zero footprint HTML5 web viewer on any device, using any modern web browser.

In addition to file encryption, document owners can apply rich document security and DRM features offered by Vitrium, such as password protection, copy and print control, document expiry, device limits, reader access control, user-specific watermarks, and more. Document owners can also track the performance of their encrypted files with detailed, real-time data using Vitrium’s document analytics. Document-level and page-level metrics, such as document views, page views, time spent, and read-through-rate, provide insights that allow content producers to optimize their content for better reader engagement.

“In pursuit of our mission to provide document protection and secure file sharing solutions that empower content owners to protect their valuable, sensitive and revenue-generating content, I’m overjoyed to announce the beta release of Vitrium’s add-in for Microsoft Office. This expansion beyond PDF is vital to our vision of providing the most versatile document security solution in the market for SMBs and large enterprises. Today we announce the protection of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files and soon we’ll have more news on the way!”

-Susan Daly, CEO, Vitrium Systems Inc.

Along with Vitrium’s add-in for Microsoft Office, staff roles have been introduced in the latest release of Protectedpdf for the Pro and Enterprise editions. Organizations can now choose to grant distinct privileges within the Protectedpdf platform to different members of their teams. With the new roles, they can determine who in their organization has the ability to make changes to documents, readers, groups, reports, permissions, settings, and more.

DRM vs. File Sharing – Finding The Balance

DRM vs File Sharing - Finding the balanceOne thing is clear, online document readers have strong opinions about DRM and how much security is tolerable. Surveying comments on Adobe’s ePublishing blog, we found several interesting posts that reflect common attitudes to DRM. Bill McCoy, General Manager of the ePublishing Business at Adobe sums up the middle ground in this debate:

“There needs to be enough [document security] for an average internet user to access the document.” He goes on to say, “I [think we need to] soften the rough edges of DRM – when publishers deem it necessary at all – so it becomes more of a gentle reminder, a way to help “keep honest people honest.”

Security considerations are similar in the retail sector. We are all familiar with the systems used by stores to combat shoplifting. Product tags and alarms deter shoplifters and are of little or no inconvenience to honest shoppers. However, the more deterrents stores put in place, the more aggravation they cause their customers.

Unlike retailers, though, online publishers have a continued interest in controlling document use and access after they’ve authorized its use. When content owners make their electronic content available, they effectively grant access to a reader whom they can’t be sure will use it as was intended once the transaction is completed.

People who download documents certainly like to share them. In a recent study of over 1,000 US Internet users, 89% of adult Internet users indicated that they share email content with others, with 75% sharing content with up to six other recipients. In a study by Bitpipe Inc., an online content syndication firm, 77.8% of professionals who downloaded white papers and case studies reported that they passed them on to colleagues, and 75% of them saved them for future reference.

Clearly, the distribution of digital content is seldom limited to its original, authorized users. While this is a matter of concern for content owners, it is also an opportunity – you stand to gain a great deal from understanding both the way your documents are shared and the people they are redistributed to. But how can publishers limit the use of content to authorized users while exploiting the potential benefits of document sharing?

Page-level document security

One consideration is the nature of document protection itself. Most document publishers protect the entire document. Once a document is secured, even if it can be passed from an authorized reader to an unauthorized reader, it is rendered useless – it can’t be browsed or experienced in any way.

With a good DRM solution, document security can be handled differently. A document, like a book, is a collection of pages. Many document owners benefit from being able to secure a document while leaving certain pages unprotected. With this approach, when readers receive a new document, they have access to enough content to decide whether or not to pay for access to the rest of the document. In this way, page-level document security can enhances the experience of authorized and unauthorized readers by allowing re-distribution and sampling of documents.

You, meanwhile, are saved the trouble of creating a separate, limited version of the document for marketing purposes. In addition, content security can further your business needs long after the documents themselves have been initially distributed. For example, you can learn more about their potential audience by embedding online surveys in parts of a document available to unauthorized readers.

This was an excerpt from our white paper: Beyond DRM – 6 Steps to Great Reader Experiences. You can read the full white paper here.

6 Steps to Creating Positive Reader Experiences – Part 2

This is a continuation of 6 Steps to Creating Positive Reader Experiences – Part 1.

6 Steps to Creating Positive Reader Experiences – Part 2For some content providers, leaving documents unprotected is simply not an option. However, it is difficult to create document security systems that do not frustrate readers. Document security, inexpertly applied, can quickly become a deterrent for readers, especially as many people often feel they can most-likely find the information they need from another, more accessible source. Therefore, a balance must be struck between creating a positive experience for readers and maintaining document security.

Here are the remaining three of six points we think you need to consider when determining the level of reader experience when choosing DRM.
4. Understand your reader’s behavior

Readers often want to download a document on one computer and read it on another. For instance, a reader might need to have the document on a desktop at work but may also want to transfer it to a laptop for travel. With many DRM solutions, this is not possible and the user’s attempts to access the document legitimately are impeded.

5. Understand your commitment to maintaining the reader record

How long should you maintain a record that a reader has authorized access to a document? Vendors and publishers must balance the need to keep systems simple and databases clean against readers’ expectation that once authorized access rights have been granted they will persist for a reasonable period of time.

6. Maintain a tolerable level of document security

All DRM is susceptible to circumvention. How much security is enough varies from application to application. A blogger responding to a post in the weblog of Adobe’s Bill McCoy, General Manager, ePublishing Business sums up accepted wisdom about the effectiveness of DRM. Blogger Ben Trafford comments:

“Let’s face it – any DRM can and will be hacked. DRM should be like the Club – it deters your basic thief from stealing my car, but doesn’t stop me from driving. If more people could grasp this idea, we’d have a much happier world…and doubtlessly, a lot more eBooks on the digital shelves. It’s a real pity that big business seems to think that strong DRM is anything but a burden to customers.

The strongest DRM gets hacked all the time – and at about the same speed as weak DRM. The only difference between the two is that one is a pain for the customer, and the other…is not.”

What is at issue here is the common belief that DRM is “a pain for the customer.” In this context, it is important that reader’s feel that the level of security is balanced out by the perceived value of the document’s content. It is also vital that content owners understand readers’ attitudes to online content sharing. Owners must not get “in the way” of the experience that consumers of online data expect to have, whilst still protecting their property.

Each company must evaluate the approach that best fits the needs of its readership to ensure the widest possible readership, the most leads or the greatest revenue.

This was an excerpt from our white paper: Beyond DRM – 6 Steps to Great Reader Experiences. You can read the full white paper here.

We Need Your Help – Participate In Our Survey

We Need Your Help - Participate In Our SurveyWebWorks and Vitrium Systems would like your help! We are hoping to get your opinion on a new business partnership that may benefit your business – but you’ll need to tell us!
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You invest in Web Works so that you can create beautiful content. No other technology allows you to convert your single-source documentation to 16 different premium outputs with just one click. But you already knew that. And now with WebWorks Reverb – you can publish HTML5 to any device, present or future, from a single file set. Create awesome, customized PDF’s that can be published to any device in HTML5 – total control for you and no custom coding.

Now that you have your content – and you know you are proud of it… what are you going to do with it? If you have created this content to support a training program or any revenue generating action, then don’t you want to make sure it’s safe? If you have created content to keep your team up to speed on the latest developments with your product (not to mention the road map!) don’t you want to know that the right people, and not the wrong people, can read it?

WebWorks and Vitrium Systems have a combined solution that can help. Combining the power of content creation with Reverb and pushing HTML5 to your consumer’s devices is great. Pushing secured HTML5 to your consumer’s devices that is secure and will not be accessed by the wrong people is peace of mind!

If you want to share your content with the world, then do it! But some content needs to be shared ‘selectively’ – some content is proprietary, or revenue generating or just plain confidential and in these cases, it makes sense to protect your hard work. Have control over your content without limiting the experience for the intended audience.

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Case Study: Lyme and Cancer Services

Industry: Healthcare

Case Study - Lyme and Cancer Services Protects Documents With ProtectedpdfLyme and Cancer Services provides support and educational materials to patients with cancer or Lyme disease. They use Protectedpdf to protect their educational materials.
“We needed to streamline our process while keeping it user-friendly for our clients to access – cloud and HTML5 based documents was the way to go.”– Brendan Filler, Wellness Advisor.

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6 Steps to Creating Positive Reader Experiences – Part 1

6 Steps to Creating Positive Reader Experiences - Part 1Due to the widespread availability of free information online, readers expect to be able to share the content they have and often measure the relative ease of access to new documents against documents with no DRM at all.

In this context, it is difficult to create document security systems that do not frustrate readers. Document security, inexpertly applied, can quickly become a deterrent for readers, especially as many people often feel they can most-likely find the information they need from another, more accessible source.

For some content providers, leaving documents unprotected is simply not an option. Therefore, a balance must be struck between creating a positive experience for readers and maintaining document security.

There are no set rules governing how best to do this – the balance will depend on the specific needs of different content providers and readers. Nevertheless, a few fundamental issues should be borne in mind.

Here we’ll discuss the first three of six points we think you need to consider when determining the level of reader experience when choosing DRM.

1. Balance reader privacy vs. your “need” to know about them

Content publishers must find a balance between gathering information about the reader (in order to validate the reader’s right to access the content) with the reader’s right to withhold personal information. Many content publishers feel the allure of asking for additional data during a transaction, but asking for more information than is necessary for the transaction can leave the reader feeling that security system is needlessly time-consuming and invasive.

2. Consider content persistence vs. content protection

Unencrypted content can be widely and easily transferred. As discussed above, easily shared information is shared – and often. For the online content sharers in this study,

“The most popular content is humorous material, with 88% forwarding jokes or cartoons. The second most popular category is news (56%), followed by healthcare and medical information (32%), religious and spiritual material (30%), games (25%), business and personal finance information (24%), and sports/hobbies (24%).”

While unprotected digital information can be freely shared, it is usually of less value than information from protected sources. Encrypted content, on the other hand, is only accessible for as long as the reader recalls how to unlock it and is therefore easily lost to posterity. We all know how easy it is to lose – or forget – usernames and passwords.

3. Consider document protection vs. infringing on private property

In 2005 the Sony CD copy protection scandal brought the controversy surrounding DRM right into the public view. In short, Sony/BMG created software which was silently installed when customers used their desktop computers to play music CDs.

This opened security holes on the PCs, causing a range of serious problems. Sony/BMG faced many lawsuits and were forced to recall the affected CDs.

In this instance, a well-known corporation neglected to find a balance between copyright protection and consumer privacy. Specifically, they failed to realize that many consumers are reluctant to have proprietary software installed on their computers, particularly if it’s done surreptitiously.

Check back with us in a couple weeks to read part 2 of this post where we’ll discuss the 2nd three points you should consider when picking your DRM solution.

Don’t want to wait? You can read the full excerpt in our white paper: Beyond DRM – 6 Steps to Great Reader Experiences.

Case Study: iData Research

Industry: Research & Advisory

Case Study - iData Research Protects Documents With ProtectedpdfiData Research offers business intelligence on the healthcare industry. They use Protectedpdf to manage their subscription-based reports.
“We had to find a way to manage our single user license reports so that they could only be accessed by authorized users.” – Aggie Taylor, Human Resource Generalist.

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