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Document Protection vs. Encryption

Jun 16, 2011 5:00:02 PM

Selecting a DRM solution has always been a balancing act between maintaining a pleasant reader experience, price and security. The balance will depend on the specific needs of the organization. Two things will determine your path:

The value of the content you are trying to protect. This will determine your level of protection and security needs.  For example, if the document contains highly sensitive and/or confidential information (i.e. a corporation’s trade secrets or details about a patent), then you might want to consider document encryption.  The alternative would be a protection solution that comes with password-protection, access control, watermarking, copy/print control and other similar features to protect IP or confidential information, and prevent content piracy.

Your audience and intended use of the document. This will determine the type of reader mechanism that is required in order to access a protected document. For example, if the document’s intended use is for internal purposes, or the audience is technically adept, then you may be okay with a protection solution that requires a plug-in or additional software to download in order to access the document.  However, if the document’s intended use is for external purposes (i.e. to be sent to external readers, buyers, subscribers, etc.), then you should consider a protection solution that is easy to use and does not require a plug-in, executable or additional software to download in order to access the document.

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Finding Balance

If an organization wants more than the basic password-protection and print control features in file-level security, but does not require the high encryption that comes with an enterprise DRM solution, there is a middle road. Some solutions, such as protectedpdf by Vitrium Systems, give users the flexibility of an enterprise DRM solution without the high cost and complex implementation. There still can be integration with learning management systems, business applications, and other IT systems. Meanwhile, content owners can employ more advanced protection capabilities such as computer lockdown and digital shredding.

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