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April 9, 2013

Is PDF Application Security really that important?

Cyber attackers today are intent on not only stealing data, but also crashing systems, damaging reputations, or just simply showing off their hacking prowess. As a result, businesses, schools and government agencies have to spend more resources to battle those attacks. It’s not only expensive from an IT perspective, but also in the potential loss of trust in that organization by their customers and constituents. A recent survey by PWC found that 28.6% of respondents claim their company suffered financial loss due to a security breach incident. That’s a worrying statistic for sure.

 

Universally-accepted file types – including PDF, unfortunately – are one of many ways these hackers gain entry to systems by embedding malicious code into the files. So choosing a PDF software application that fully uses modern mitigation techniques to reduce risk is obviously important. To help you understand the risks and evaluate a vendor’s approach to security, we have recently updated and published the white paper PDF Application Security – How to minimize your risk. It’s available for free from Adobe’s web site.

 

The white paper contains results of independent third-­party testing on the entire Acrobat family of products, specifically related to security. Adobe Reader X and Adobe Acrobat X produced excellent results in security testing by implementing what security experts call a “defense-in-depth” approach within the software and as offered by the operating system. Adobe Reader XI and Adobe Acrobat XI have improved security and sandboxing even further, and Adobe continues to invest in security. This investment has helped reduce the need for out-­of-­cycle security updates. Note in the diagram below, Adobe Acrobat X only had two out-­of-­cycle security updates, while Adobe Acrobat 9 had seven. Deploying a software patch is a timely and expensive process, so we want to help IT professionals minimize those costs by reducing the number of out-of-cycle patches for the Adobe Acrobat family of products.

Chart showing the number of Acrobat and Adobe Reader update releases

 

If you are considering PDF software based on the licensing cost, please be careful. The days of making software choices based on the quoted price alone – without thorough consideration of security – are long gone. You should be asking vendors about operating system mitigations built into their PDF software, processes in place for addressing security threats, and even how involved the vendor is with the broader security community. To get more details about all the ways the Adobe Acrobat family helps organizations do more with PDF, while also providing advanced security, lower costs, and easier software management, download and read the free white paper, PDF Application Security – How to minimize your risk.

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5:53 AM Permalink
February 15, 2013

Taking Our Own Medicine: Deploying Adobe Acrobat XI at Adobe

Just like other large organizations, Adobe, with over 11,000 employees worldwide, has requirements and challenges when deploying new software. Adobe’s IT department began deployment of Acrobat XI within 48 hours of its release back in October of 2012. Talk about a challenge! Fortunately, thanks to resources like these on the Acrobat Solutions for IT pages, they were prepared and shared some of their experiences with the Acrobat team.

Adobe IT began testing of Acrobat XI during the pre-release phase with approximately 1,000 employees worldwide and some pre-release volunteers. The test plan was focused on making sure that the previous version uninstalled properly, and that Acrobat could be used successfully for day-to-day tasks, such as accessing documents stored in enterprise systems, completing and submitting forms, and participating in shared reviews.

A big part of preparing to deploy any software application is the customization of the installer, and Acrobat XI is no different. Adobe IT had requirements around customizing the installation that included applications and document security settings, such as rights management and Protected View, and a desire to make the install smoother and faster for all users. The deployment of Acrobat XI at Adobe translated to approximately 9,500 systems, with almost half of them on Mac. Adobe IT made the decision to use SCCM for Windows deployments and Casper from JAMF software for Mac deployments.

How was the customization done? With the Adobe Customization Wizard. Most customization decisions were made based on previous installations. This included using the company wide serial number, setting Acrobat as the default PDF viewer, disabling registration, and customizing the User Name and Organization. Another important customization was to include the Adobe Addressbook and Directory Acrodata files. Adobe IT teams from across the world worked together to create and test the installation packages. In addition to deploying straight to desktops, an installation needed to be created for Adobe’s Citrix XenApp environment for those users who prefer or need to run internal applications virtually via Citrix Receiver.

Within six weeks of deployment, Acrobat XI was installed to over 85% of machines within Adobe. Adobe IT is very pleased with the deployment and directly attributes this to the installation speed. Migrating from Acrobat 8 to 9 took about 45 minutes to install, while the Acrobat XI migration took only 4-5 minutes. Another positive is that they have had no significant support issues with Acrobat XI.

When asked what they would do differently, Adobe IT states that getting familiar with the customization settings during the testing prior to release would have made things even easier. Doing so would have also given them a greater appreciation for installation dependencies of other applications. Did anything impact the deployment schedules? Only a small number of stubborn users who declined to upgrade right away or refused to restart their Windows machine so SCCM could do its work.

The deployment of Acrobat XI within Adobe was a big success due to the hard work of Adobe IT. Their focus on testing the prerelease and customizing the installation led to a quick deployment with minimal issues. If you need help with deployment of Acrobat XI, everything you need to know is located right here: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/it-resources.html. It’s like having the Acrobat team right by your side!

Lisa Croft, product  marketing manager, Acrobat Solutions

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4:45 AM Permalink
February 13, 2013

Signing documents electronically with Acrobat and EchoSign

Remember floppy disks? What about cassette tapes? These two types of technology seem almost ancient, and something you might find in an antique store. Well move over floppy disks and cassette tapes and make some room for the fax machine! A large percentage of faxes are used to send a document with multiple signatures. What if these documents could be signed and exchanged electronically by each person?

Adobe Acrobat XI has full support for signing documents. Adobe EchoSign is an easy to use online service that allows you to instantly send, eSign, track and file documents securely. Recipients can sign right in their browser on virtually any connected device without downloading a plug-in or having to create an EchoSign account. Using these two products together gives you the ability to complete the entire process of signing documents electronically, and the final signed document can be viewed reliably by anyone with the free Adobe Reader.

It’s simple too!

Continue reading…

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11:22 AM Permalink

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