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August 20, 2012 /Document Security /

Securing and Protecting Your IP

We recently conducted a study of the challenges and expectations of knowledge workers and IT. While the full results of the study aren’t ready yet – and I’ll share them with you here, among other places, when they are – there was one finding that stood out: the majority of organizations underestimate their overall information security risk as a vast majority of workers regularly collaborate with others outside their companies.

The implications of this are enormous. Leaked sensitive information damages your competitive advantage and erodes your customers’ and partners’ trust in you. And that, of course, hits the bottom line. IT departments can choose a user-friendly, document-level security solution to protect the company’s documents, inside and outside the firewall. For their part, users need the ability to secure documents with a solution that can easily integrate into the existing IT environment. That way, everybody’s happy.

Adobe Acrobat customers deal with document-level security risks all day long. We all remember the embarrassing high profile cases in which law firms or government agencies thought they’d deleted sensitive content only to find it on the front page of the NYTimes. However, using Acrobat, Andrew Moir, a partner at international law firm Herbert Smith, says “we know that information we need to keep confidential, stays confidential.”

Adobe Acrobat lets you remove sensitive data from documents before sharing them with others. The PDF redaction tools permanently delete confidential information, while sanitization tools remove hidden information with one click. Acrobat’s Guided actions also help ensure that all team members prepare documents for distribution correctly and consistently.

You can further mitigate the risk of sensitive information being leaked by controlling access to documents. “We need to control who accesses documents and give people the assurance that the materials they receive have not been altered,” says Margaret M. DiBianca, Associate, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor

Young Conaway uses Acrobat to password-protect those documents with Acrobat’s 256-bit AES encryption technology to control access. The firm also sets file permissions to prevent editing, printing, or copying content. “With Acrobat, we can put controls on PDF files to limit access to information and restrict copying of data from files,” DiBianca adds. Acrobat also works with Adobe LiveCycle® Rights Management ES2 for extended rights management protection.

It’s also important to understand the role eSignatures play in security. Without an assurance that someone’s signature is the real deal, business could come to a screeching halt. That was one reason Adobe acquired EchoSign last year. With Adobe EchoSign eSignature and Web contracting services, you can send and receive digitally signed documents securely and quickly. EchoSign has been designed from the ground up for state-of-the-art ASP security. Electronic signatures are also protected by the federal ESIGN Act, which ensures that customers who sign contracts electronically are as protected as they would be had they opted for pen-on-paper agreements. You could argue the protections are even greater with digital contracts, since eSignature solutions can offer additional authentications from email, IP addresses, passwords, social network credentials and other safeguards that surpass anything possible with physical copies or fax transmissions.

What’s happening now is that Web contracting, which includes the automation of the entire contract process — from creation, collaboration, and execution to archiving and management — is quickly replacing the painful paper-based processes of the past with the advantages of working on the Web.

The main drivers of Web contracting and eSignatures are customers, partners, and internal users. Customers are increasingly comfortable conducting business via the Web and mobile devices, and they are demanding that companies move more of their customer-facing processes online. That, of course, adds a new dimension to security considerations.

So whether your security needs are redaction, rights management, access or secure e-signatures, Acrobat can provide a solution. There’s more information at the Acrobat IT Resource Center for insights into how to Acrobat can make your documents — and your IT operation — more secure.

Mark Grilli, senior director of Acrobat Solutions product marketing

Categories: Document Security

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