As the manager of an organization, you likely have several documents that are shared or distributed among your employees, partners, vendors, and so on. Many of those documents contain confidential information which you may not want to be viewed or accessed by anyone other than the intended individual or group. This is where document encryption can help; only those with the decryption keys can unlock the PDF file and view or access its content.
Such type of encryption helps to safeguard the PDF documents while they are in transit or at rest on a hard drive. But, once the information in the documents is unlocked, the authorized users (with the decryption key) can do whatever they wish to do with the documents.
So, the encryption method does not prevent the sharing of decryption keys by your authorized users with unauthorized users. In other words, you cannot control how the sensitive information of your company is used by the authorized users. This is why it is imperative to have full document control which is only possible with a PDF Digital Rights Management (DRM) security solution or software. A DRM security tool empowers you to fill the gap that document encryption is unable to fill.
In combination with encryption, a DRM security solution will allow you to determine who can access your documents as well as control what the authorized users do with them. But, the providers have to make DRM available to the application that uses the document. This can either be achieved by plugins or by building a standalone application to process DRM protected files.
DRM providers need to take precautions regarding the change in document locations within the storage of the application. This is because, if the application creates unencrypted copies of the document (even as temporary files), it would pose a major document security challenge. So, it is important to develop a custom DRM application that has full control over the operating system environment.
By using a dedicated application the DRM provider retains complete control. By controlling the occurrence of document decryption in memory, this DRM method ensures that your authorized users are unable to consume the content from the temporary files on the hard drives. Compare this to a plugin which may be bypassed (either inadvertly by an update or by malicious means) ensuring not all the functionality is supported, including having unencrypted versions of the files in temporary locations on disk.
Another advantage of a dedicated DRM application is that it will allow you to lock decryption keys to devices, thereby preventing your users from sharing them with other unauthorized users for other devices. DRM functionality also allows you to track who accesses your sensitive documents and what activity they perform after accessing them (including viewing and printing) through logs and watermarks. Most importantly, it does not assign the ability to share the documents without the appropriate tracking.
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Based on the information shared above, we have seen that DRM software, when integrated with encryption techniques, can work wonders for PDF document security. What do you think? Feel free to share your feedback below.