The ever-popular and timeless PDF file format continues to be widely used even to this day to represent confidential information. For instance, you could have sensitive data within a PDF document containing health or financial information. Hence, it would be best if you assume suitable measures to ensure that the content within your PDF documents is adequately protected at all times. Furthermore, given that the PDF format is a common and well-accepted medium of sharing documents, it’s not surprising that both small businesses and large organizations store their trade information, IPR, copyright information, internal processes, customer data and more as PDF documents. Therefore, if these PDF files are not adequately protected, you could experience a leak of the information or easy pickings for a cyber-criminal.
Unfortunately, several forms of document security solutions to lock or prevent PDF files from being copied or edited, such as password protection, or simple watermarks, can easily be removed, leaving your PDF documents to be modified, copied and shared without your permission. To prevent your PDFs that carry classified information from falling into the wrong hands, you need the right document security solution.
This is where PDF DRM or digital rights management can help you protect your PDFs from being copied or edited and ensure you have complete rights access control.
Understanding the role of DRM in preventing PDFs from modification
Digital rights management or DRM specifically focuses on technology that empowers you to control what the recipient of your document can do with the file. In several cases, you could apply access controls such as preventing copying, printing and downloading protection on the PDF document that ensures the viewer can easily access the PDF document but cannot alter the content in any manner other than viewing it.
Implementing PDF DRM for files that contain highly classified data or sensitive details can be a huge boon. That’s because PDF DRM can prevent the unwanted spreading of particulars from your PDF file that could result in tremendous losses to your business. In addition, PDF DRM can make it incredibly difficult for your recipient to use your documents and spread them around illegally.
To ensure that your PDF file is not editable, you can set PDF permissions on the document through DRM controls before sharing it. This can allow your recipient or user from printing, copying the contents in the file, modifying or editing the material, altering the annotations, preventing screenshots and disallowing form data from being changed.
PDF DRM use cases
Given the robust security that PDF DRM offers to PDF content, digital rights management technology is widely used in various industries to prevent illegal use or distribution of content. Here are some examples of who uses DRM software and how it benefits them.
- Publishers and authors – To make sure that e-books are not illegally downloaded, copied or edited via filesharing sites or forms, PDF DRM enables them to protect the content. Similarly, e-books containing training material or courseware and similar such information can also be protected with PDF DRM that can prevent intellectual property within the files from being modified, stolen or copied and sold elsewhere.
- Financial industry – It’s simple to see why DRM is highly sought after when it comes to data security compliance within the financial sector. The financial sector has many sensitive information documents ranging from earnings reports to due diligence and reporting. These documents can prove highly lucrative to threat agents and individuals with malicious intent. Maintaining these documents behind the safety of PDF DRM can make it easy for the financial company to maintain the view-ability and security of such data.
- Healthcare industry – Whenever a healthcare professional needs to send patient or medical records, it must be done with a high level of security to ensure data compliance protection. DRM systems are invaluable for the healthcare industry given the added layer of security to the PDF file. It ensures that the doctor complies with regulations when sharing the data.
To ensure that your PDF files are easily viewed but cannot be altered, you need to apply restrictions on copying and editing the document. You can only do so with PDF DRM as its access controls can prevent recipients or authorized users from copying or editing the data in any form. And unlike Adobe Acrobat and other password-based PDF protection software, DRM controls cannot be easily removed. You can also set screenshot controls to prevent your users from taking screen grabs or printing the document, and expire and revoke PDFs after distribution. Look for the right advanced PDF DRM solution that gives you complete power on locking your PDF files from misuse or theft in order to protect your confidential and sensitive business documents.