What a James Bond movie, an 80s song, and optometrists get right about data security


“For your eyes only.”

It’s the title of a James Bond movie, a popular 80s song, and a great slogan for an optometrist who loves puns. It could also easily apply to how we feel today about sharing documents with sensitive information. When sharing a document with business-critical or confidential content, the sender needs to ensure that the intended recipient securely receives the document and prevent further sharing with unauthorized recipients.

So what are the options? You could keep your documents under lock and key, showing up to client sites with them in a briefcase handcuffed to your wrist, and stand over your customer while they review the data. This may be effective, but it’s wildly impractical and unnecessary if you leverage the right document-sharing and digital security tools.

Information Rights Management (IRM) from Citrix ShareFile is one of those tools. With IRM, you can add a layer of security to your document shares to prevent further unauthorized distribution. Prior to sending the document, the document owner can choose to apply a watermark with the recipient’s name, e-mail address, and IP address to mitigate the risk of screen captures.

Protecting against screen captures is a great start for some, but many organizations want to go the extra mile when it comes to protecting documents that contain confidential information. With IRM, senders can also choose to block recipients from downloading documents. This ensures that the recipients will not be able to locally store copies of documents on their devices.

According to a report by Kensington, a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds and over 70 million cell phones are lost each year. If you’ve shared a confidential document that’s been downloaded to one of these stolen or lost devices, the thief or person who finds the device now has access to that information. Organizations that protect shared confidential information by prohibiting downloads of those documents ensure that data doesn’t become exposed through lost or stolen devices.

When it comes to document security, we must also think about the “Goldilocks principle.” For many organizations, failing to add an additional layer of security to sensitive document shares means that they are not secure enough. Conversely, preventing downloads is too restrictive. For those organizations, we present the “just right” bowl of porridge, enabling recipients to download a document with a watermark applied. This will enable the recipient of the document to download and print the document, but the watermark will continually be affixed to the document. While you can’t always protect against carelessness or forgetfulness, people are less likely to leave confidential documents in the office printer or copier when their identifying information is plastered all over them.

While the security-minded professionals at any organization are always conscious of applying the right controls to a document, security can’t come at the expense of end user experience. When security measures are so restrictive that productivity is negatively impacted, end users begin to look for ways to circumvent company-approved tools and create a network of Shadow IT. Shadow IT creates significant risk for organizations; IT loses control and oversight into what, how, and when employees are sharing documents.

While IRM will help organizations secure and control how confidential information is shared, end users won’t suffer from decreased productivity as a result. There’s no additional software needed, nor any plugins for senders or recipients to download when sending or receiving a document that has IRM permissions applied to it. The experience is simple and familiar.

While we’d all like to keep our most sensitive documents under lock and key, that’s not how business gets done in the digital age. By balancing a great end user experience with security controls to keep your data secure, you’ll make sure that your most confidential documents stay safe while keeping end users productive.

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