document security

Document control protection

Document Control: Control Document Access, Copying & Use

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Controlling document access & use: components of a document copy control system

  • Encryption

    Used to control document access – encrypted documents can only be opened if the recipient has the correct keys to decrypt them.

    Encryption is also used to:

    • transfer decryption keys to authorized devices
    • lock keystores (where decryption keys are held) to specific devices so they cannot be used on other devices – if protected documents along with the keystore are copied to another device they will fail to open

    Locklizard use US Gov strength AES encryption for document protection.

  • DRM Controls

    Used to control document use – i.e. impose restrictions on what a user can do with a document.

    For example the ability to print a document or to have documents expire after a number of days or uses.

  • Licensing

    Used to control document access and use.

    It enables documents to be linked to a user so you can control document access and use at the user level.  For example, locking document use to specific devices and locations and tracking and logging use.

  • Watermarks

    Document watermarks can be used to make copying difficult (static watermarks) or to identify a user (dynamic watermarks).

    • Dynamic watermarks may be used as a form of copy prevention, because the individual allowing the watermarked document to be copied is also associating their own identity with it, and they most likely do not want to be identified as the source of copied materials.
    • Static watermarks make copying difficult by using background images that blend with the content – e.g. a diffraction or Moire fringe pattern.
  • Other Security Mechanisms

    Used to control document copying by modifying Operating System behaviour.

    For example stopping screen grabbing and identifying physical printers vs file printers to prevent printing to PDF files.

Document copy control: control document access, control document copying, control document use

The key to all document management systems is the ability to impose document control on the documents that are being created or distributed.  If there is no document management, then there is no document control.  And if there is no document control, then there is nothing.  Ask any auditor.  Those boys and girls know all there is to know about document control systems.  They don’t just do it for a living, they mainline on it.

But you don’t have any document control without document security technology that includes document copy control and document protection.  If other people can copy your documents, then you have no document copy control and you have no document management.  And that gets us round to the question of document security.  That is what sits at the base of all document management systems.

Document copy control is perhaps the most difficult thing to achieve.  Everything in a computer is there to make copying easy.  So to achieve both document copy control and document protection you need to be able to hold documents in a form that is inaccessible to those who are not authorized.  And that means encrypting them.  As a practicality it is not possible to stop people from copying files, so to achieve document copy control you first need to encrypt the files.  That way, it no longer matters if someone copies the files or not, your document management system does not grant them the authority to use the document and so you have achieved document copy control despite the fact that the ‘document’ has been copied.  So encryption is used to control document access by preventing unauthorized users gaining access to protected documents, but what about the control of document use?

This is where Digital Rights Management comes in.  Digital Rights Management or DRM for short, enables you to control document use once a document has been opened by an authorized user.  This may be what actions can be taken on the file (e.g. editing, copying, etc.) or for how long it can be used (document expiry).  Document security is not something that is fixed.  For some users of documents you may wish to allow them different capabilities such as allowing or preventing printing, or allowing or preventing use outside certain locations.  That comes back to how you implement document control – controlling document use at either a document and/or user level.  To control document use a document protection system must allow you, as the document owner, to decide which controls are to be implemented, and at what level, in support of your document management objectives.

Another crucial part of a document copy control system is licensing control – the ability to license users so you can control what documents they can access and from what locations.  By using licensing control you can deliver document keys securely and transparently to authorized users and their devices so you don’t have to rely on outdated password protection systems that are cumbersome to manage and easy to bypass – see why you should not password protect PDF documents.  Licensing control systems also enable you to revoke document access even after documents have been distributed or revoke user access to individual or all documents.

And when you have implemented your document control system, as the auditors would tell you, you need some way of being able to check that it is actually working.  So your document control system must have some way of letting you know that your document security system is actually working.  This might be recording when document control is being used, or it might be to record when those who are unauthorized attempt to breach document security.  See tracking document use.

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Control document access and use with Locklizard document protection

Download document security software that uses digital rights management (DRM) controls and US Government approved AES encryption to control document access and control document use.

With Locklizard document security software you can control access to your documents, what users can do with them (copy, print, etc.), where they can be used, and when they can no longer be viewed (expire).  Add dynamic watermarks (username, company, date/time stamp) that are applied when documents are viewed and/or printed to identify users.  Locklizard document DRM security software provides complete document management, copy protection, and copy control for your documents enabling you to protect your IPR and securely share and securely sell documents.

See our customer testimonials or read our case studies to see why thousands of organizations use Locklizard document security to control document access and use.

Customer Testimonials