Restricting PDF use in Safeguard Secure PDF Writer
Restricting PDF access in the Safeguard Admin System
PDF Restrictions – A History
The original PDF restriction controls (provided to restrict PDF use) were designed before many of the PDF generation software we use today were in their infancy, and many did not exist at all. And that is why the ability to restrict PDF use has become more sophisticated over time.
Domestic printing systems were often a dot matrix printer (remember those?) where high quality was not an option, nor was colour or graphics. The focus was not on how to restrict PDF printing but getting it to work with all the emerging printing technologies. And laser printers were expensive in every sense for many years.
But all that has changed. Today making a high quality printed copy of a PDF document is trivial, and every PC has a key on it so you can get screen copies at the touch of a button.
So the ability to restrict PDF use has become increasingly important over time.
Adobe Acrobat and similar PDF Writer applications enable you to restrict PDF access, preventing only authorized individuals opening password protected PDF documents and restrict PDF use by applying a limited number of permissions (Printing, editing, copying content, extracting pages, filling in forms.). However, PDF restriction controls can be simply removed using freely available PDF password recovery programs, bypassed on a Mac, and removed using Google Drive. See removing PDF passwords.
PDF Restrictions – What do they do?
When we talk about the ability to restrict PDF, what are we actually talking about? Here we describe the various levels to restrict PDF access and use.
- Prevent people from accessing a PDF document when they are not authorized to do so. This is achieved using encryption. A user must have a key to decrypt the PDF and use it. Commonly passwords have been used to restrict PDF access but they have many weaknesses which including managability and security – see removing PDF passwords.
- Restrict authorized users from making copies of PDF files which they can then distribute. This can be achieved by locking documents to devices so that when copied to another device they will not open.
- Control the ability to make printed copies (which could be scanned or photocopied). Sometimes printing has to be allowed for operational reasons, but then you may need to add watermarks to the print-out, either to make it difficult to scan or photocopy successfully, or to associate the name of the authorized user so that it is clear where the copy came from.
- Stopping screen grabbing. Although users can take photos of anything visible on a screen, preventing screen grabbing stops them taking high-quality screenshots. You might add watermarks to PDFs to discourage the ability of someone taking photographs of the screen images (perhaps with their mobile phone).
- Having PDFs expire on a fixed date, after a number of days use, views or prints, enables you to restrict PDF use to a limited amount of time. This may be important for documents that have a shelf life or to comply with regulations. See PDF Expiry.
- Revoking access. It is important to be able to revoke both PDF documents and users. For example, a user may leave your company and so you would likely want to revoke all their access, whereas you may want to revoke access to specific documents for existing employees.
- Locking use to locations. Restricting PDF use to locations is important when considering BYOD since users will otherwise have the freedom to use confidential documents in unsuitable environments.
In conclusion, there are many reasons why you would need to restrict PDF access and use, but you need to make sure you use a security program that:
- provides effective controls
- enforces those controls regardless of where PDFs are located
- prevents controls being easily removed by third party applications
Download PDF restriction software to restrict PDFs
Restrict PDF access and use with Locklizard PDF DRM software
Download PDF DRM software that uses US Government strength encryption and digital rights management (DRM) controls to restrict pdf access and control the use of PDF documents. Restrict printing by preventing printing or by controlling the number of prints, expire PDF documents after a period of time or number of views, instantly revoke access, stop copying, sharing and screen grabbing.
Safeguard PDF Security and Safeguard Enterprise PDF DRM enables you to apply PDF restrictions to restrict PDF access, restrict PDF printing and restrict PDF use. You can restrict and control access to your PDF files in one simple step. And unlike Acrobat PDF restriction controls (permissions), Locklizard PDF restriction controls cannot be removed by password removal programs.
Locklizard use US Gov strength encryption, licensing, and DRM controls to restrict and control access to your PDF files. We don’t use passwords, plugins or other insecure protection mechanisms, ensuring your PDFs remain safe regardless of where they reside. See our DRM technology.