Secure Content Collaboration with Information Rights Management

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BEST PRACTICES SERIES

IRM Tools to Take into Battle
Stemming the tide of information outflow in corporate America is a daunting task, especially given the various topologies of things like email deployments, not to mention the different manner in which people communicate, and the various documents they exchange. Authentica's product, Authentica Content Security Server, addresses the pitfalls inherent to email messaging and document exchange in collaborative environments by providing a unified environment where users can communicate securely and transmit secure documents.

Much like Web mail, Authentica Content Security Server is accessible through a Web interface and users are able to create new messages, assign levels of security to the message, and add attachments if they like. Permissions like the ability to print or copy the email or attachments can be easily granted using checkboxes. The product uses conventional browser uploads so it's easy to attach and protect a document from the road or your desktop PC. As an option, users can choose to actually encrypt the body of the email using encrypted HTML and, if they desire, apply policies like expiration after a number of days or weeks or setup a lease to another user not on the platform with limited usage rights.

Authentica's PageRecall product works in conjunction with Authentica Content Security Server and gives companies the ability to assign file-level permissions to email attachments that persist beyond the perimeter of a corporate network. For compatibility reasons, PageRecall converts any Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents that are attached to messages into PDFs. When you get a protected PDF from Authentica, PageRecall runs in the background monitoring your use of the document and actually watermarks the open version with information about who the user is and when they opened the document. No matter how you got the document, be it from the original Authentica Content Security Server message or from floppy disk or Hotmail, you still have to log into a policy server to get a key for the content.

PageRecall's greatest feature may be the instant revocation it affords content owners from their desktop PC. With the click of a mouse you can revoke the rights to any document by any user at any time. This feature provides you with information expiration abilities that were previously unavailable in the marketplace and if you're just looking for partial coverage, the product will even let you just protect pages within a document. This page-based policy is also an Authentica original. Thin client IRM apps like PageRecall are key to extending secure collaboration beyond today's limiting perimeters. Authentica's technology is in use by everyone from The Department of Defense and SPAWAR to Ford Motors and Merck Pharmaceutical.

Security in Real Time
While email and document management are clear needs for today's corporate landscape, users need a secure mechanism to present information at their fingertips to third parties in more of a one-way manner. An example might be a preliminary sales pricing call with a marketing partner or a merger strategy in the works. For this type of information presentation, real-time online meeting tools like WebEx allow the content presenter to connect one or more PCs to a user-driven presentation and at times give viewers varying levels of control of the information they are seeing. For the most part, these types of tools are presenter-driven with users seeing in real time what the presenter wants them to see, like a PowerPoint presentation or an Excel sheet or a demo of a new product interface.

With all the great features provided by real-time collaboration and meeting tools, it would be very easy to overlook the lack of security and information control built into these applications. On a bad day, a user could, if he wanted to, login to a meeting, allow remote users to control their PCs, and in seconds, every important piece of information that PC had access to could be on the other side of the world. You might wonder how it is possible to use real-time meeting tools without compromising the security of your information.

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