Today’s demands for information ‘anytime and anywhere’ requires more users to work on documents which can be easily transferred electronically or synced from desktop to Mac, or laptop to smartphone and tablet.
This demand has led to an increase in the accidental release of private and confidential information in published documents. Whilst emerging apps like Crisis, Crisis Covered, and Rapid Response can aid in legal crisis management, firms still need to prevent data leaks from ever taking place.
Firms must monitor and manage information systems security and information security in order to prevent any damage to the firm’s reputation from the outset. Many employees are aware IT departments deploy intrusion protection and prevention software, and block ‘drive-by’ downloads on the network which can cause data leaks at the system level. But many employees may not be aware that the documents they email can contain sensitive metadata or ‘hidden’ data ranging from author name, creation date, modified date or edit time, comments and track changes which can harm their firm’s reputation. Data leaks can happen any time a document is emailed, but consider some of these other data leakage scenarios:
Cloud collaboration – many firms upload documents into a collaborative workspace in the cloud, making it important that your documents are cleansed of metadata before doing so.
Improper redaction – many document authors still redact text and images using a simple masking technique by placing a black box or rectangle over text – this is not redacting and the covered up text can be easily exposed by the reader.
Embedded objects – you may not be aware that you are actually embedding an entire Excel spreadsheet into a document when you think you are just copying part. A simple ‘double-click’ on an embedded file will expose all contents of the spreadsheet to the reader.
Document automation – law firms use document assembly tools to automatically fill in document variables in document templates when creating contracts and letters. In many cases, fields added to the document can have hidden metadata associated with them.
Data leaks are easily preventable with metadata cleaning software. The underlying technology in most metadata management applications currently on the market requires the cleaning application to open the authoring application every time to clean the document. This process can take about 10 seconds per document which will mean desktop users have to wait until cleaning is complete before they can resume working with email. Plus on the server side, bottlenecks are created as emails leaving the company are cleaned. Users could be left not knowing when their email was actually sent – effecting business critical communications.
cleanDocs by DocsCorp allows employees to easily clean more than 100 metadata types from documents at sub-second speeds which eliminates these bottlenecks. Documents are cleaned at the binary or direct file level, which does not require the application to be opened.
There’s also a version for employees ‘on the go’, cleanDocs Mobile, which also eliminates the need to open the authoring application for cleaning. It also provides mobile users with the same rich end user experience as desktop users.
Legal firms of all sizes need to look at metadata management software as a compulsory business tool, like any other desktop software required for day-to-day duties. Data leaks are on the rise, and security awareness, encryption policies, employer behaviour all need to be viewed as part of their risk mitigation management and planning.
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DocsCorp is a leading provider of productivity software for document management professionals worldwide. Our offices and products span the globe with over 250,000 users in 32 countries. Our clients are well known and respected global brands that rely on DocsCorp for their technology needs.