Sharing Documents Securely with Third Parties – What You Should Know

Even internal documents sometimes have to be shared with people outside the organization. For example, if someone opens litigation against your firm, your lawyers might need access to your records. That is just one of many scenarios that are likely to happen in the lifetime of your business.

So, how can you prevent unauthorized people from accessing your files once you have shared them with a third party? Here are some of the available solutions and what you need to know about them.

To Encrypt or Not to Encrypt?

Honestly speaking, it does not matter whether you do or not. If you do, you still have to share the encryption key with the recipient. So, what if they decide to make some money by selling your information after you sent them the key and file? You would then have already given them access and they could copy your work if they wanted to. They can also reword it and sell it as their own. Ultimately, if encryption is your security measure of choice, no countermeasure can effectively stop a person with the key from sharing your work, even if they obtained the key by underhanded means.

The worst part about encryption is that you may never realize your data has been stolen until you find it on the internet some time later. Tracing that to the source of the leak is also impossible.  So encryption is only useful if you are confident that the recipient will not share your file and the key with others.

Cloud Sharing Security Platforms

At the moment, there are a lot of ineffective measures out there, including cloud sharing platforms. With such platforms, you upload your files and then give the recipients credentials that allow them access. This seems foolproof, but it is not. These credentials, once shared either willingly or mistakenly, open your documents up to be viewed by other parties. Not only that, but the third party recipient might then copy and share the documents with other people.

Custom controls could help prevent a computer from copying, pasting or printing and some cloud security options do offer such options. Nonetheless, there is still the issue of a smartphone with regard to screenshots. When someone uses their phone to log in, taking a screenshot is almost impossible to stop. Cloud sharing hosts these and other loopholes that users can exploit.

Also, if an authorized third party wants to access the file, they will need a stable internet connection which is not always available. This isolates them from the document which beats the point of sharing it in the first place.

Why Choose a document DRM system over the Other Options?

A document DRM system should help you retain control over your documents, both inhouse and outside your organization.

This is possible through the following benefits:

  • You will have control over who sees what document and for how long: A competent document DRM system will allow you to lock the document to a specific device. It, therefore, makes no difference whether people can copy the file to another device. A bonus feature is that you can set how long they can access the document. Take the example given at the beginning of this article. Your lawyers will not need access to your files after the case is over, will they?
  • Location locking: You may think that a recipient could send his or her laptop to another party to grant them access. After all, the file is locked to the device. However, you can ensure this is not possible by locking the access point to a particular geographical location and IP address. In this way, you never have to worry about such a scenario again.
  • Logging information: How often is the document opened? What are the usage patterns once opened? You can get this information and more to help you monitor everything that is going on with your document. And, if anything looks fishy, you can revoke access immediately.
  • You can restrict functions: Annoying functions, such as copy, paste, and print, have no place when you are trying to prevent prying eyes from getting a hold of your documents. So, you can prevent such functions from working altogether. Also, why would you give someone the option to edit your documents when you can just as easily take it away? Let your information stay intact in its original form.
  • Different people need different rights when it comes to your documents: Some people may need to be allowed more freedom with your documents than others, depending on who they are and why you are giving them access. Luckily, with a document DRM system software provider like Locklizard, you can set individual permissions for each person with whom you share a document. For example, the option of printing can be allowed only for someone who actually needs to print the document, while you still control how many prints they can make.


You now know the various document security options available. Do you still think your security choice is the right one?

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