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As companies digitize and reach their customers, employees, and partners through new web and mobile channels, they must be more diligent about document security than ever before. In particular, they must be able to control who is viewing, copying, editing, and sharing their documents, assets and content. Unrestricted access to sensitive assets can result in a number of issues – from brand damage and legal battles, to compliance and clearance violations.

To reduce risks and improve document security, companies turn to digital rights management (DRM) principles. The objective of DRM is to secure high-value assets against inappropriate access and distribution, while ensuring easy access for the appropriate parties. Priority assets require digital protection – but navigating the scope of options in the DRM space can be challenging. In this article, we’ll spell out a simple framework you can use to think about threats to your document security.

Threats to document security come from two places: outsiders, who are not supposed to have contact with a document, and insiders, who are intentionally able to access a document. Outsiders and insiders each come with their own set of DRM considerations and challenges.

Outsiders, in this context, are not supposed to have access to a document at all. They need to be prevented from viewing, editing and sharing documents, either benignly, or as an intentional attack on protected information. In the commercial space, an outsider could try to access trade secrets or intellectual property (IP). In the government, an outsider could try to access and distribute classified information.

Although it can be a challenge to keep malicious parties out, the real challenge arises when trying to make it difficult for the wrong people to access sensitive documents, while making it easy for the right people to access them freely. This is further compounded with the possibility that some parties might need temporary access to a document, or access to part of a document, but otherwise be outsiders. All of these situations need to be taken into account when planning for outsider threats to document security.

Insiders, on the other hand, are intentionally able to access documents. There are two types of insiders: insiders who should access a given document, and those who can access a given document, but shouldn’t. The right DRM functionality, such as the ability to track who views a document when, can deter insiders from making contact with documents that they have no good reason to be accessing. Tracking the patterns in document views and sharing can provide insight into potential threats to document security — and if insiders know their activities are tracked, they are dis-incentivized to make contact with assets they shouldn’t.

Unpacking how to manage insider threats and outsider threats, while maintaining document accessibility, can be complex. Twin Technologies can help you apply DRM concepts to ensure that your interests are protected. We can help you prepare for insider and outsider threats for high-value documents, or help ensure digital security for any type of asset. Reach out today to talk to a digital rights management expert, and let us help de-risk your digital security.

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