How Watermarking Can Enhance Document Security

When you have several documents floating across different levels in your organization, there is a constant security threat regarding unauthorized access to any sensitive information. For example, authorized users can create copies of your training courses or an eBook and start selling it under their names. You would not want to compromise your information security in this way or enable your revenue streams to be harmed.

How Watermarking Can Enhance Document Security

This is why organizations resort to document encryption along with Digital Rights Management (DRM) security for total document control. While the encryption technique ensures that your content is safe during transit or at rest on a hard drive, the DRM security solution allows you to control what happens with the documents once the authorized users access them. A key functionality of DRM security, called watermarking, helps you out here.

There are multiple methods of implementing document security watermarks for various purposes, such as identifying the content owner and the authorized users, authenticating the document source, and ensuring that the content is not modified.

For example, you can use a PDF watermark for a document meant to be shared or copied by the authorized user. In this instance, you would link the user’s identity to the content so that everyone (who views or accesses the document) is clear about the source of the document. This watermark can be any number that is unique to the document’s authorized user.

Alternatively, you can use dynamic text watermarks that replace your selected variables with more specific details, including the email address, name, company name, date, and time stamp, when someone views or prints your documents. This watermarking technique will prevent any authorized user from leaking the content to the world, without revealing his or her identity. Using dynamic (variables replaced with actual data at view/print time) rather than fixed watermarks (specific information entered when a document is protected) ensure that you only have to protect the document once for all users.

In any case, your watermark (in the form of text or a graphic image) can be placed over or underneath the content (or sometimes both) and can be positioned anywhere on the document. It can also be darker or lighter (controlled opacity) than the content, allowing for a seamless blend and ensuring that the watermark is less visually distracting. You can even customize it so that the watermark is only displayed when a print is made and not when the document is being viewed on screen.

Mind you, there are ways to remove watermarks from PDF documents (even if they can be tedious) and, hence, it is imperative to make this removal process as difficult as possible. An ideal solution is to start using document security watermarks as part of a comprehensive DRM system that disallows printing as well as preventing screen grabbing so that copies of documents cannot be made.

All these DRM controls, in combination with watermarking techniques, will help you avoid document piracy by making it extremely difficult for anyone to remove the watermarks.

We hope that the above information about watermarking for increased document security proves valuable.

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