Intralinks Document Locking & Protection: Five Steps to Building Control and Security into Document Management

Earlier this year, we worked on an exciting project to significantly expand Intralinks’ existing document protection feature. It goes beyond securing Adobe PDF documents to securing all types of Microsoft Office files both inside and outside the firewall. This kind of project, which allowed us to apply new technology to pressing business problems, was interesting to work on and was extremely useful to our clients – more than 15,000 of our users have protected their documents since this spring.


18 September 2009

Earlier this year, we worked on an exciting project to significantly expand Intralinks’ existing document protection feature. It goes beyond securing Adobe PDF documents to securing all types of Microsoft Office files both inside and outside the firewall. This kind of project, which allowed us to apply new technology to pressing business problems, was interesting to work on and was extremely useful to our clients – more than 15,000 of our users have protected their documents since this spring.

When we developed this feature, we took many parameters into consideration, and I’d like to share my “top 5” with you as an example of how this capability was built.

Support for PDF and Office Formats
This may seem obvious, but the first step in this project was to listen to clients, who were saying they needed access and printing security not just for PDF files but also Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. (We have provided PDF protection for hundreds of thousands of documents for more than 5 years.) When we introduced Office protection in March 2009, it was an immediate success with close to 50,000 documents protected in the first 6 months. I attribute some of this success to features that are really useful to professionals, like the ability for users in financial services to protect Excel formulas in their native format.

Security Inside and Outside the Firewall
Intralinks users have full, real-time control to grant or revoke view/print access to all of their protected documents. This can be done using our bulk utilities very quickly or can be applied more granularly to individual documents and users. Once an Intralinks user wants to remove access to any of their documents, they can revoke privileges immediately.

File Sharing Prevention
Intralinks clients can lock any of their users to their primary computer, which prevents them from sharing the password to access these protected documents. Intralinks also supports watermarking to help protected documents from being shared or compromised. (More on that later.) By developing a comprehensive solution for documents, we can now also prevent screen capture using Windows, and protect users Office documents from being copied using screen capture utilities or shared using common web conferencing tools.

Dynamic and Configurable Watermarking
Watermarking is a key feature to show branding and ownership, as well as a means to protect against low-tech copying such as using a digital camera. Intralinks built our watermarks to be highly customizable for location, color and intensity. For many of our customers, this is an important way to communicate their brand and image on all business-critical documents they distribute.

Full Audit Tracking and Reports
Intralinks built in the capability to track every view and print for each protected document, as well as to generate reports that show the activity on these documents. We also built a “heat map” and detailed trending reports of activity over time to help support our client’s decision making.

Trending Report: (Click on an image for larger view):

DL&P Report 1

Heat Map: (Click on an image for larger view):

DL&P Report 2