GPS Tracking for Your Files — With Information Rights Management

Like the evolution of GPS, we need similar innovation for data. Information rights management (IRM) can track a file and provide total security and control.

3 September 2014


It's hard to believe that consumer GPS navigation has been around for more than a decade. Prior to that, GPS was predominately used for navigation by only the military — the rest of us relied on printed maps and the guy at the gas station for directions.

With the GPS technology available today, you can pinpoint your exact location anywhere on Earth to within about six feet. Even mobile phones can do this.

It’s a remarkable innovative leap which we now take completely for granted.

We need similar innovation for our data — wouldn’t it be helpful — amazingly insightful even — to be able to know, in real time, where all of your information is? For example, if you shared a file with a business partner, wouldn’t it be valuable to know if that person forwarded the file to his or her colleagues and business partners — or to your competitor in China?

Get Where You’re Going — Now  

The ability to track a file, like FedEx tracks a package, is available today, but it isn’t widely used. Many businesses aren’t securing or tracking their sensitive information the way they should — that is clear by how many data breaches we’ve seen recently in the news.

Standard security procedures and processes only go so far. Without end-to-end encryption, your document can go off course — authorized recipients of an encrypted file can very easily copy, share, save, or print an unencrypted version of that document.

Lucky for us, there’s a solution today that provides complete document security and control — information rights management (IRM). And similar to the evolution of GPS, rights management technology has evolved as well. Rights management started out as a way protect publisher’s rights to digital content such as music and movies. From this, IRM evolved, to protect sensitive business information and intellectual property through the use of plugins. Now, IRM can be used plugin-free and integrated into the tools we use every day (such as Microsoft Office) for greater ease of use and adoption.

Document Travel the IRM Way

When you have proper encryption and access controls acting as your file’s own private guide, that file will never go off track and end up in the wrong person’s hands.

You, as the content owner, can grant permission access to each file individually. You determine who is allowed to interact with each file and in what way — for instance, you can grant rights to view, share, print, save, etc.

You can set an expiration date on the document or remotely revoke access to a document at any time. This keeps you in the driver’s seat, with full control over where your information travels.

IRM technology embeds security and access control at the file level, both in transit and at rest. When a recipient opens a file, his or her unique user ID will be checked against what is stored in the document before the user is able to interact with it.

The Right Path to Data Compliance

With IRM, you can track and report on document activity. The owner will always know how the content is being viewed and shared — a common regulatory requirement for organizations. Since IRM secures the file itself, sensitive financial or proprietary information (for example) can be shared both internally and externally — regardless of the devices used, there are identical levels of security.

When you have complete control over your information, you reduce the risk of it getting lost or falling into the wrong hands. And if you happen to veer off-course along the way, you can simply pick up your mobile phone and call your information security provider’s 24/7 support team.

Our advice: Take advantage of technology today and plot the path your documents take before you share them. With IRM, your information truly remains in your control — even when it’s on a journey.

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