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DRM could be making a comeback in the enterprise

Maria Korolov | Aug. 24, 2015
DRM might be coming back to the enterprise

For example, FinalCode can be deployed DropBox-style, with a shared folder approach that automatically secures files.

"It eliminates the setup of secure file transfers, credentials, and other cludgy or complicated technology," said a CISO at a Boston-based financial firm who did not want to be quoted by name.

For example, he said, executives can drop in legal documents that need to be communicated with outside counsel, he said.

Another use of LastCode is integration with data loss prevention software -- an outgoing document containing sensitive information would be automatically encrypted and secured without any additional action required on the employee's part.

"We want to keep our confidential data confidential but we don't want to kludge up the workflow process," he said.

The company has been testing out FinalCode for the past few weeks, and will be rolling it out to the highest-risk users first, then in a phased approach to everyone else at the company.

How it works

Different vendors approach the problem in different ways. Some allow browser-based access to the shared documents, for example.

FinalCode does not. It requires first-time recipients to install the FinalCode application, which then processes security and encryption for the most common business document types -- Office documents, PDFs, video, audio and image files, and some CAD documents.

FinalCode can be used to, say, allow recipients to edit documents but not to save local copies, make printouts, or take screen shots.

The full client application is available for Windows, and a limited client is available for iOS and Android mobile devices that allows viewing but not editing.

The company plans to release a Macintosh version as well.

There are no plans for browser-based access, however.

"In a browser-based application, people can copy and paste data, take screenshots, and forward the information," said FinalCode COO Scott Gordon. "The browser has limited security controls."

Another restriction is that the documents can only be accessed while the recipient is online. This could be problematic for people working outside the office, or while traveling.

"We're working on a way to open the files if you're in an airplane," he said. "It's on the road map, but not in the product right now."

When it comes to usability and security, he said, there will always be some trade-offs.

"There's no such thing as complete frictionless security," he said. "Security always comes with a level of friction. We're trying to balance user experience and control."

A high degree of transparency is required to gain wide acceptance, said Ogren Group's Ogren.

"Users have to be able to use any document creation tool they want, any storage capability they want, and any distribution mechanism they want," he said -- requirements that would be hard for any security vendor to meet.


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