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How to Protect your Documents from Screen Grabbing

Information is one of the most valuable assets any entity can have. But, in the wrong hands, it could be used to topple whole empires. It is for this reason that you should guard your data against prying eyes. This is not easy and efforts to do so often bear no fruit because the people who are trusted are usually the ones who betray the trust and share the information.

 

You may hand such trusted people copies of what you consider secure documents, only for them to find a way around the security measures and sell the documents to the highest bidder. Alternatively, they could leave the files open on their desktop long enough for someone else to see them and make a copy. Once this happens, you can be sure you will be facing dire consequences.

 

So, you must make sure that you do everything in your power to ensure this does not happen to you. This means you should prevent users from editing, copying and pasting, sending documents by email, copying files directly to portable devices (such as mobile phones and USB sticks), and using screen grabbers.

 

Our focus here is mostly on how you can prevent screen grabs. Screen grabbers are apps or computer functions that record whatever is on the screen at a particular time in the form of an image. In the case of sensitive documents, you can see how that presents a problem, especially since people can now collate pictures and convert them into a PDF file. This ability to record images is more commonly referred to as a “screenshot” and is widely used and available.

 

While it is essential for people to sometimes take screenshots, you must admit that it cannot be allowed to run unchecked, especially when working with sensitive files. If you are wise, you will look for and choose a Digital Rights Management (DRM) platform that offers the most control over screenshots. Of course, you need to consider this alongside all the other areas of document protection that you need.

 

Some document DRM products have the screen grabber protection feature on by default. You can always choose to disable it. However, we strongly advise against that course of action.

 

Most DRM manufacturers also take it upon themselves to stay up to date on new and old screen grabbing apps. They use this data to create countermeasures that stop such apps from working whenever a protected document is open on a desktop. This is not enough as more and more apps are made for the same function every single day which means that DRM systems will always be a step behind in this regard unless they use other functionality to stop screen grabbing.

 

Fortunately, this is possible. Any document DRM system worth its salt will use proprietary technology to process and view documents. This means you and anyone you share your document with must launch an app before viewing a protected document. This can work to your advantage whereby you apply a mask on the document. This feature will become active whenever someone moves their mouse away from the viewer and on to other apps on the desktop. It, therefore, covers the information before anyone can take a screenshot.

 

However, if the document security protocol you are using does not have control over the copying and pasting functions, then your cause is already lost. So, make sure that the prevention of screen grabbers is complementary to copy protection in all its other forms.

 

In addition, you cannot touch on screen grabbers without touching on mobile phones and their ability to take pictures. This could prove a nuisance even if all other measures to protect the document prove effective. Yet, it is nearly impossible to stop people from bringing their mobile devices to work, assuming that is where they can use your documents. People also take their work home with them on their laptops, tablets, and so on. Considering how advanced the cameras in these devices are, you are much better off choosing a countermeasure. Enter the watermark.

 

While watermarks are one of the old document protection techniques, something about them still works today. A dynamic watermark will display information about who was using the document when the picture was taken. This makes it less appealing for a person to steal a document and share it by taking photos due to the legal ramifications that may follow.

 

All in all, if you protect your documents from screen grabbing by using the above tips, you will be one step closer to overall document security. Your business empire will not be falling anytime soon, at least not because of your information leaking to the world. Invest in the right document security and make worrying about screen grabbers a thing of the past.

 

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