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In this day and age, security is at the top of everyone’s priority list, especially with the new GDPR regulations brought in this year. Luckily, many PDF tools, including PDFelement, offer security features that help you make sure information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Often, clients or customers are providing businesses with their personal information. From both perspectives, a case of mistaken data leak can be a bad situation. For customers, it exposes them to risks of identity theft, and for businesses this opens them up to a damaged reputation, not to mention potential lawsuits and hefty fines. Yikes! Here are the top 4 ways you can protect your PDFs with tools like PDFelement: 1. Password Protection With tools like PDFelement, you can easily set password restrictions on your document so that not just anyone can open, edit, save, or print it. There are two types of password protection offered by PDFelement – open passwords and permission passwords. Setting an open password means users must enter a password before opening the document. Permissions passwords require users to enter a password before they can access certain functions or settings to alter the document. To add an open or permission in PDFelement, go to the “Protect” tab and click on the “Password” or “Password Management” button. An open password is important if only a few authorized recipients are meant to open and view the file, for instance, sending a confidential form to someone over email. A permissions password is useful if a broad number of users are meant to view the file, but you don’t want just anyone making changes to it. 2. Redaction Need to send a document containing sensitive information to multiple individuals? Perhaps you are publishing a legal or government document that will be viewed by the public. You’ll want to make sure any sensitive personal data is removed or hidden, which can be done through redaction. Redaction permanently removes or hides certain information by placing a dark bar over the information, which can’t be removed. This signals to viewers that sensitive data has been removed. Many private companies or public authorities have to handle sensitive data that requires protection, especially to comply with the recent GDPR regulations that were brought in, which can bring severe financial penalties if they are not followed. To apply redaction in PDFelement, go to the “Protect” tab, and click on either the “Mark for Redaction” or “Search and Redact” button to get started. 3. Digital E-Signatures With everything in business being moved to online platforms these days, it only makes sense that digital signatures would become an increasingly common way to sign documents. Just like signing a paper document by hand, e-signatures digitally authorize a document quickly and conveniently so business can be done much faster. It’s beneficial to look for a PDF program that offers digital signature capabilities. This not only adds a layer of extra protection to your file, but also makes things a lot smoother and easier for all parties involved. Plus, after signing the document, you can lock it with an open or permissions password to protect it even further. To add a digital signature in PDFelement, go to the “Protect” tab, and click on the “Sign Document” or “Place Signature” button. 4. Watermarks & Stamps Lastly, another security measure you can add to your documents is a watermark or a stamp. A watermark is the addition of a certain design or pattern to your document that signifies the company or person that owns it. This is useful because it deters fake copying or altering of the document, as well as clearly shows the original source of the document. Watermarks help to prove the authenticity of a file, and with PDFelement, adding a watermark is simple. Just go to the “Edit” tab, click on the “Watermark” button, and choose whether you want to create a new watermark, update an existing watermark, or remove a watermark from your file. Similarly, stamps add to the authenticity of your document as well. When files include a digitally-authenticated timestamp, you’ll know the content within the file was last changed at that time. Or, the stamp can give you an idea of the last action that was completed on the document. For instance, a stamp can tell you whether it is a draft version, sent for comment or review, or if it has been approved or disapproved. Again, adding stamps is easy in PDFelement. Simply go to the “Comment” tab, click on the stamp button, and select the template you want to use to create your stamp. Have any more tips on how to protect your PDF documents? Let us know in the comments below!
At PDFelement, we believe data security is of the utmost importance. With the recent introduction of GDPR regulations, certain departments are finding the right tools and methods for familiarizing themselves with data security. In today’s post, we’ll discuss what GDPR means to HR professionals, and how PDFelement can help. One primary challenge that HR departments face is the issue of keeping sensitive personal information completely secure and confidential. This need for data security is what has lead to the introduction of a law like GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation. The Idea behind GDPR Legislation has failed to keep up with the tremendous speed at which big data and technology has advanced, specifically when it comes to gathering, storing, and protecting data. Therefore, GDPR has been designed for enhancing data protection as well as the right to privacy for EU citizens, thus giving them more control over personal data and the way it is used. Meaning of GDPR for HR GDPR is a summarization of those legal requirements that need to be met by a company handling the personal data of EU citizens, including the personal data of employees. Companies that fail to fulfill these regulations and are found misusing the personal information will have to pay some very hefty fines. HR teams require consent Consent is an important part of the foundation of the new legislation, and GDPR explicitly states that companies can make use of the personal data only for the purpose it was given for. So, for HR teams, employees must opt-in to allow the employer to use personal data and they should be informed, in detail, how their data will be used. This can be done as an option the candidate checks off on a PDF form and digitally signs using a program like PDFelement, to make their consent explicit and legally binding. This means HR teams must be transparent regarding the data being collected, the purpose for which it is being collected, and the way it will be used. One simple way to clarify this is by handing out a privacy statement that all employees sign. Again, using programs like PDFelement, you can easily create and share privacy statements in PDF format. After that, as part of the HR team, you can only use the data for the given purpose outlined in the statement. If you want to make use of the data for a different purpose, then you need to get written permission separately. Data rights for employees GDPR also extends the rights of those individuals whose data is being used or processed. Such individuals are referred to as data subjects, and the extension of rights has enhanced their entitlement to have their data corrected. In fact, they also have the right to restrict or object to data processing although such rights are commonly not raised in an employment context. Right to be forgotten GDPR also states that employees have the right to be forgotten and they can withdraw their content which means that HR teams must think about what withdrawal of consent means for the system. For instance, are their procedures put in place for deleting employee data? Or, how can you ensure that you are getting rid of every last trace of information stored in your system? Is your entire team completely aware of the importance of complying with GDPR? All these things must be taken into consideration when devising your data-driven HR strategy. Conclusion Data privacy is becoming an increasingly important issue, and failure to comply with the GDPR requirements will only lead to trouble which is why it is important to ensure that HR teams fully understand GDPR. What PDFelement Can Do PDFelement has many features available that help in the process of protecting sensitive and confidential information of employees and candidates. Permission restrictions, redaction tools, watermarks, and digital signatures ensure that the data you are collecting or sharing is fully protected against any sort of unauthorized breach. What are your thoughts on GDPR for HR teams? Let us know in the comments!
There have been many exciting changes to our PDFelement Community, and I’d like to take this moment to point you in the direction of our monthly Tutorial Request Thread! There’s been a lot of feedback regarding the need for additional tutorials and explanations for PDFelement features, so I thought I’d give you a chance to tell me what tutorials you want to see in the future! This week’s tutorial will be on the topic of redaction. I’ve received a few different questions about the redaction tool in the forum over the past few weeks. For those of you who’ve never used this feature before, the redaction tool removes or hides information in a document, usually in the form of blacking sections out; the black bars notify the reader that the text or image contains sensitive information. This way, information can be selectively disclosed, and sensitive parts of the file remain secret. For example, in the United States, court records are made public, so lawyers often go over the transcripts after the trial to redact personal information. Of course, this feature isn’t limited to corporate use, and personal users can utilize redaction to protect their own sensitive information as well! Mac: Step 1: Locate the redaction tool under “Protect” -> “Redact”. You can change the color of redaction on the righthand side. While selecting colors, you’ll be able to see a sample of what the results will look like. Step 2: Highlight the sections that you would like to redact. If you are performing redaction on a document with words, the program will likely detect it and highlight the words (refer to the image below). Otherwise, you can use the pointer to select the area that you would like to black out. Step 3: You can mark all the sections you would like to redact in the document before pressing “Apply Redactions”. It’s important to note that this is a non-reversible procedure. Step 4: Ta-da! You will end up with a blacked out (or other colored out) redaction on all the information that you would like hidden. Switching colors Many people have been asking for a specific whiteout tool, but little do they know, this is it! You can switch the color of your redaction to suit your needs, including making it white. Step 1: Click on the eye dropper Step 2: A “+” sign will appear on the colored circle closest to the right. Click on this for the palette to appear. Step 3: Once you select the color you would like to switch to, the last circle will become that color, appear under “fill color”, and it will show up on the sample section. Windows: On Windows, the procedure is roughly the same: you mark the areas that you would like to redact, then you apply your redaction permanently by selecting “Apply”, which is a separate button. On both versions, you can utilize the sticky note feature to make a note regarding the reason for redaction. You can access this through the menu that pops up when you right-click. To change the color of the redaction on Windows, bring up the “Properties” menu via right-click. A bonus feature for redaction on the Windows software is the ability to search for certain words and redact them all at once. This can be handy when you have a large document and you’re trying to cover all instances of a specific name or phone number. To access this, select the “Search & Redact” function on the ribbon under “Protect”. Type in the word that you would like to redact throughout the document, and all instances of it will be highlighted. And there you have it. That’s my quick and easy guide on how to use the PDFelement redaction tool to secure your information and files. Is there another feature that you would like to see a tutorial on? Feel free to request it in our forum, or in the comments below! Plus, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below as well. By Rebecca Chen, Community Manager at PDFelement