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As you’ve probably heard, the purpose of GDPR is to protect EU citizens from organizations that might use their data irresponsibly. In today’s blog post, we’ll cover what this recent regulation means to IT Professionals, what their biggest challenges are, and how PDFelement can help! EU citizens now have the authority to decide what information to share with organizations, how and where to share it, and whether they want to delete their personal information from any database if they so choose. GDPR and the IT Professional With GDPR replacing the Data Protection Act of 1998, it becomes more critical that businesses, especially IT services, should know everything they need to about the changes that have been brought forth inlegislation. Better understanding means better compliance with the regulations and fewer chances of penalties. Challenges of existing approaches to documents for IT Professionals Document storage: Every item of personal information that you store in printed or digital documents is subject to GDPR regulations. Typically, files are stored in a range of different formats, including: – • Editable documents (such as Microsoft Word files) that can be easily edited, and are therefore insecure • Unencrypted PDF files with no access control Document sharing: Internal collaboration sees documents shared across multiple locations – with little or no user accountability. In addition, many businesses share entire documents as a matter of process, even if only one piece of the document is truly relevant to processing. Meanwhile, the growth in sharing via email and cloud services has also dramatically increased the risk of data leakage. Human error accounts for a large proportion of data breaches and most documents can be opened by anyone that has access to the file. 5 Ways PDFelement can help: 1. Conversion of all Office document file types to PDFs – Getting documents out of paper and into digital office files is an essential first step toward GDPR compliance. PDFelement allows you to create industry standard PDF files that are fully compliant with all PDF viewers on virtually any device. • Batch PDF creation from over 300 file formats • Print to PDF from almost any application 2. Data Redaction Redacting data can allow companies to remove the sensitive or identifying data, without removing the entire record. This makes the process simpler and less invasive. 3. Encryption and Password Protection Encrypt documents with 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption levels, and permissions settings to control the viewing, printing, and modification of files. 4. Convert scanned documents into editable PDF files A paper-free office has long been a dream for many people. Quickly convert paper documents into searchable and editable PDF files you can organize, share and protect. 5. Archiving PDF/A is an ISO-standardized version of the Portable Document Format (PDF) specialized for use in the archiving and long-term preservation of electronic documents. Make sure you stay up-to-date with this important privacy protection legislation! If you have any other tips let us know in the comments below.
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!
PDFelement posted a blog entry in PDFelement BlogDue to the increasing advancements made in technology and software, devices have become more and more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Sectors including finance, private businesses, and even education are no longer safe from cybercriminals. Bank records are of particular interest and importance to cybercriminals. These bank records provide you with the entire financial history of an individual, and both the amounts and descriptions can be changed for electronic payments by these hackers. Deposits and balances can be altered and manipulated. This is one of the reasons that credit card and bank statements are often downloaded through the bank's website in PDF format instead of getting hard copies through the mail. This practice has now become increasingly common as banks across the globe are encouraged to go paperless. The reason why the finance sector and banks are adamant on adopting PDF as their main format is because of the benefits it brings. Some advantages of PDF include: • Document formatting is maintained Many bankers face a common problem when sharing documents. When they send a document made in Microsoft Word or any other word processor, the formatting can change once it reaches the other person who is viewing it on a different device. This can cause confusion, and also can make you look unprofessional to a client. However, with PDF format you can relax because this format presents your document exactly as you’ve originally formatted them. So, even if the receiver makes changes or additions to the document, the format will stay the same. PDF format is also great for sending documents that need to be printed out. • PDF is universal across all operating systems The PDF format is commonly used around the world, and due to this, it can be viewed and shared very easily, regardless of the device or operating system used. Whether you are sharing this format with someone in the same city as you or on the other side of the globe, PDF is the safest choice to use. Banks have many international clients, which is why the PDF format can prove to be very useful for them when sharing bank statements with their clients on the other side of the world. Some formats require a specific program or have particular requirements in order for it to work properly. However, this is not the case with PDFs. These PDF files can work with any operating system whether it’s a PC or a Mac and it works even on newer mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android. • Password protection When you are working in the finance sector, you are bound to handle sensitive information belonging to customers and clients, such as their credit card number, social security number, address, name, etc. When sharing such sensitive information, the risk of being hacked by cybercriminals can be very strong, however, there is no need to worry when working with PDF files as they can be protected with a password. You can also redact sensitive information, blacking it out so that the data is kept safe. As a result, these files can be kept away from prying eyes and help keep your clients' bank information and credit card statement well protected, which also improves your company reputation. • Form Processing and Data Extraction With programs like PDFelement, you can pull important data from PDF forms for easy analysis, risk assessment, and more. Use rules-based data extraction to analyze key points within each PDF document, or create a master template with classified form fields. This is great for creating client-facing application forms. Plus, you can easily manage credit risk with the data gathered from the PDF forms you have on file. With one-click form creation, you can build forms easily from Microsoft office file types like Word. By using PDFs, you no longer have to worry about your client not being able to view bank statements, or that the formatting of your PDF will not show up correctly. You also have less to worry about in terms of sensitive data being leaked or being unable to extract and analyze data. To find out more about how PDFelement can help when it comes to working in Finance and Banking, visit our Finance and Banking page. Have any other tips for how the PDF format is useful within the finance field? Let us know in the comments below!
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