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Beyond the Black Box: 4 Tips for Securely Handling Redacted Documents

By Nikki Manthey | 2024 May 30

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4 min

Summary: With trillions of gigs of personal data in existence, keeping private information private is more important than ever. Apryse redaction solutions provide top-tier security to keep your data safe. Here are four tips on how to securely handle redacted documents.

Document redaction is one of the oldest and most effective ways of keeping confidential info safe. With digital transformation in full swing across every industry and zettabytes (1 zettabyte = 1 trillion GB) of personal information out there in the world, keeping private data private is more important than ever. Fortunately, redaction technology has changed significantly since the days of manually covering content on physical paper with a marker or tape.

In a digital world, the cost of redaction errors can be extreme, both cost-wise and customer trust-wise. For example, a simple copy and paste on a redacted 2017 court document revealed that Facebook was considering selling their customer data for US$250,000.

With so much on the line, secure end-to-end document redaction workflows are essential. Read on for four tips on how to securely handle redacted documents, and learn how tools like Apryse WebViewer can help.

To learn more about redaction, read our Ultimate Redaction Guide.

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Tip 1: Use reliable and permanent redaction tools

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The main issue with redaction methods like Sharpies, tape, or drawing a black rectangle on top of PDF content is that this only obscures the data by adding an extra layer – it doesn’t remove it. This means the “undercover” data could be exposed at any time with just a little bit of ingenuity, which can be problematic in regulated industries like finance and legal. So it’s important to choose a redaction tool that completely and permanently removes the info.

Plus, manually redacting data, even on digital documents, is time-consuming and resource-intensive. Automated redaction solutions like WebViewer can save your business time and money.

Here are a couple of other helpful redaction features Apryse WebViewer offers:

  • Regex-based redaction: If you want to search for and automatically redact data that has a recurring pattern or format, WebViewer supports regular expression-based redaction.
  • Redact at scale: Precisely and quickly redact confidential info across more than 30 document formats at any scale, including entire document libraries and repositories.
  • Redaction verification: Since WebViewer redaction is permanent and can’t be undone, there’s a visual verification feature that enables you to review the info that’s marked for removal.

If you’d like to try out Apryse WebViewer’s redaction capabilities yourself, check out the demo.

Tip 2: Go meta for complete document redaction

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You might think that once the information is redacted visually, it’s gone for good. Unfortunately, some redaction solutions miss the document metadata like timestamps, author names, and revision history. With a bit more ingenuity this time, unauthorized users could potentially use the metadata to reconstruct redacted data.

Just as it does with visual data, WebViewer also removes the metadata during redaction, helping keep your documents safer.

Plus, WebViewer offers client-side document processing, which means the information never needs to leave authorized devices. Eliminating the requirement for third-party processing adds another layer of security to keep confidential documents confidential.

Learn how SS&C Intralinks uses Apryse redaction solutions to safeguard billion-dollar deals.

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Tip 3: Stay on top of document version control

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The more versions of a document there are, the likelier it is that an unredacted version will accidentally be shared with unauthorized parties. Certain confidential documents, like legal contracts, often go through several rounds of review, revision, and approval, which usually results in multiple versions. Not only can this be confusing for all stakeholders, it increases the risk of a confidential data leak.

Apryse WebViewer enables redaction and review to take place on a single document version, meaning everyone who has authorization can access the latest information. Stakeholders can suggest redactions and make comments before securely and permanently redacting the data.

Tip 4: Educate and train employees

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To err is human. Unfortunately, people trying to gain unauthorized access to data often use human thoughts and emotions to get what they’re after. This is called social engineering. One of the best ways to safeguard against social engineering and data breaches, especially when it comes to how redacted documents are handled, is offering employee education and training.

Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Emphasize the importance of security: Ensure your employees are aware of the potential consequences that come with improper handling of redacted documents.
  • Establish processes: Implement rigorous data security processes and make sure all employees who handle sensitive information are aware of, and follow, these processes.
  • Offer regular training sessions: Hackers and bad faith actors are always looking for new ways to gain access. Make sure your employees stay up to date and can protect themselves by offering regular security training sessions and refresher courses.
  • Provide intuitive security tools: The simpler a redaction tool is to use, the easier it is for employees to get up to speed on how to effectively safeguard data.

To learn more about Apryse WebViewer’s capabilities, check out this informative video:

Keep your confidential information safe with Apryse document redaction

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If you’re ready to take document security to the next level, start your 30-day trial of Apryse today. Or, if you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with our team anytime.

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Nikki Manthey

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