Workshare keeps sensitive information out of e-mail
Policy-enforced protection sanitizes Office docs, PDFs
Adobe’s Acrobat PDF is a persuasive document format with reasonable security settings. It’s expensive to outfit a large organization with the full security package, however, so I especially liked Workshare Protect’s built-in PDF converter. Here, I merely opened a PowerPoint slide show, selected “Publish to PDF” from the File menu, and picked the desired Acrobat security settings (including password and no printing). The document was faithfully converted to PDF, password-protected, and attached to an e-mail message. Moreover, Protect followed the rules to keep this message from going to outside e-mail addresses.
Another useful feature is the PDF conversion tool. Workshare Protect automatically checks and then converts Office documents to PDF when they are attached to an e-mail message. This is useful because not every recipient has the capability to view Word documents, and you can apply the more stringent Acrobat security across the board (you can also turn off the auto-conversion with a policy setting). In the same way, Protect will ZIP and optionally password protect attachments that exceed a set file size.
Although Workshare Protect 4.5 does its job nicely, there are gaps. In its current form, types of communications other than e-mail go unmonitored, and there are few forensic functions. Adding a Network Protect option would make Workshare more competitive with data leak products that scan various types of communications, such as Webmail.
Workshare is addressing some of these holes with the Protect Enterprise Suite, planned for third quarter 2006. Protect Enterprise Suite will have a Policy Management Server for centrally managing policies and audit reporting, and policies will be XML files for more extensive customization.
Still, given the straightforward operation, Protect is a good line of defense against one of the most prevalent types of insider threats. For organizations that distribute a lot of Word and PDF files, Workshare Protect 4.5 successfully follows the ABCs of document security: Alerting users of violations, Blocking where appropriate, and Curing the problem when possible.
Read more about storage in InfoWorld's Storage Channel.