Remember when leaks were whispered from one person to the next? Though damaging, a single leak wouldn't necessarily gain widespread attention. Today, thanks to the Internet, leaks can spread like wildfire. While keeping your confidential data safe from prying eyes is a top priority, there are often occasions when you must share it with outside parties. Any time you do so, your data is at risk of being leaked. Use the tips below to contain your data so that it cannot be easily shared beyond its immediate recipients.
1. Implement and enforce restrictions. For example, Adobe Acrobat Pro includes robust document protection and security features that allow you to restrict printing, copying, editing, page extraction, and much more. In addition to protecting documents at the document level, you may want to take it a step further by using a data room for even more secure data sharing. With a data room, you can restrict access to documents to specific individuals as well as view detailed audit logs after the data has been shared.
2. Set user roles and permissions. By creating different levels of access, you can help to ensure that data is shared appropriately. For example, you may be comfortable sharing your company's business plan and profit and loss statements with a high level banker or investor but less comfortable disclosing that data to their other staff members.
3. Take the "on a need to know basis" approach. While it's often easier to hand over file after file so that nothing is overlooked, it's smarter to be clear on what is needed and share only that. What do the other parties truly need to know in order to move forward? Why do they need to know it? If other sensitive information is contained within a document, do they need to know that information or should you redact it?
4. Use non-disclosure agreements. Always use NDAs. NDAs put others on notice that they are legally bound to respect the confidentiality of the information you share. While a document cannot guarantee that the recipient will not share your secrets, it does put recipients on notice that you take confidentiality seriously and will not tolerate data leaks.
5. Make it obvious that your data is for their eyes only. Make sure to include reminders that the information you are sharing is confidential. Watermarks emblazoned on every page of a PDF document marked "confidential" are a good deterrent. Even better are watermarks that include the recipient's name and email address. After all, those documents would instantly reveal who shared them.
6. Use a data sharing platform with features that make all of the above easy. A virtual data room makes it possible to implement and enforce restrictions, set user roles and permissions, share data with care, automate NDAs, watermark documents with recipients' details, track and monitor access, and much more. With a data room, containment can minimize the risk of data leaks.