Is Document Security Preventing You From Going Green?

By Adi Ruppin posted 10-13-2010 09:39


All ready to go green?

Like many others, you’ve probably invested heavily in converting documents to digital format and built e-commerce infrastructure to help you become more efficient -- and green. Instead of using FedEx to send out contracts, reports and other sensitive documents, you can now save a bundle by doing it all electronically.  Or can you?

Not so fast

Here’s the catch: while there’s a clear ROI and clear environmental benefits to going digital, once you do so, it becomes exceedingly easy for people receiving your documents to forward them to others (inadvertently or on purpose), make copies or make derivative works. For this reason, many companies are hesitant to go paperless. The loss of revenue -- or the irreversible damage as a result of intellectual property leaks -- needs to be addressed if we wish to go green.

So what kind of information are people and companies hesitant to share? It could be eBooks or training materials, financial or real estate research reports, product specs, reports to the board or limited partners, and many more. As a result of this hesitation, companies are still resorting to mail, FedEx or even to shipping information on non-photocopy blue paper.

So what can you do?

Companies trying to solve this problem with existing, in-house resources often find doing so is difficult.. Simple solutions such as placing passwords on documents or using basic encryption techniques are bound to fail, as recipients can easily forward passwords along to others.  This dilemma calls for a tool that provides control over documents, a tool that prevents the unauthorized copying, printing and forwarding of documents at all times. New solutions are emerging that do just that.

When looking for a solution, make sure you ask the following questions:

  1. Can I restrict my recipients from copying, printing or forwarding the document content?
  2. Can I revoke access to documents even after they have been downloaded?
  3. Can I track my documents and know who viewed them, where and when?
  4. Can I protect my documents without installing software or plug-ins or forcing my recipients to do so?

To properly secure your information, make sure the answer is “yes” to all four questions.

What’s in it for me?

Let’s consider an example. A company needs to share certain reports with 1,000 paying customers. These reports currently go out every month via FedEx. Let’s also assume each customer pays a $2,000 subscription fee.



Current cost per customer

$8 - $80 (depending on delivery preferences)

Number of customers


Number of reports per year


Revenue per year

$2 million

Total cost per year

$96,000 - $960,000

Potential leakage when going paperless (assuming 5-10 percent loss of business)

$100,000 - $200,000

So, electronic delivery can save $100,000 to $1 million per year. But, it can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue, assuming even a modest number of leakage incidents. This is without mentioning other more severe consequences, such as the loss of proprietary information and the company’s competitive edge.

With a document control solution in place, companies enjoy all the savings with none of the dangers. This means they can, and should, go green. It’s faster, cheaper and more secure than ever before.

Lessons learned:

  • Companies’ investments in paperless delivery often end up unused due to security concerns.
  • End-to-end document control and delivery enables companies to transact faster, more reliably, and more cost-effectively than with paper.
  • Savings come from both eliminating the cost of paper and from revenue saved by curbing content leaking to unauthorized users.

Adi Ruppin is vice president of marketing for Confidela. Confidela's WatchDox is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that enables the confidential sharing of important or sensitive documents in an easy and secure way.

#confidela #documentsecurity #goinggreen #watchdox #enterprise2.0