When it comes to document metadata management, prevention is the best cure. Run a Google search on the term metadata leaks and you will be presented with thousands of examples of law firms, government departments, and political parties having published documents that contain confidential, embarrassing, or private information.
Metadata leaks are preventable. Metadata cleaning software removes metadata from documents, eliminating the risk of unintentional information leakage. Law firms big, small, and solo need to look at metadata management software as a business-critical application in the same way they do a word processing application. It’s a “must-have” technology.
5 reasons why documents should be cleaned
Metadata in documents can be application-generated such as author name, creation date, modified date, edit time etc.; metadata such as comments or track changes are user-generated. Metadata can also be generated in ways that may not seem as obvious, but are just as dangerous. Equally dangerous are hidden text and embedded objects.
Hidden text – adding white text on a white background may be invisible to the reader, but it can still be read and displayed by your computer. Simply select all the text in the document and change the color to black or blue.
Embedded objects - it is not unusual to copy part of an Excel spreadsheet, for example, into a document. You may not be aware, but you are actually embedding the entire spreadsheet into the document. Double-clicking on the embedded file will expose the contents of the spreadsheet to the reader.
Improper redaction - many document authors still persist in redacting text and images using a masking technique. Placing a black box or rectangle over text is not the same as redacting. The covered up text can be easily exposed by the reader.
Document automation - law firms use document assembly tools to automatically fill in document variables in document templates when creating contracts and letters. In many cases, fields added to the document can have hidden metadata associated with them.
Cloud collaboration - firms that need to upload documents to a collaborative workspace in the cloud need to make sure documents are cleansed of metadata before doing so.
Metadata management for all users on all devices
The world of email is much more complex than it used to be. Firms need to cover more email exit points -- desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet as well as web access email. Adding to the complexity is the BYOD trend.
cleanDocs for desktop and mobile users is a breakthrough technology that delivers on speed, flexibility and control to protect against accidental leaks.
cleanDocs removes more than 100 metadata types from MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, PDF/A and ZIP files in microseconds thanks to new technologies and multi-threaded processing. Administrators can establish enterprise-wide policies to ensure all documents sent from the desktop and mobile devices are cleaned of metadata.
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Don’t forget to download a copy of our new white paper Metadata management in 2015 requires a rethink.