Rules and regulations enforced by governments are there for your benefit. If they were not there, it would be total anarchy around the world. This is also true in the case of document security.

Nonetheless, legislation takes quite a long time to enact. For this reason, laws have not been able to keep up with the changes in technology. As a result, people were previously able to get away with selling confidential information or even being careless enough to let it fall into the wrong hands.  The use of storing documents in electronic form has made this a more pressing issue since electronic copies can be easily duplicated and shared.

Luckily, regulation is catching up and now ensures that the responsible parties pay the price for their actions. As such, there are various laws in place that give guidelines on how to handle confidential information and documents.   These include:

  • Sarbanes Oxley Act which focuses on proper and secure control of corporate information.
  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) which covers the use of personal data
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) which is focused upon the financial sector
  • NIST SP 800-171 for Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Non-federal Information Systems and Organizations.

People and even enterprises should be familiar with these regulations as well as how they can comply with them least they find themselves in trouble for doing the contrary.  For that, the information below might prove useful.

Access Compliance

Most documents are only intended for some people’s eyes, especially in a corporate setup. For example, it might constitute a breach of privacy if someone other than the authorized party sees a document. This is also sometimes against the law, such as with doctor-patient confidentiality.

With DRM, you are always aware of who saw a document, when they did so, and from where they opened it. Also, only authorized users get access. So, in essence, you prevent unauthorized people from seeing such information and you can prove that you did everything possible to prevent documents from being leaked. Likewise, a user cannot delegate their access rights to another person.

Also, you may at times need to show that your firm complies fully with the business processes that have been set as law by the government. A document DRM system keeps records and hence can help you prove that.

Legal Access and Other Third Parties

It may sometimes be necessary to share information with lawyers due to a court order. Nonetheless, you do not need to share everything and should only share what is relevant. If you do give unfettered access, someone might go fishing and obtain some information that they should not see.

With the aid of a document DRM system, you can ensure that lawyers stay within the boundaries of those documents which they are allowed to see and nothing more.

This concept also applies to third parties who may need access to company documents, such as shareholders, investment groups, and supervisory board members. There are also current regulations that emphasize this.

Document Retention

Some laws require that you maintain records for at least six years. In some scenarios, the period can even be extended to 40 or 75 years. Once the period has elapsed, you may need to get rid of all the copies of that particular document.

There is an easy way to erase all electronic copies as soon as the period elapses and it does not even require much labor. You can use a DRM system to set an expiry date for documents and when the expiry date is reached, the DRM system will automatically render all copies of the document inaccessible and, therefore, practically “destroyed”. This applies even to copies of documents that employees took home with them on their devices.

Documents can also be revoked if you need to stop access before an expiry date is reached.


The law is very clear about the use of sensitive documents and how corporations and individuals should handle them. Since there is little choice in whether or not one complies, all that is left is to make the best of the situation. After all, it cannot be all that hard to make the right decision after coming to terms with that.

Incorporating document DRM into your existing processes can ensure that not only do you comply with legislation but that your documents remain protected from unauthorized users and you can be confident that they are not being misused by those who are authorized to view them.