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Lock down Microsoft Word

Posted on 2015-01-07
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Last Modified: 2015-02-02
Hi,

A client of mine is asking if we can lock down files such as MS word and excel to stop staff from copying the context of the documents and using them for another company, basically they want to stop staff from stealing important documentation and using it at a new employer if they ever leave.

For now I have marked the folder with the relevant documents in as read only but this will not stop staff from saving the files off as a different name or copying and pasting into a new document.

I don't think anything can be done but thought I would ask he question anyway.

Thanks
R
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Question by:ryank85
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7 Comments
 
LVL 37

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by:Neil Russell
Neil Russell earned 200 total points
ID: 40536588
Have a good read all about DRM Digital Rights Management OR Information Rights Management.

Lots of offerings although Microsoft do do there own and that works as well as any.

https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/Information-Rights-Management-in-Office-2010-c7a70797-6b1e-493f-acf7-92a39b85e30c?ui=en-US&rs=en-GB&ad=GB
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rspahitz earned 200 total points
ID: 40536912
You could always save the Word doc as a PDF, which can be made read-only so the text cannot be copied, or otherwise turn the doc into an image.  Of course, that means that you will no longer be able to edit the document unless you have a master file elsewhere saved in Word (in which case, you'll need to have file-level permissions set to prevent these same people from getting to the originals.
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by:Neil Russell
Neil Russell earned 200 total points
ID: 40536936
There are lots of free tools and web services that will extract Text and images from PDF files.

DRM/IRM is the only way to make a real stab at protection.  But so long as you allow printing or screen shots to be taken, you have lost the battle.
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LVL 23

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by:Danny Child
Danny Child earned 100 total points
ID: 40536943
Even PDFs are vulnerable, but you can get plug-ins to help with it, but it's not an easy issue to resolve.   Users can take screenshots of documents, or even use a mobile phone to take pictures of the screen.

If they really want to nail it down, one that I've seen used on documents sent to us is LockLizard:
http://www.locklizard.com/pdf_security.htm

You may also want to review employment contracts with staff in terms of Intellectual Property and related penalties for theft of data.  

Also, lock down USB sockets and writeable media to prevent data exports, and also limit (and log) all email access so all attachments are monitored.    We use Lumension Device Control - pretty solid.
https://www.lumension.com/device-control-software/usb-security-protection.aspx

Or, make the job so cool that no-one wants to leave, ever!
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LVL 22

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by:rspahitz
rspahitz earned 200 total points
ID: 40537170
Ultimately, this probably comes down to the legal department making sure that all employees sign agreements that they won't take company info without permission so that the company protects itself.  It doesn't mean that it won't happen, but the company can take legal action to help itself.
Oh, and having digital "watermarks", like Google has on its maps, could help since it's hard to take those out of images of things.
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by:Martin Liss
ID: 40584430
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 125 points for Neilsr's comment #a40536588
Assisted answer: 125 points for DanCh99's comment #a40536943
Assisted answer: 125 points for rspahitz's comment #a40537170
Assisted answer: 125 points for rspahitz's comment #a40536912

for the following reason:

This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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