How To Use PDF To Secure Your Documents

Are your personal documents completely secure? While it’s easy to keep paperwork in a locked filing cabinet or drawer that only you can access, many people fail to acknowledge that there’s a more convenient digital space where they can keep their files. 

How many of your critical files are left unprotected in a folder on your hard drive? Those files might include tax returns and financial records, personal information, or startup secrets you’d like to keep private.

Businesses often face the need to prevent unauthorized employees from accessing personnel data or financial files, and others may face similar threats on their personal devices too. Luckily, there’s a simple method in keeping your personal digital files secure while maintaining ease of access. 

Did you know that a PDF file can provide your security needs by storing confidential information? Read on to know more. 

Why Use PDF To Keep Important Information Secure?

Why choose a PDF for security? PDF has multiple advantages as a document format, from its portability to its consistency across devices and operating systems. Today, people are looking for the best PDF solution for robust document security and accessibility.

Encryption Basics: Protecting PDFs With Passwords 

The easiest way to protect information is to convert files into PDF format and secure them with a strong password. Most PDF editors try to make this process as easy as possible, requiring only a few clicks for you to lock any PDF file. 

PDF solutions use AES-128 or AES-256 industry standards for computer encryption, depending on the length of the ‘key’ that unlocks the code. Once you’ve password-protected a PDF with this encryption, a snooper can’t break in and see its contents—all they’ll find is a password prompt they can’t answer. Trying to guess the password would take them approximately 10 quadrillion years. In other words, it would be impossible for them to guess the password.  

Choosing The Right Passwords

The strength of your password determines the overall security of your files and folders. If you use information that’s easy to guess, such as your birthday, or a predictable string of letters and numbers as your password, a persistent intruder might figure it out on their own. 

Avoid writing your passwords down and leaving them posted to your computer monitor. Choose passwords that you can easily memorize, but difficult to guess. Moreover, avoid reusing passwords for multiple documents. As long as you remember and apply these practices, your documents will remain safe from intruders. 

Limit Functionality

Sometimes, you need to allow other users to open a file, but you don’t want them to modify or print the document. Most users password-protect their documents and restrict use. With the right PDF editor, you can apply these functions by requiring a password for modifying, opening, or deleting a file. You can also restrict features such as printing, editing, and copying any information from the secured file.

Don’t enable the same password to open other files and authorize specific actions. With a strong password, you can enjoy the feeling of certainty in preventing unwanted access and information theft.

Securely Sign Documents Through Electronic Signature

Security isn’t always about storage. In some cases, it’s about authenticity. Nowadays, office paperwork can now become legally binding online through electronic signatures. 

By using security certificates, you can assure that a file not only originated from a genuine user, but also wasn’t tampered with. 

Certificate-based security is a convenient option for professionals and an easy way to communicate online without increased risk. For example, when a lawyer sends a document to sign regarding an estate, the client can sign the document using their PDF editor. Then, their software will automatically generate a certificate that serves as proof of authenticity. When the lawyer receives the signed file back, they can immediately verify that no unauthorized person read or modified the document. 

Prioritize The Security Of Your Documents

Although businesses and similar industries are more susceptible to hackers and identity thieves, they can prevent these by strengthening the security of their document repository. 

From basic password protection to certificate security, there are various ways to secure your confidential documents by using the PDF format and the right software tools. Take advantage of these options for greater peace of mind and stronger security. 

About the Author

Ben Liu – eCommerce Director at Kofax

Ben Liu’s an experienced eCommerce director in Irvine, California with more than 15 years building brands and refining the development of revenue streams. After generating more than $100 million of incremental revenue improvements in previous positions for heavy hitters across the tech industry, Ben joined the Kofax team. Now a driving force behind innovative marketing efforts and the growing popularity of Kofax Power PDF with SMBs, he continues to improve outreach via innovative chat bots, data-driven marketing analysis, and a dedication to consumer-first content. By bringing an engineer’s eye for detail to Kofax along with a passion for helping brands reach their potential, Ben’s charting a course for continued success at Kofax.

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