Blacking out confidential information on important documents is popularly seen often in tv shows and dramas if not in real life, one prime example is the 400 page redacted report by Robert Mueller on the controversies of ex-President Trump’s election.
How to blackout sensitive data In a PDF document?
However, blacking out documents does not simply mean putting a black bar over confidential information or diligently marking out a physical form with a Sharpie and angling it to every office light to confirm the effectiveness of your efforts. Although, in days past you would not have been far off.
Today, "Blacking out" pdf documents is known as the process of redacting Personally Identifiable Information (P.I.I.) from documents usually via an online redaction tool or software.
Beware, however, data masking on the contrary, is the electronic version of using a sharpie on your pdf text; it is ineffective as these masks can be easily lifted by even a novice data-thief.
Data Redaction is what is practiced. It provides the permeance and technical assurance of clearing any trailing metadata data as well as satisfying the imperial connotation we are familiar with by "black-baring" the information present in the visible pdf text as well.
Significance of Data Redaction?
Why Redact a PDF: In an increasingly digital-world, data-fluidity seeps past official offices and legal documents- data redaction has become necessary in everything from tax forms to hospital bills. Why? Third-party brokers aiming to take advantage of any trace of leaked data to make a monetary profit- from telemarketers to data hackers, your P.I.I. Is a gold mine for prying eyes.
Unsettling isn't it? That is why it's good practice and growing essential that we employ data-protection barricades and habits.
What is P.I.I.?
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s Guide to Protecting the Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information defines P.I.I. as information such as Names, Social Security Numbers and Biometrics.
Data Redaction is one of these practices and, truthfully, the most potent of data security measures as it prevents the scope of data leaks at the source.
What is Data Redaction?
Though safeguarding sensitive text might connote a sense of data being protected and guarded with a lock for protection. Data-redaction actually inverses the process by making you the thief! Well not really.
The job of a data redactor - in the form of a redaction tool or software- is not to protect sensitive content, it is to remove it completely!
Contrary to what it may seem, confidential data in a pdf file is not just what you see as visible text but also source data such as meta data and hidden element tags which are grouped under the surface which is why data masks are ineffective techniques.
Data redaction software programs and tools effectively redact pdf text along with this trail of data present in the pdf file, essentially leaving nothing for data-thieves to steal!
When to Redact PDF Files
Before the Distribution of the Data
Ensuring data-hygiene before distribution of sensitive information and pdf files is a professional and ethical mark of an organization.
Before Data Archiving
Data Archiving is practiced by organizations to keep a track record of past document processing. PDF file sanitization becomes pivotal before being stored in a library of past interactions.
Before Data Disposal
A PDF file must be sanitized- deleted and cleared of any sensitive information before disposal. Essentially creating this step as the electronic paper shredding of your pdf text and documents.
Sectors that can use Data Redaction
With the NSA itself publishing guidelines for citizens on how to properly redact their data, the importance of safeguarding sensitive information in today’s world has been highlighted along with a recognition for educating people on how to redact a pdf file safely in today’s glowingly digital world.
An ever present facet in law firms and legal offices, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5-2 requiring court filings to redact Social Security Numbers, Names of Minors, Financial Account Numbers, Dates of Birth and Home Addresses underscores and offsets the standard of data redaction and pdf file redaction being a must.
Financial institutions directly deal with customer bank account information among other sensitive P.I.I. data. Jeopardizing data hygiene in a sector like finance can create devastating ripple effects as was made apparent in the 2017 data-breach of loan firm giants Wonga leaking the data of 245,000 UK customers.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1966 (HIPAA) is the federal law that protects patient information and privacy, upheld by an abundant use of data security protocols including data redaction by health care providers and Organisations.
Best free PDF Blackout tool: Redactable
Redactable is a web-based redaction software created by former loan consultant Amanda Levay. Having been in the back-end trenches of experiencing the inadequacies and annoyances with data redaction, the need for a modern software to seamlessly redact sensitive content and provide a document completely removed of sensitive data and worries.
Complete eradication of your sensitive data as-well-as meta-data present in your entire document.
Complete Auto Redaction
Redact every item of P.I.I. And confidential information from multi-page PDF documents in one go! Redactable users average only two and a half minutes to Redact a ten-page document.
Redactable is a seamless software that caters ease and effectiveness with a clean, approachable interface and a powerful a.i. that clears and handles all your pdf redaction needs in minutes providing a capable A.I. that not only extracts and deletes selected sensitive content but does so in record-breaking time.
Automatically deleted and redacted documents facilitated with a sense of trust and an active and prominent customer-base, Redactable successfully solves all redaction annoyances and provides a premium service to every existing and new customer.