What is PDF redaction?
PDF redaction removes sensitive text, graphics, or both text and graphics from a PDF document. Introducing a black box in place of the redacted content is the best form of redaction as it accounts for the fact that there is removed content.
Redaction is necessary where privacy, national security, and intellectual property are concerned. Files containing Personally Identifiable Information (P.I.I.): medical records, court records, trade secrets, and related documents call upon redaction as a pre-emptive measure to ensure data security.
Redaction can be applied in different document formats. However, PDF is notably the standardized format for document redaction. The following reasons explain why:
- PDF's competent rendering model has already taken over the world
- Irrespective of the format, cascading style sheet, and implementations, PDF provides a consistent and proven platform for redaction.
- Semantic reuse of PDF content is provisioned. Tagged PDF is the solution in this case.
- PDF (version 2.0) also provides namespaces, a technique for capturing random source content semantics in the PDF context.
Masking VS Redaction
You may want to use organizational data when doing software testing, customer training or sales demo. In some cases, the data used is sensitive. So, you create fake data representing the actual data.
The creation of fake data to represent actual data to prevent sensitive data from getting to the public is called masking. The aim is to ensure organizational data is not shared with the public.
For instance, in the case of software testing, you have a field named “Bank details”. Instead of giving the authentic details, you use “XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX” You just did data masking!
There are different approaches to data masking:
- Character shuffling-interchanging the position of the characters
- Character substitution-Replacing the actual details with placeholders
- Encryption-converting plain text to cypher text using a key that the sender and receiver only know.
Although masking and redaction play a similar role in concealing sensitive data, redaction permanently removes the data identified. Redaction is irreversible.
Can We Redact a PDF for Free?
Yes. There are many online PDF redaction tools. However, free PDF redaction tools online may provide limited features compared to other tools in the market. Why not explore the free PDF redaction tools online?
Criteria for Selecting a Redaction Tool
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are playing a significant role in redaction with the advancements in technology. Here are the minimum requirements for a capable PDF redaction tool:
- Redact text, graphics, and Images.
Your PDF redaction tool should be able to permanently remove text, graphics, and images permanently.
- Remove content rather than mask it. Masking may reveal the redacted content in a different format. You don't want that.
- Redaction review workflow. After marking the content to redact, it is advisable to share it with colleagues or a senior professional within the organization for review. Your redaction tool should be capable of handling these facets.
- Protect the original document. Your PDF redaction should not tamper with the original document. Instead, it should be able to create a copy to apply the redaction. You may need to refer to the redacted content in the future.
- Full-page and multi-page redaction. Some instances may require a range of pages to be redacted. Your PDF redaction tool should be able to do that. It will save time, rather than redacting page by page or even word by word.
- Pattern matching to redact. Your PDF redaction tool should be able to relate content through patterns. This is also a way of saving time. Also, some phrases are shared on different pages. Your tool should be able to identify matching words and phrases to be identified for redaction.
Top 5 free PDF Redaction Tools Online
Redactable is a cloud-based redaction solution that allows the irreversible hiding of sensitive data quickly and collaboratively. It uses in-built pattern matching algorithms to identify confidential information, line by line, ensuring that all sensitive data has been identified.
Besides its different value-packed packages for purchase, redactable offers a 7-day free trial of its redaction services for customers to try.
- Easy setup at any scale: Setting up redactable to collaborate on large projects has been made easy.
- Document scrubbing: Redactable ensures a permanent redaction that cannot be hacked by removing metadata and any hidden document elements.
- Collaborate in the cloud: Teams can collaborate on large redaction projects through Redactable’s cloud-based platform. All you have to do is invite your colleagues!
- Redaction certificates: Are you worried about how you will account for changes made on large projects by different people? Don’t be. Redactable provides a documented track record of your project redactions with time stamps, annotations, and author details for each redaction.
- Built-in AI features: Redactable offers a complete one-click auto-redaction for all sensitive data. You can also search the word intended for redaction, and redactable finds all matching words and phrases.
The Wizard also applies pattern matching to identify words and phrases matching the search keyword.For instance, redactable automatically identifies all name- matching patterns such as email address, postal address, PIN codes and other related words and automatically redacts them.
Redactable employs NLP/ML technology for a gold-standard redaction. In just four easy steps you will have your document redacted:
- Upload your document
- Search sensitive words for redaction
- Redact identified words
- Download your document
Integrations: Redactable has Google Drive, Dropbox, Onedrive, and Box as built-in integrations. You can import your documents from these platforms for redaction.
- No human error of hidden confidential data-Redactable uses NLP/ML technology to find all sensitive data, including metadata and hidden data.
- Increased productivity-Redactable's collaborative features save time. Ten pages can be redacted in 2.5 minutes.
- Simplicity-Redactable’s user Interface is easy to navigate. You will be able to redact your documents in four easy steps.
Ready to start redaction with Redactable? You want to miss out on the world’s gold-standard redaction services. Why not start your Free Trial today?
- Objective REDACT
Object Redact is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) redaction solution for security-sensitive organizations. It employs Optical Character Recognition to find sensitive information for redaction.
- Exception codes: Objective Redact allows the creation of custom codes to suit different business processes (customization)
- Optical Character Recognition: Words, numbers, and phrases can be searched on any file type using the Optical Character Recognition technology.
- Save time with templates: Objective Redact provides in-built templates for structured documents to automate redaction.
- Integrate to ECM: Objective Redact allows integration with ECM and Micro Focus Content Manager.
- Extra reduction tools: Objective Redact uses rectangles for areas, scribble
- for free hand redaction, and stamps for customized approvals.
- Output formats: Objective Redact allows saving of your document in the format of your choice, e.g., PDF, TIFF.
- Bracketed text redaction: Redact allows the removal of text within brackets instantly and accurately.
- Annotation: Notes on why certain information was redacted can be added within context.
- Allows multiple-page reduction using templates
- Allows reviewing and reporting by team members before finalizing redaction
- Notes concerning why certain information was removed can be added
- The original document is never altered-a copy is automatically kept for redaction.
- Software must be installed-requires hosting
- Does not support collaborative redaction
You can visit Objective Redact's Official Website to explore the features and pricing plans that they offer.
PDFtron is a cloud-based PDF redaction toolkit that allows users to remove sensitive data permanently or obscure it.
- Permanently remove sensitive data.
- Automate redaction workflows
- Client-side or server-side redaction
- Complete PDF, MS Office, and Document SDK at Your Fingertips
- Scrubs metadata as well as redacting text
- Can be integrated into automated workflows
- Batch document processing possible
To learn more about the features and pricing plans for PDFtron Read on
- Folding Space Automated Redaction Manager
Folding Space is a cloud-based PDF redaction solution recommended by the UK Government for GDPR compliance. The solution is provided as onsite software or as a managed service.
- Processes all types of document formats
- Output in immutable redacted format (PDF or redacted data stream)
- Automated identification and redaction of sensitive content
- Secure process monitoring with an entire audit trail for QA
- Complete workflow and batch processing management
- Detailed analysis and reporting
- Role-based security and user access management as standard
- Robust systems & security administration functionality
- Swift, easy installation with full support and system integrity
- Unique, extensive & automated Redact ontology and taxonomy
- It incorporates a unique set of sensitive data dictionaries and complex regex
- Utilizes state-of-the-art Content Discovery & Analytics (AI, NLP)
- Automates finding, investigation, classification, and monitoring of Redact items
- Web browser-based user experience is simple and responsive
- Minimal training, easy deployment, and roll-out
- Modular deployment and installation to suit different customers
- It allows customization to meet user needs
- Replaces tedious, manual redaction with highly efficient automated processes
- Proven to deliver significant productivity gains and cost savings
You can read more on Folding Space Automated Redaction Manager
CaseGuard is a Video redaction tool that supports document, audio, and image redactions. Similar to Microsoft Suit, CaseGuard offers its redaction services as a suite for video, audio, images and documents.
CaseGuard Document Redaction
CaseGuard applies AI and machine learning, making document redaction accessible, regardless of your work style. It provides intelligent review panels that allow verification of redactions, whether redacting entire pages or automatically identifying sensitive information.
- Pattern redaction -lets the user find words that match naming patterns, such as email addresses, social security numbers, phone numbers, postal addresses, etcetera.
- Search and Find-Let's the user search words and automatically redact them.
- Page redaction- CaseGuard allows the user to redact an entire page or a range of pages by applying a full-page redaction.
- The manual redaction-This feature lets the user define or adjust redaction patterns and redact headers and footers.
CaseGuard has a dozen features that ensure the quality redaction of documents. You can explore more here.
There is a wide range of redaction tools, and the choice of your tool depends on several considerations. There are solutions for PDF, audio, video, and image redactions independently and other solutions that offer more than two types of redaction.
Depending on your redaction needs, there is a solution that best fits you. All you need is to identify your requirements. The requirements could be in the form of the size of documents to redact and the size of your team.
If you are looking for an online PDF redaction tool that will provide a one-click auto redaction, I recommend Redactable. Redactable is a perfect fit for both small and large teams for the following reasons:
- It has a 7-day free trial for your urgent tasks: Redactable doesn't require your credit card on your free trial.
- It has AI and machine learning in-built: allows tracking of different versions of your PDF documents and also speeding up the redaction process. Multiple pages can be redacted simultaneously with one-click auto redaction.
- It is cloud-based: Volumes of PDF documents can be redacted within a short time through collaboration among team members.
- Pricing: Redactable’s pricing model is designed to meet every customer’s needs.
- Permeance: Redactable redacts your sensitive information permanently, eliminating the chances of information hacking.
- Simplicity: Redactable walks you every step of the redaction process.
- Security: Redactable provides legally approved redaction certificates.
Redactable has won the trust of professionals across the globe. Imagine a solution that has your concerns at heart-Simplicity, security and efficiency. There is never a dull moment with Redactable! Give it a try and witness the magic yourself
Redact in Just 4 Steps
- Select a redaction method.
- Remove any unwanted items or proceed with auto-redaction.
- Voila! get your redacted document back
What Redactable provides:
With a free 7-day trial, you can get unlimited data redaction for as little as $49.99 per month. Use the software as much as you want with no restrictions! For easy access and workflow, Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, and Box are integrated. Redactable propels its users into the next evolution of streamlined workflow, allowing them to move beyond the unnecessary trenches and time warps of previous, limiting redaction tools. One-click. Process and delete. Permanently. It's as simple as that.
In just four steps! Isn’t that easy?
Sign Up for your Free Trial now and enjoy swift PDF redaction for life!