What is a Redacted Document?
Ever seen a courtroom drama where the documents have black lines running across them or a top-secret government file stamped "Confidential"? Well, then you've been introduced to redacted documents; albeit through exaggerated and, at times, cheesy drama.
The black bars you've seen signify data-protection by blocking out sensitive information.
What exactly are you protecting?
Personally Identifiable Information (P.I.I.): Names, phone numbers, credit card details…anything that is considered sensitive data that can damage the associated person.
Why You Should Redact?
The truth is, redacting or blocking out sensitive data is a more common process than you might think.
From real estate to your doctor's office, data redaction has grown to become a part of our daily process. Why is that? With the strides and abundance of data in the digital age, data fluidity spreads information faster than butter; the process of data protection has trickled down from courtrooms and government offices to daily users and businesses, both big and small.
The demand has ushered several similar processes to be incorporated into our daily data protocol and lingo.
What Does Redaction Mean in the Digital Age?
There are several ways to protect the access of your system, including proxy servers to hide your I.P. address, anti-virus software…
Data Redaction is the most direct and proactive method to protect your sensitive data. Data Redaction means completely deleting sensitive data and meta-data from a document.
Like a hopeful and persistent thief breaking into a room only to find it empty, data redaction leaves no trace of your sensitive data or metadata. You can't steal something that's not there, right?
Data Redaction vs Data Masking
Though both Data Redaction and Data Masking are processes to protect your data, they serve different purposes: Data Redaction involves deleting said sensitive data completely, whereas Data Masking involves using inauthentic data to replace authentic data when it spreads. I can't believe it's not data, right? I apologize..moving on;
Primarily used in samples and educational documents as examples and templates for teaching purposes, data masking is a lighter form of data protection used efficiently in its niche but should not be a serious strategy for sensitive data.
When to Redact
Professional businesses MUST adopt strict data-hygiene protocols as we move deeper into the digital age. When should they do it?
1.Upon Receiving Data
The most effective and immediate way to ensure that none of your data is breached.
2.Upon Completing Task
An excellent time to redact sensitive information is after you are done using it. This step ensures data has been used professionally and for its intent. After it has been rightly utilized, redacting seals its use and prevents any third party from using it beyond consent.
3.Before the Distribution of the Data
Perhaps the most essential step in data hygiene, failing to protect data before distribution has been the key source for millions of data leaks. Always ensure the received data is used only for the original purpose and does not unintentionally land in the hands of third-party brokers.
4.Before Data Archiving
Redacting before data archiving is a tell-tale of a professional organization. It is pivotal for the protection of client data.
5.Before Data Disposal
A wise post-step to ensure no data can leak after it has been used; the last measure to ensure data-hygiene protocol.
How to Redact?
There are several ways to Redact:
- A Redactor Plugin/Extension
- An Online Redaction tool
- A Paid Software
Let's go through the attributes and downfalls of each:
- A Redactor Plugin
Adobe Acrobat's Redaction tool, found on the toolbar of their Pro DC and above packages, is the chief example that comes to mind.
Having a Redaction tool at the top of your Adobe Acrobat workspace is, without a doubt, the simplest and most accessible way to redact documents.
Adobe offers the standard search-and-select, pattern and draw-over options to Redact your document; Essentially, different ways to find and select your sensitive information.
With a pedigree of trust, security on the seller's end is the least of your concerns when using Adobe software. With 256-bit encryption, rest assured your data is safe.
Adobe Acrobat's Redact tool is a solid choice with no qualms for service or security.
You must, however, purchase a Standard DC pack or later to enjoy the tool.
- Online Redaction Tools:
The great thing about online Redaction tools is that they are often free. However, this comes with the question of security and capability.
Free of cost and easy to use are the chief factors that attract users, compromised data paired with a lack often prove the anti-thesis limiting these software from becoming a prime choice.
For example, AvePDF and PDF.Online do not describe their security protocol clearly while FreePDFredactor bars the user from exceeding 20 page and 5 MB document size limit.
While it’s not so much the capability as it is data-security that is the concern with free online tools. The software you use to protect your data could become the very source of your data being compromised.
Be sure to read the Privacy Policies of these software and make sure they comply with your regional guidelines such as CCPA and GDPR.
- A Paid Software:
A paid and trusted software is your best bet for redacting your documents efficiently and securely.
Though Adobe's Redact tool also requires a purchase of a Standard DC package, it is not solely focused on redaction. Hence, though they provide the best status-quo redaction tool, Adobe has ignored progress for their Redaction tool, leaving it at a standstill regarding features and focus.
Redactable has successfully ended this halt of efficiency by creating a fully automated redaction software powered by years of research in the Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) field.
Their focus on the particular niche of redaction has allowed Redactable to provide a professional service and product that leaves no requirement for further resources and insecurities.
Permeance met with innovative features make Redactable a smooth & premium experience.
With a client list including Stony Lonesome Group and CFV Ventures, companies are adopting Redactable's software and accelerating their daily processes and goals by saving time and manpower.
The successful strides introduced by Redactable in the field of NLP and sentiment analysis have ushered in the acceleration of the Redaction process for legal and litigation teams, businesses, and individuals.
With 24/7 chat support and a model based on transparency & security, Redactable prides itself on both its software & its service.
Features of Redactable:
- Permeance: Redactable permanently delete data and does not use data masks that can easily be lifted. Redactable reaches into the code to delete all metadata to ensure your sensitive data and all traces have been removed.
- Capability: a showcase of progress and prowess in the form of the auto-redaction Wizard. Reflecting the brink of sentiment analysis and OCR technology, the Redaction Wizard allows you to auto-redact multi-page documents with a click of a button. Import your documents from Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and Box.
- Collaboration: An industry-first collaboration feature allowing team-wide access and streamlining the redaction process to ensure it is as practical and convenient as possible.
Price: $ 49.99/month/seat: giving you unlimited redactions and unlimited document quota. No Credit Card required; 7-day free trial and anytime cancellation.
For companies that want the software for their cloud, Enquire to know about the Enterprise package.
How Easy is it? 4 Steps, That Easy.
- Upload your PDF document to Redactable.
- Either uses Manual Redaction, Search and select, Patterns or fully-automatic auto-redaction to identify sensitive information in your document.
- Pick from your list or Select All for a one-click redaction!
- Voila! Preview and download your newly redacted pdf.
Note: Swipe the Redaction Preview at the top toolbar to view how your Redacted document will look.
You now have a safe and secure redacted copy of your document!
Why They’re Great!
With 24/7 chat support and a model based on transparency & security, Redactable prides both its software & its service.
The Redaction Wizard guides the user step-by-step and the one-click process takes away head and heart ache.
Amanda Levay, and her team have poured years of research into their product and it shows in its effortless user-experience. I’m glad they took their time to provide something I could never do myself
For under fifty dollars, the Wizard waves off my redaction needs like Grammarly compensated for horrible grammar. But we can’t all be the sharpest tools in the…tool shed, right!?
Moving on I’ll say the most incredible sentiment analysis Redactable has achieved is knowing the modern world desperately needed this software. Believe me; I did not realize redaction could be such a headache, especially on those multiple-page pdfs, picking and drawing over each specific chunk of data..it seemed like an annoying process too specific to be targeted. Thankfully, Redactable's searchlight focused and solved the problem for us. Like a digital Roomba, kick your feet up and let Redactable sanitize your data for you!