In the briefing room: Confidela WatchDox

Creating content is easy; however, managing the distribution of that content in a secure and traceable way is problematic to say the least.

Confidela WatchDox

Confidela WatchDox

Simply e-mailing documents is not the answer, once the document leaves the outbox, all control and visibility is lost.  Additionally, solutions that do exist for sending documents securely often insert friction into the knowledge worker’s routine; some require an additional application to encrypt or send a document, ultimately lessening the likelihood of the solution being used.  For a tool to be used and widely adopted, it must be seamlessly incorporated into the knowledge worker’s existing toolset.

One company that is offering a solution to the problem of secure document sharing is Confidela, with its Software-as-a-Service WatchDox offering.  The product is a tool for sending documents securely from within Outlook via a plug-in or, alternatively, from a Web interface.  The Outlook plug-in adds a button in the UI when composing a new message.  The plug-in can be set as a manual option, an automatic suggestion whenever attachments are sent, or as fully automatic whenever a document is sent outside of a company.  Attachments are replaced with WatchDox links that the recipient clicks on to securely view the document.  When sending, the system prompts the sender to define policies, give permissions, and determine recipients.  The attachment is then pulled into a separate outbox, converted to a WatchDox link, and sent.

To receive a document, a recipient goes through a one-time authentication for their computer, similar to the way many banks do, with the computer’s footprint saved.  Users access the document via a link delivered in an e-mail, and the document appears blurred out when the focus is not on it.  According to the company, this feature should prevent screenshots and the like from being taken.  For the sender, a My Docs view provides usage information for documents that have been shared and sent out, what actions recipients have taken, any action required, and metadata surrounding the documents.

WatchDox is hosted on Amazon’s EC2 cloud Web service, and all documents are encrypted with a unique key.  For further security, Confidela keeps access controls separate from storage, and the company does not have access to those controls.

WatchDox impressed us with its ease of use and the fact that it works within existing tools without introducing additional friction between the knowledge worker and software.  Particularly as an Outlook plug-in, the ability to either set WatchDox as optional or automatic grants the users control while at the same time increasing the likelihood of use by locating it in the primary domain of the knowledge worker, the inbox.

Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.

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