File Security 101: 5 Ways to Keep Your PDF Files Confidential

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We are people who live and interact with the digital society at present. You will have to deal with documents needed for different areas like school and work at some point in your life. Given how vast and advanced our technology is, leakage of data and information is nothing to get surprised about. You might have experienced a similar situation or two.

A widely-used file format is PDF, which has the primary function of preserving the formatting in place. For example, let’s say that you have PDF files in your archive. Of course, you would want to keep it confidential. A common way to do this is not to share your file with other people, but file sharing is inevitable when the situation calls for it. Learn how to keep your files private through this guide!

Secure your Files with Password Encryption

One method to protect PDF files is to encrypt them using passwords. This works like setting a password for your mobile devices, such as your laptop or smartphone. You are trying to prevent people from accessing your PDFs with encryption in this case. Let’s get to the basics first regarding the types of PDF passwords.

There are two types: owner passwords and user passwords. People use user passwords to open or view your portable document format files. On the other hand, owner passwords, also known as master passwords or permissions passwords, allows you to restrict what other people can do with your PDF. For example, you can prevent printing, copying, editing, and many more. 

Although this method is a great trick, doing it may prove to be challenging. Many people lack the appropriate software or tool to password-protect their files. Fortunately, web-based services like PDFBear are available online. PDFBear is among the crème de la crème in this regard. Boasting tight 256-bit encryption and quick rendering of files, it has made its name genuinely proud. Follow the steps below to successfully encrypt your files.

  1. Go to PDFBear.
  2. Upload your chosen file. 

Note: If you upload other file types like DOC, XLS, or PPT, PDFBear will convert it to PDF first before allowing you to set the password.

  1. Input your chosen encryption key.
  2. Once you’ve decided on it, click Encrypt PDF.
  3. Save your file!

A few reminders about passwords

Remember to set up a strong password, and it would be best to use a mix of letters and numbers. Also, consider the password length as it is also a significant factor in determining whether it’s strong or not. Finally, do not store your passwords on your device (e.g., make a note or something similar containing your passwords). It’s like leaving a stack of cash on a table whoever gets it can know the key.

Manage File Access Dissemination

Now that you’ve encrypted your files, the next thing you need to pay attention to is to whom you would share the PDF password. After all, files would not be leaked if not for improper handling by the people who access them. That’s why it’s best to permit those whose character you can genuinely trust.

Keep track of who opens the file, does something with it, so you can pinpoint who leaked the information. This way, you can narrow down the scope of your investigation in case something like this happens. You can do this by getting some software applications that specialize in document tracking.

Manage Permissions

Though a bit similar to managing file access dissemination, managing permissions for the file is still a must-do. We recommend using an owner-password to control the restrictions that you set for the PDF. See how it differs in the instance below. 

For example, you instructed a particular person to print the confidential file. You gave them the owner-password that allows printing of the file. If the information somehow gets leaked to other unrelated parties, then you can immediately know who’s the one responsible for it. You will also know if there are physical copies of the files and whose hands they are in.

Ensure Secure Storage

Setting password encryptions for your files isn’t enough. You must also ensure that your files are stored somewhere safe, which cannot be accessed easily by unauthorized people. For example, you may set a password for your device, then for your folder which holds the file. If you use a computer, always turn it off to prevent online phishers from accessing your information. Lock your smartphone if you use it for file storage.

If you store your files online, make sure to use online storage that is provided by trusted and reputable companies. Syncing your offline files with the ones online is also necessary. For instance, if you delete a file offline, you must do so as well online.

Always Avoid Potential Risks

Do not connect your devices that contain your private files to public Wi-Fi connections. These connections are vulnerable to online attackers and viruses. Meanwhile, never open suspicious emails and links as they may contain potential ransomware. Set up the firewall, and use secure websites. Consider investing in anti-malware and anti-virus services to boot up your security. 

Always sign out of your accounts and never save your passwords on the browser. For example, let’s say that you are accessing your online storage. Immediately log out of your account if you finished doing your business. Remember, safety first!

Final Say

Indeed, the use of online services is prevalent in today’s society. You cannot guarantee that your information will always be kept safe and confidential. But, what you can do is set up some preventive mechanisms to address similar situations in the future. There are a few notable methods to do this.

These include protecting your PDFs and other files with passwords, managing your people, and ensuring that your storage and devices remain safe. You can do these by using web-based services like PDFBear, investing in anti-virus software, and secure online storage. So what are you waiting for? Prevent unauthorized people from accessing your confidential information by following this guide now!

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