A few weeks ago, I surveyed a technical writing group on LinkedIn about the importance of security for technical publications and received feedback from more than a dozen industry professionals on this issue. Unilaterally, the responses were in the affirmative.
Document security is a requirement for doing business in government and healthcare, along with many others. The range of answers was broad, and by several accounts, inconsistent. Some companies broadly distribute their user documentation on corporate websites and deem it another form of marketing material.
Joe Hauglie, a Human Performance Consultant for a large equipment manufacturer, said "There are all types of security, from password-protected PDFs and documents are stored on a secure server, behind a firewall. Companies should have guidelines in place that indicate what should be private or otherwise. I think that all content should be evaluated before it is categorically released. "
While our survey shows that many larger companies have internal processes in place, small and mid-sized businesses are a bit behind in identifying what should be secure and how to secure it. In our experience, this is a bigger issue than protecting pdfs with a simple password, as the passwords can be shared along with the document to anyone without detection.
Some of our clients have asked us for parameters involving security by IP address, controlled web portal, timed access, and view only access. Requirements come in all shapes and sizes with secure digital content. We'd love to hear more stories about how your company solved the document security challenge including the costs in dollars and internal resources. What's your experience with digital delivery of secure content?