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Review: Workshare Keeps Documents Confidential

Workshare Protect 5 aims to remove managers from the investigative requirements and use technology to act on suspicious intent. What's more, the product helps combat accidental leaks as well as intentional data theft.

September 28, 2006

4 Min Read

Most efforts in the security arena go toward keeping the bad guys out of the network. A threat that Workshare Protect 5 is looking to reduce and prevent, however, is the insider threat.

The biggest source of information leaks and corporate espionage comes from trusted employees. Making the situation worse is that today's managers now also have to play the role of the suspicious investigator. Enter Workshare Protect 5, which aims to remove managers from the investigative requirements and use technology to act on suspicious intent. What's more, the product helps to combat accidental leaks, as well as intentional data theft.

Workshare Protect 5 accomplishes these chores by monitoring electronic correspondence to prevent sensitive data from leaving the company. One of the primary tools offered by Workshare is the ability to remove meta-data from documents. Meta-data is the hidden information found in files, such as corrections, document chains, authors and so on. Most businesses do not realize the amount of information that may be hidden in a document's meta-data and inadvertently let the information slip through the cracks. While there are other tools on the market that perform the same task, such as the "remove hidden data" add-on for Microsoft Office, Workshare is automatic and can be customized to remove only certain elements. What's more, the product offers full tracking and reporting when it comes to managing meta-data.

Workshare also adds content filtering, discovery and alerting for further company data protection. Other features include the ability to scan the system for identity information (such as credit-card numbers or passwords), offensive words, financial information, intellectual property and regulatory violations. That capability helps Workshare become a valuable ally in the world of compliance, where fines can far exceed the costs associated with prevention.

How does Workshare Protect 5 accomplish all this? Simply put, the product is a client module that runs on a desktop system. Administrators opting for the enterprise version can create policies that dictate what information is allowed to leave the system The software then scans for confidential information (very handy for notebooks that travel) and the policies offered are granular, in the respect that documents can be controlled as to which user can see the information and to whom it can be forwarded. '

The client-only Workshare Protect 5 offers all of that capability, but on a single PC basis, while the enterprise product, Workshare Protect Enterprise, adds centralized policy management. Otherwise, the products function the same as far as the individual desktop user is concerned.

Tests show that Workshare is quite adept at identifying and capturing proprietary or protected data by scanning e-mail attachments and other methods of data transmission. Content filtering also proves easy to use as a handy toolbar icon alerts users to content violations and offers ample explanation to train users on what is acceptable content.

For individual users, document control can be enhanced using a plug-in control item in Microsoft Word's toolbar, and users can further limit transmitted data with this option. This feature proves to be useful for small medical offices bound by HIPAA regulations. These functions are all available on-demand via a toolbar that can be added to Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. All applications support work by alerting the user if and when a content policy violation occurs, and depending on policy settings, employees may continue to send the document or have it blocked.

The product also scans PDF documents, providing another layer of protection for company reports and captured information.

Workshare proves to be a valuable add-on for VARs servicing the legal, financial and medical markets. The product brings information control to businesses bound by legislative requirements and also protects data from accidental leaks and intentional compromises.

San Francisco-based Workshare's channel program offers two partner levels: Ready and Integrity. Ready partners are those looking to build integrated solutions using Workshare and who want to deliver a custom product with Workshare embedded.

Integrity partners typically are solution providers looking to resell the product. Integrity partners enjoy competitive margins at each tier in the program and are rewarded with rebates for meeting and exceeding specific sales targets.

Workshare also provides proposal-based MDF, further increasing partner business volumes and profits. A deal registration program is offered and aims to fully support and assist Workshare channel partners in North America. Workshare provides additional margins on all deals registered on the Partner Portal and closed within six months from the date of registration. Dedicated channel managers are available to registered partners and can help manage the deal registration process.

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