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Today’s PDF tools are business-ready for tomorrow

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/TechnoVectors)

It’s astonishing to look back and see just how far PDF converter software has come in a relatively short time. The first versions gave users an effective way to convert PDF files to Microsoft Office documents and back again, create PDF files from multiple sources and edit them easily.

Next-generation solutions delivered other innovations, such as voice recognition that lets users add notes to PDF files simply by speaking, support for touch-enabled Windows 10 devices, and the ability to connect with document management systems and cloud services.

And now, new innovations are here to further revolutionise the PDF experience. Take for instance document compatibility which is imperative especially today where there are a myriad of applications and devices in use. Nuance Communications’ answer to this requirement is Power PDF 3, which now supports the ISO PDF 2.0 standard, assuring both compatibility and security with programs using and manipulating a PDF file. With Nuance Power PDF Advanced, any user can rest assured that they are creating the most compatible and secure PDF documents possible.

Real-time collaboration is another “must-have” for many businesses, because they need the right tools to work efficiently, collaborate effectively and get work done. In another sign of progress, today’s PDF solutions deliver the tools business teams need to annotate, mark up, edit and compress PDFs—all to make working as a group easier and more effective than ever before.

Security comes first – now and in the future

Modern PDF solutions are also focused on security. For example, leading PDF software enables users to add password protection to important files, permanently redact sensitive information, and create permissions to control document viewing, printing and modifications. They could even apply protection to PDF documents using Microsoft Active Directory or Microsoft Rights Management Services – all to provide enterprise-level security and rights management. All of these innovations were designed to enable users and their companies to gain control over PDF workflows to save time, improve productivity and deliver even better business results.

Another “sign of the times” feature that brings PDF security right up to date with the needs of a modern business, is digital signature integration with DocuSign. If workers need to approve a purchase, close a sale or sign an agreement, it’s easy with DocuSign®, the leading eSignature service. Any user can choose to sign a PDF or send it to another party for their signature using integrated DocuSign actions.

In fact, that last point is even more important given that the issue of IT security is taken more seriously now than ever before. As technology has evolved and become central to how a business functions, the threat landscape has evolved too, with ever more sophisticated risks challenging organisations of all sizes. Hence why security has permeated through many organisations, with everyone from the most junior executive right through to senior board members equally responsible for ensuring they are adhering to the company’s security policy and are following best practice in a bid to fend-off malicious attacks and the damage a breach can do to their corporate assets, confidential data, or indeed, their brand reputation.

The vulnerability of paper needn’t be an issue for businesses

Despite their security efforts though, you don’t have to look back too far to see that despite the awareness of security and measures taken to implement it, in the battle between company and cybercriminal, it’s not always the company that wins. That’s because even in light of the admirable progress made to secure core assets, there are still many gaps that need to be plugged; and paper-based documents are an excellent example of such a risk. While seemingly innocuous and not an obvious source of a potential security risk, the consequences of paper-based confidential data falling into the wrong hands could be as severe as an attack mounted on a company’s network.

In this era of powerful PDF solutions, this throws into question why we are still dependent on paper in this global digital age. People often state that they still like the touch and feel of paper; while understandable, it seems like a strange concession to make given the considerable risk paper poses.

A more effective way to share information

However, even businesses that are less dependent on paper run the risk of exposing themselves to data loss, by failing to use the security features available in PDF solutions.

To help mitigate these risks, a free whitepaper Entitled ‘Using PDF documents for more secure document workflows’, shines a light on how document workflows can be made more secure through the proper use of the robust security features available in solutions like Nuance’s Power PDF family (opens in new tab).

The research – which surveyed 2,300 IT and IT security specialists from eight countries - points to trends like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) potentially compromising security. This is because of the increased mobility BYOD affords, combined with it making it easier to copy and distribute documents, which restricts the effectiveness of data protection measures and can impede the implementation of security policies.

The findings make for sobering reading. For instance, the costs incurred by companies due to data losses have increased throughout the world by 23 per cent to an average of approx. €3.4 million. And it’s a problem that’s closer to home in Europe than many would realise. After the USA, for instance, Germany takes second place in terms of expenses for each lost document, amounting to approximately €190. Still in Germany, approximately three per cent turn their backs on companies that suffer a security incident that involves data loss. Breaches can be more significant for some industries over others. By way of example, the loss of customer loyalty is particularly high in the aftermath of a data breach in industries such as pharmaceuticals, financial services and healthcare.

The whitepaper explains how the PDF format - which offers users greater flexibility, productivity and, of course, security - can help them turn paper files into electronic ones effectively and effortlessly, optimising their document workflow security and adherence to compliance responsibilities.

One possible barrier to greater PDF adoption though comes from the license complexity that burdens some PDF solutions. A recent survey in the UK conducted among IT decision makers, looked specifically at how they use, create and share PDF files. Of the 60 per cent of respondents who said that PDF is a critical business application, almost half (43 per cent) said that license complexity hinders their use of PDF software. Seventy-five per cent of workers who said that license complexity hinders their use of PDF software, stated that PDF software is a strategic component of their document processes at work, painting a concerning picture with respect to the impact that licence complexity has on productivity and security across businesses in the UK.

With Nuance Power PDF 3’s perpetual licencing model overcoming this challenge - and with it offering so many other benefits to users - it’s fair to say that a modern PDF solution will have an unquestionable role to play in the future of businesses of all sizes.

Steven Steenhaut, Senior Director, Global Demand Center, Nuance Communications (opens in new tab)
Image source: Shutterstock/TechnoVectors