Keeping repair manuals and parts lists private and current

Keeping repair manuals and parts lists private and current

In today's world, confidential data such as repair manuals, customer lists, copyrighted information, proprietary technology, price sheets, marketing plans, parts lists and more are important business assets that can be compromised if not secured adequately. In many cases, a prime exposure area is when confidential information is disclosed without proper document security in place.

Common ways of protecting confidential data

  • Labelling & applicable laws. If companies do not take the proper steps in treating their confidential data as confidential, they may lose legal protection. Labelling copyrighted information as confidential also works as a disincentive for any individual looking to abuse such sensitive information. Labels that stated: "Confidential information and property of XYZ. No part of these materials must be copied, printed or disclosed except with permission of XYZ."
  • Nondisclosure provisions. As a best practice, many organizations require their employees to sign agreements or contracts that contain nondisclosure provisions. If your company has confidential information in its repair manuals or parts lists that is particularly sensitive, it must be clearly identified in the agreement.
  • Confidentiality provisions with suppliers. Your business may contract with service providers such as suppliers of parts and other services. Typically, standard form contracts do not contain confidentiality provisions. Keeping these circumstances in mind, you may want to sign an additional confidentiality or nondisclosure agreement with your supplier to bolster the confidentiality provisions within the contract.
  • Restrict access. As a company with proprietary information and intellectual property, you must be careful of limiting access or restricting intake only to a select few within your organization who need to know. In doing so, you strengthen your legal position and establish a practical roadblock. Ensure that hard copies of your documents are kept safe, while electronic copies are protected with a stringent document security solution such as PDF DRM.
  • Ensure employees understand confidentiality policies. It can be a good idea of introducing an employee handbook that spells out confidentiality policies and how employees must deal with sensitive data. For instance, the guide can state if specific documents need to be destroyed or eliminated in shredders instead of throwing in the garbage bin. Ensure that the written policies in the employee handbook are consistent with confidentiality provisions stated in employee contracts and other obligations.
  • Carefully review contracts from third parties. You may have standard agreements with third parties or other suppliers as a manufacturer or supplier of parts. If you need to disclose sensitive information, present an NDA that offers all non-public information as confidential irrespective of whether it is meant to be confidential or regardless of the format in how it is disclosed.
  • Look out for terminologies. Nondisclosure agreements typically contain a timeframe after which the confidential data is no longer subject to limitations in the contract. The timeframe may be too brief or inappropriate, which is why you may want to consider this point carefully when signing an NDA.

The right document security software for your data

It is illegal to share copyrighted repair manuals and parts lists without the manufacturer's consent. Even so, several websites post these critical documents and share files through unofficial channels. While the risk of being sued for copyright infringement is high, it is unfortunately, not a very strong deterrent as copyright claims are sometimes intermittently enforced. How can you safeguard proprietary information and prevent unauthorized or unofficial entities from accessing your repair manuals or parts lists? Consider PDF DRM as your solution. Let's find out how.

What is PDF DRM?

PDF Digital rights management [DRM] is an effective solution that controls the access and distribution of PDF documents. PDF DRM software enables you to set and impose security on your intellectual property so that it can only be used in a restricted manner. So whether you are looking to protect your digital repair manuals and parts lists from unauthorized dissemination, you can count on PDF DRM to prevent and restrict your files from being shared or copied.

With PDF DRM, you can protect your valuable documents and easily track how your documents are being viewed or consumed by intended users. Besides, you can control the distribution of confidential documents and restrict and revoke access to your files even after being shared. The right PDF DRM solution must offer you inbuilt tracking analytics or user activity to know where and when any user is accessing your repair manual or parts lists and what they are doing with the information. Besides, you can also control which users can access your manual and choose to revoke permissions at any time. In addition, a PDF DRM solution can also empower you to restrict forwarding and set an expiration date for access. You can also benefit from automatically setting dynamic watermarks on your document and preventing the ability to download or print the manuals.

With all these rich features and more, using PDF DRM software can ensure that you can securely share your sensitive repair manuals and parts lists and prevent the unintended or illegal distribution of your data.

How PDF DRM protects your data

Generally, PDF DRM offers you the ability to restrict copying, printing, editing and lock use to devices and locations. The right advanced PDF DRM system must also give you additional features such as revoking access and document expiry. Basic DRM systems may not offer you detailed file tracking or dynamic watermarks and are often sold as separate features. However, a comprehensive PDF DRM solution that offers all these features and more can work to your advantage, especially if you are in the business of producing copyrighted information and sharing intellectual property.