Why Enterprise Content Management Systems without Rights Management is just a False Sense of Security?

Ankush Tiwari, CTO, Mobiliya Technologies | Thursday, 09 March 2017, 10:24 IST

As the CEO, CTO or VP, your days are often filled with constant collaboration and exchange of key documents and data that may feature the most confidential company details spanning a roll out plan of an upcoming product, company financials, top legal matters or future diversification plans. And imagine the great adversity that may arise even if a single such document is breached or were to fall into wrong hands. Even with the most sophisticated Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems, such scenarios are easily possible, since many of them do not have adequate security cover and have several gaps that can be exploited. It is exactly for this reason that tools like the Microsoft Rights Management Service (RMS) become so much critical for ensuring comprehensive content security and managing information access.

The last few years have seen a phenomenal rise in the amount of information generated by every company - big or small. Hence, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems have become inevitable in creating, managing and storing this infinite stream of enterprise content and information. In fact, according to Frost & Sullivan, the global ECM market is poised to reach nearly $8 billion by 2017, a figure that underlines the role that ECM is and will play in increasing operational efficiencies and reducing costs. However, in proportion, there has also been a great rise in the sheer scale and proportion of security vulnerabilities that such systems face, with threats ranging from people to processes to technologies. To counter this growing challenge of information security, for all CISO (Chief Information Security Officers), CTOs and IT teams, tools like Microsoft RMS will become the core feature in the overall security infrastructure.

Microsoft RMS: A Building Block in every Content Management Strategy
Microsoft RMS works essentially with RMS-enabled browsers, applications and ECM systems with the help of a connector. Once your ECM system is RMS-ready, you can have complete control over the security and access of all the documents that enter or leave your office premises. Document owners can grant and manage access depending upon the role of the receiver, give a read-only access if necessary and even control edit, print and copy modes as required. IT teams can set company-wide content policies to protect documents from leaks even after it has left the content repository. For highly confidential information, owners can even allow time-based access which means that after the set time it will automatically block all access. Even after the document leaves the company premise, the sender keeps receiving audit trails with clear reports mentioning who, when and where was the document accessed with specific alerts sent every time it is downloaded. Microsoft’s RMS makes your ECM truly secure even in times of vulnerable situations like missing server patches, exposed database or blips in the network’s front end.

Microsoft RMS: The IT Advantage
The biggest beneficiaries of tools like the Microsoft RMS are the enterprise IT teams and Information Security Officers who are constantly battling the challenge of data security. With a tool like Microsoft RMS, there are some clear benefits to be leveraged:

1. Centralized Security Management: Instead of spending time managing unique directories to define content policies or access rights, administrators can control and manage content policies and user access from a single centralized system. With a single click admin can grant, revoke or exclude content access or enable usage template for company-wide content or documents.

2. Cost Effective: Another key benefit, especially for small and medium level organizations is the cost that RMS accrues as compared to other security tools and measures. Since it does not really need an independent setup infrastructure with only a simple connector required to easily integrate it with your usual CMS, it significantly reduces deployment costs.

3. An Integrated System: Microsoft RMS is an integrated system and gives a comprehensive report and analysis of all the protected information and content. Thus, IT teams do not need to install an independent set of applications to view secure content, access information, or audit trail reports. 

4. Data Protection & Mobile Workforce:
Most companies today have a pre-dominantly mobile workforce with almost every scattered workstation, tablet or phone carrying extremely sensitive information. It is with this perspective that simply deploying an ECM system may prove inadequate and ineffective for complete data security. Microsoft RMS can be deployed to a large number and types of devices (e.g. Windows, Mac OS/iOS and Android) to encrypt sensitive data especially in scenarios when employees use public networks to share company information with other public cloud storage networks. Also, it ensures a consistent user experience across devices and a simplified sign on process, making it an effective and efficient security tool.