6 Questions to Ask About Content Security

Content security is the less glamorous–and less publicized–side of your digital content strategy, but it can be just as important as the content itself. However, choosing the right security features for your content is not always intuitive. Depending upon who you want to find and access your content, you don’t necessarily want to implement the highest levels of content security. So how do you know which security features are important, and which aren’t?

To start, it’s important to identify what your content does and who it’s for. For example, internal corporate content, such as employee training materials, company reports or sales enablement, isn’t intended to leave your corporate bubble, whereas other material, such as pay-for-access reports, needs to reach a limited audience outside of your company. On the opposite end of the spectrum, marketing materials and press releases are designed to reach as many people as possible, and should have very few (if any) limitations. In each case, content security plays a role in discouraging or encouraging circulation.

Regardless of the type of digital content that you’re producing, the following six questions will help determine which security features you should consider implementing.

1. Where do I want people to access my content?

Choosing where you want your content to be accessible is an important first step, and it impacts the rest of this list. First, you must decide if you’ll restrict access to a webpage or corporate app, or whether you’ll permit users to e-mail documents back and forth.

Restricting access to a corporate app or webpage offers more control over your content, since you can create log-in barriers, manage your content remotely and revoke user access. It also discourages users from forwarding your content to unauthorized users, since they would need to offer up their log-in and password instead of just hitting “send.” However, as with any restrictions, you risk limiting your users’ flexibility, which might be especially frustrating for millennials.

2. How can my content be shared?

If you want your content to reach a wide audience, the answer to this question might simply be, “Any way the user wants!” Allowing and encouraging unrestricted sharing can be a great way to gain more readers. But if your content has been designed for a more limited audience, you can choose to add readers by invite only, or restrict your content to an entirely pre-determined audience. Finally, to control your existing audience, you might want to be able to revoke access rights, which can only be done through corporate apps or websites.

Beyond audience size, reducing your users’ ability to quote or copy/paste from the content will limit its distribution. Web browsers and apps enable you to control user interactions, though even this can be tricky to enforce. Still, any copy/paste limitations that you put in place will protect your content more than a print page or PDF.

3. Will users always have the most up-to-date content?

After paper documents or PDFs have been distributed, there isn’t much you can do to update or correct your content besides notifying users of the change. As we discovered, this can often have costly consequences. To prevent this problem, end-to-end cloud publishing platforms offer real-time updates, ensuring that users always see the latest version on all devices. However, before purchasing an end-to-end solution, talk to a prospective partner about how they handle updates to make sure that correcting outdated content isn’t time-consuming or overly complicated.

4. How many users should access my content at once?

In some cases, rather than having users with individual logins, you may want a set number of devices or computers that are authorized to use the content. Within a company network, you can restrict the number of devices authorized to access your content simultaneously, similar to a per-seat license for software. Good cloud publishing platforms will offer flexibility to enforce such limits, but it is important to discuss your specific needs in detail with the partner up front in order to ensure that they can be met.

5. Should my content be searchable?

When it comes to public content, search engines are your friend, but you may not want your private content to be found by a web search. Distributing your content through corporate apps avoids any contact with general search engines, while publishing your content through the web means that you’ll have to finagle the search access control.  A good cloud publishing platform allows you to embed content within a page and inherit its configuration for external access and searchability, without restricting you to a particular method of display.

6. How secure is my network?

With PDFs and other uncontrolled document formats, you’re always at the mercy of users who access their email on insecure devices, or who re-send documents through less-secure distribution. More complete end-to-end cloud publishing platforms offer control over how the content reaches each device, allowing you to ensure that all transmissions go over SSL, and that content can remain encrypted even after it has been saved for offline access.

The Bottom Line

Your objectives for your content will inform the answers to these questions, which is why it’s essential to evaluate your content strategy before implementing generic security features. While there is always some risk in distributing content, end-to-end cloud publishing platforms offer higher security, more control, and greater flexibility than print material or PDFs.

With peace of mind over your content’s security, you can walk confidently toward the future of corporate communication, where employees check their smart watches over carrying binders full of paper. Those who should see your content, will see it–anywhere and always up to date. Now, all you have to worry about is writing it.

For more information on Inkling’s secure, end-to-end cloud publishing platform, request a demo with our Sales team.