July 2, 2023

With more information than ever being shared across today’s networks, file servers, and cloud environments, static security models are struggling to keep pace with the dynamic data flows of fast-moving companies. Organizations are looking for a solution to not just protect data within the enterprise, but also when it is shared externally. This brings about the question: how do you continuously protect data once the file has been shared?

Enter persistent file protection, an approach that ensures sensitive information is protected regardless of where it travels and who it is shared with. This is achieved through Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies, which control access and usage of digital content. When introducing persistent file protection to an enterprise, the goal is to safeguard business-critical data from unauthorized access, use, and distribution.

To achieve this, administrators can write policies that selectively prevent file recipients from completing specific activities, such as copying, printing, forwarding, or using cut and paste. Through this, sensitive data remains secure when being shared across supply chains, business units, and partners, allowing enterprises to collaborate effectively across the globe.

Why do you need Persistent File Protection?

Persistent file protection provides stability in a volatile digital environment, where sensitive data can be easily reproduced in numerous copies and shared without knowledge. If not overseen with caution, the spread and transmission of data can quickly spiral out of control, taking unpredictable routes into untrusted environments.

Traditional security models, which prioritize protecting the network perimeter, place responsibility in the hands of users to secure and monitor their data. This approach is prone to human error, easily leading to unauthorized data access and distribution due to mistakes like weak passwords or accidental data sharing. In contrast, persistent file protection using data-centric security principles alleviates the burden from users and enforces security within the unstructured data itself. This reduces security risks in collaborative, dynamic environments, offering more stringent controls compared to traditional methods like password protection.

Persistent File Protection

Written policies enable consistent and persistent protection across the data’s lifecycle, regardless of where it is stored or who it is handled by. File owners can monitor and apply security controls to their content even after it has been shared. This allows them to maintain visibility over how their content is being used and to revoke access if necessary. By ensuring only authorized users have access, persistent file protection helps to mitigate business, legal, and regulatory risks of collaboration and information exchanges within the organization, with partners, and customers.

How does Persistent File Protection protect Data on the Move?

Persistent file protection uses several DRM techniques to protect data from unauthorized access once it is shared or copied. Central techniques include encryption, watermarking, and authentication:

  • Encryption is the process of converting data into a code that can only be deciphered by authorized users. It protects data on the move, ensuring that even if the data is intercepted, it cannot be read by unauthorized users.
  • Watermarking is a technique used to embed a unique identifier into a file. Watermarking is helpful in tracing unauthorized copies or leaks, while acting as a deterrent against unauthorized usage and leakage.
  • Authentication is a technique used to verify the identity of a user or device during an access attempt, ensuring that only authorized users have access to protected files.
By applying security controls to a document that persist even after it has been shared, file owners can maintain visibility over its usage and revoke access if necessary.

Best Practices for Persistent File Protection

When it comes to document security, strategy is key. This includes identifying sensitive data, determining who needs access, and defining the level of protection needed. Additionally, it is critical to ensure proper solution implementation and employee awareness training.

Identifying sensitive data is the first step towards implementing persistent file protection. This involves identifying all documents containing sensitive information, such as personal or financial data, and determining who needs access to each document. Based on the level of sensitivity and the importance of the information, the level of protection needed can then be defined.

Choosing the right DRM solution is critical since various DRM solutions offer different features, such as access control, expiration dates, and copy protection. To guarantee the security of business-critical documents, organizations should actively compare and select the appropriate solution that fit their specific organizational needs. In any case, the solution should provide key persistent file protection techniques such as robust encryption, watermarking, and authentication.

Implementing the solution properly involves ensuring seamless integration with the organization’s existing infrastructure and developing clear data security policies. This includes defining who has access to what documents, how and when the documents can be shared, and what protocols apply to document editing. Employees should also be trained on best practices for protecting sensitive data, such as using strong passwords and avoiding sharing sensitive information over unsecured channels.

To learn more about NextLabs SkyDRM Digital Rights Management solution, read our SkyDRM datasheet or talk to an Expert.


Persistent file protection is a crucial security measure that ensures sensitive documents are protected regardless of where they travel and who they are shared with. It provides stability in ever-changing digital landscape, where business-critical data can easily be reproduced and shared without authorization.

When persistent file protection is combined with a system that can track and monitor shared data, administrators can be alerted to unauthorized access attempts, while protecting files against theft, misuse, or inadvertent disclosure. Techniques such as encryption, watermarking, and authentication are utilized to ensure data security during transfer. To guarantee the security of sensitive documents, it is critical to adopt a strategic approach to document security, identify sensitive data, and ensure proper implementation and employee training.

Want to learn more about how persistent file protection is integrated into a security solution? Read our white paper on Enterprise Digital Rights Management (E-DRM).