IRM VS (X)
DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. This is a technology typically used by hardware manufacturers, copyright holders and publishers to limit use of digital content and devices after purchase.
An easy way to explain would be to bring up the regional protection feature which exists for DVDs and Blu-ray. The feature that allows the content to only be played in a specific region by a specific content player.
IRM VS DRM
In this section we will cover different technologies and outline how IRM differs from them, and in many ways how it is designed to improve pre-existing security solutions.
Traditional disk encryption cannot and should never be associated with IRM because while they do both concern encryptions, the ways the technologies are used and applied are vastly different.
Disk encryption serves a good purpose for protecting data inside your hardware. For example, when you are travelling with your laptop you want to be sure that the laptop cannot be turned on by unauthorized user. Or if a burglar enters your server room and steals your equipment, you want to be sure that the disks cannot be accessed.
IRM VS Disk Encryption
IRM VS PCOIP and ICA
It is not very uncommon that companies install VMware View or Citrix Xenapp/Xen desktops, allowing their users to use their own devices to connect to the network.
The new trend called is called BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and is growing in popularity amongst businesses all over the world.
Traditionally organisations would use PDFs to protect the content of a file. It would be a common thing in order to ensure that a document cannot be edited or extracted.
The downside with PDFs is, once saved as PDF it can be read by any PDF reader. There are however protections that can be applied to restrict its use. That restriction usually means that it only can be accessed if you have an appropriate license file. Once the license file is obtained with the PDF document, the content can be opened.
IRM VS PDF Software
IRM VS Antivirus
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that simply employing antivirus software will provide you the same level of protection as IRM. However, this is simply not the case as the two have completely separate functions and uses.
An antivirus is there to protect you from malicious software (viruses, malware, Trojans) that is often intended to harm or hijack your operating system. An advanced antivirus would also offer you protection against spam, scam and phishing attempts.
When handling sensitive data, any business (regardless of size) absolutely must be compliant with and conform to the various standards of practice governing the use and storage of confidential data within your particular industry/location.
Security frameworks and standards such ISO 27001 and COBIT5 serve the purpose of providing organisations with guidelines and processes on how to secure sensitive data and do their best to ensure businesses are up to speed with the latest potential threats so they can ensure they’re protected.
IRM VS Security Frameworks
DRM offers a similar service to IRM but in a slightly different way. While IRM is a technology focused on protecting your internal information, DRM focuses on allowing the correct licensed user to use the content or device which they have purchased and attempts to discourage the user from distributing or copying the content.
Organisations might use DRM as a solution to protect their information, usually via sending content to the user with a licence. The problem here is that when a hacker comes with the purpose of stealing these files, the license file is relatively easy to access and manipulate.
The problem is that license files are usually not very difficult to find, access and to manipulate. Hackers are getting more technologically advances, and most good hackers will be able to subvert the license file relatively easily. IRM works in a different way. The solution is much smoother, only a simple authentication to IRM server is needed to get access to the document and no license file needs to be manually sent in accompaniment. The protection you can set on a document is also far more comprehensive than what you can get from any PDF application.
In fact, IRM is perfect to protect PDFs!
IRM and PDF are really not compatible when it comes to comparing levels of document protection. IRM offers a much easier, smoother and comprehensive security solution compared to PDF. Actually, IRM is the best possible security for a PDF file!
Your antivirus software will scan your system on a regular basis, and inform you of any abnormalities or potential areas of concern that it establishes. Some antivirus programs give you a deep level of user control, even to the point of disabling USB ports to ensure that data cannot be stolen from your premises. The thing is that antivirus, like most document protection, is more concerned with protecting the document itself rather than protecting the content. It is the content that makes the document important at all, and it is the content which IRM is perfect to protect!
It’s vital to remember that IRM and antivirus are not competitors. They both offer a highly vital service to businesses and you cannot afford to lack either one if you want to remain completely secure.
Companies are often asked to perform compliance reports to ensure they are completely up to date, and there is often a heavy penalty if a business is found to be lacking in any aspect of their legislative compliance. The problem with all these security frameworks is that they are preventive measures at best. They really do not offer any sort of guarantee of protection from data breaches. Once a breach has taken place and data has been stolen, that data can be opened and consumed at the data thieves’ convenience. This is what happens when data is allowed to remain vulnerable and ultimately unprotected. IRM however makes sure that even if a document leaves your premises it will be absolutely impossible for a data thief to access it. The document will be completely shut down and rendered completely inaccessible.
IRM is not mandatory for compliance with security frameworks, and it is absolutely not designed to replace any aspect of it.
If you are handling sensitive information then you are duty bound to your employees, customers and relevant legislative bodies to ensure that you are completely compliant with up to date security Standards & Regulations.
IRM is a magnificent and indispensable part of any truly effective security solution, but it is designed to work in tandem with security frameworks, not replace them!
Disk encryption serves the best purpose when the hardware is turned off. However, once the machine is turned on and the login page has been bypassed, the traditional disk encryption will no longer serve any use. Files that are inside the machine can then be transferred using USB devices, email or uploaded to an online cloud/server. Files would then be moving outside of your premises and liable to be accessed by anyone. IRM however is highly useful whether your machines are turned on or off. It is the content of the files that are encrypted and stays encrypted and not the file itself, so the content stays encrypted no matter where the file goes. You do not need to enter any password or deal with complicated licensing to open the IRM protected document, it is just a matter of authenticating to the Central IRM server before you can access the file. A major difference is that disk encryption encrypts the whole disk and renders the whole file unreadable if stolen, while IRM encrypts the content of individual files that you classify as confidential.
IRM is not a substitute to traditional disk encryption. They work best when combined.
To prevent unauthorized users logging on to your laptop, for that you need to encrypt your disk.
To protect individual sensitive files in case they get into the wrong hands, you need IRM.
It basically allows users to connect in and to allow them to have their entire ‘work pc’ available to them at all times. There are restrictions governing how information can be transferred between the console and the home laptop, if at all. It is a great feature and it prevents data leaks to some extent, but when the same user is given internet access combined with emails and printers inside the session there is still a large risk of information potentially being leaked, either maliciously or accidentally. Information can still leak out through various sources such as online shares, print, email etc. Opening the wrong email or website can also give unwanted effects, such as allowing a hacker access to a user’s session to begin stealing/copying/altering files. The downside is that PCOIP and ICA really do not protect your sensitive data in a comprehensive way, certainly when compared to the comprehensive protection offered by IRM. With IRM the files stay protected even if they are transferred through email or are uploaded to an online space. In a situation where a protected file leaks, you can rest assured that the file will simply not be accessible by anyone other than those you have granted access rights to.
POCIP and ICA are used to make remote work easier but will not stop information leakage, although it can somewhat restrict it.
IRM in the other hand renders confidential information to be unreadable even when leaked.