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Keep control of the files you share with SmartRM

02 August 2013, Mike Williams

You’ve come up with an important business proposal, and want to share your ideas with someone else. You could just mail them a PDF document with the details, but if the deal falls through, there’s no way to control what happens to the file later.

Protect that document with the free SmartRM, though, and it’s a very different story. You can decide who opens it, when, how many times, whether they can print it, and more. And if there are problems, then you can restrict or block access in just a few seconds – even after you’ve sent them the file.

After an easy installation, SmartRM starts by asking you to create an account. This all happens within the program: you’ll need to enter your name, email address, logon details and so on, then click a link in an email you’ll receive later to confirm that it’s correct.

The program can then protect any PDF or JPG (audio and video file support is due soon) in various ways. You’re able to choose who can view it, for instance, by entering their email addresses.

You can restrict how your file is accessed in many ways

You can decide when the file will be accessible (for the next 7 days only, say, or within two dates and times which you define).

Other options allow you to control the number of times it can be viewed, whether it can be printed, and even if it can be viewed offline.

Once this has all been set up, SmartRM produces an encrypted version of the file. Pass this on to the people on your distribution list, they’ll have to download and install SmartRM themselves (with email verification to confirm their identity), and it will display the document – but with all the restrictions you’ve defined. So if the expiry date has passed, say, the client will no longer allow them to view it.

The restrictions are held online, too, which allows you to change them later. If something changes, you want to block access to a file, just modify its permissions in your SmartRM account and they’ll take effect right away.

There are obvious limits here. You can’t stop people taking screen grabs of your images or documents, for instance. And even if the file stays on a recipient’s system, there’s no way to control who else might view it there.

But, there’s also no doubt that SmartRM makes sharing much more difficult, and it’s certainly far better than using no protection at all. If you do need to share sensitive documents, but only temporarily, then we’d give it a try.

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