Searching an office filing cabinet full of many files showing protection of confidential documents from data leaks

How Companies Can Protect Confidential Documents From Leaks

Current projections estimate that the global threat intelligence market will grow to over $981 million by 2025 due to the steady increase in cybercrime. While roughly half of all businesses are using some type of monitoring tool to detect insider threats, the truth is that none of the most commonly deployed solutions can entirely prevent leaks of sensitive documents.

Companies’ most common tools to look for insider threats include data leak prevention software, user behavior analytics, and employee surveillance. While these are effective measures for certain threats, the fact remains that none of these tools can prevent leaks that come from screenshots, pictures of the screen or printouts.

The costs of data stewardship

A recent study found that organizations may experience up to 13 data exposures per user every day. While the same survey found that about 75 percent of insider data breaches are not malicious, it’s critical to understand that any insider data breach can cost businesses up to 20 percent of their annual revenue.

The growing cybersecurity threat also means that the costs of IT security are rising rapidly. Because most companies focus on responding to incidents rather than preventing them, the average 6 percent that corporations budget for cybersecurity is quickly becoming insufficient.

However, one solution to this growing problem is transitioning to a prevention-first security strategy. A collaborative study from the Ponemon Institute and Deep Instinct showed that roughly 82 percent of cybersecurity costs could be reduced when prevention is prioritized.

Effective methods for handling document security

With almost 1,300 reported data breaches in 2021, a 17 percent increase over 2020, effective document security is critical.

1. Replacing VDRs with more secure systems.

To this end, many companies are transitioning from cloud storage to VDRs. VDRs offer far more security for virtual data, allowing greater control over user access. However, the one fatal flaw of VDRs is that they are still vulnerable to screenshots and printing documents. These simple workarounds are responsible for upwards of 10 percent of data leaks.

One effective prevention strategy is LeaksID technology. With this, the system creates a new, individual copy of a document with unique, invisible anti-leak marks each time the user interacts with the document. If a document is compromised, LeaksID can precisely identify who handled that particular document or who is responsible for the leak. This works for insiders who take screenshots or photos of screenshots as well.

2. Influencing the mindset of malicious insiders.

Another key component to prevention is eliminating perceived anonymity. When your staff knows that there is a system in place that specifically identifies intruders and data breaches, they will be less likely to act recklessly or maliciously.

Employees who understand that they cannot hide behind anonymity are far more apt to follow information security rules. Additionally, anyone tempted to act maliciously will now be forced to think twice about the consequences of their actions.

3. Securing the virtual perimeter, especially in this era of WFH.

IT security professionals saw the cybersecurity disaster that happened in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when companies were scrambling to provide remote work capabilities.

There was a severe lack of security, which led to insiders leaking sensitive data with relative impunity. Now, there are much tighter controls, and most IT professionals are using a combination of solutions to minimize the risks associated with remote work.

For example, most companies now use DRM and DLP solutions to control access to files. In addition to this, many sensitive files are further enriched with metadata and enhanced with cryptocontainers to lock down data permissions.

Other companies also use watermarks, microdots, and altered fonts to secure sensitive documents. Again, these solutions are adequate but not comprehensive.

All of these solutions are still vulnerable to photography and compromised hard copies. This is where G-71 technology comes in. When interacting, documents are marked invisibly with tags that cannot be removed unless the person completely rewrites the text. The data often loses much of its value in these cases because the rewritten text now appears as a forgery.

Looking toward the future: Innovation is the key to protection

Asset security will only become more challenging as technology advances and cybercriminals develop more sophisticated methods for obtaining sensitive data.

For businesses to retain a trustworthy reputation, it’s essential to stay ahead of the curve to protect sensitive data. Implementing innovative solutions comes with an upfront cost, but the economic viability of having a secure reputation makes this a worthwhile investment.

We are moving toward a more fully digital future, and remote work is here to stay. Minimizing vulnerabilities is good for every company’s reputation, and it’s even better for their bottom line.


CEO & Founder at G-71