Every so often, a new app hits my radar that gives me that “Wow! Awesome! Right On!” feeling. Launching into public beta today, WatchDox by Confidela is such an app. If you want to share a document securely with someone, WatchDox can do that. But it also does much more, namely letting you specify permissions on the document, such as the whether it can be printed, copied or forwarded. Then you can track all the activity of your document so you can see all the places your document has been sent, by whom and when, who opened it and when, who printed it and when — a complete document activity audit. Yet its features are practical, sensible and uncluttered.
Watchdox uses a secure Flash-driven viewer that requires no special software download or login. When you send or receive your first WatchDox doc, you simply enter your email address to start the quick authentication process. Access to documents is controlled via email; you are authenticated when you receive an email from the site and click on a link. Easy. Of course, you must have full control over your email address and inbox — and be confident that is also true of anyone you share your documents with — for this security model to work.
If you edit a shared document, all the recipients will see the newly updated document the next time they access it. You can revoke permissions from any recipient at any time. You can also add an expiration date to documents, after which they won’t be viewable by the recipients.
All of the documents you send and receive are stored in your “My Documents” box. You can store up to 50MB on WatchDox with the free version, and documents automatically expire after 30 days. At any given time you can send up to two documents for a total of 15MB. The system is based on Amazon Web Services, so should scalable for enterprise-level needs. WatchDox provides document security for Box.net, so you might already be using it.
Watchdox is free to use while in beta. There will always be a free version for individual users, but Confidela will also introduce premium plans starting at $15/month per sender (there is no limit to document recipients).
Right now, to send and view documents, you must visit the WatchDox site unless you have Microsoft Outlook; a plugin is available that automates the document sharing process from your inbox.
One neat security-enhancing feature is that if you click away from a Watchdox document browser window, the document is instantly blurred by a virtual “curtain.” This is a clever way to mask private and confidential content from people peeking over your shoulder.
While services like Scribd have made it much easier to share documents online, WatchDox takes things to the next level by adding no-hassle (no password required) security, including a virtual paper trail.
Of course, I concede that just sharing a document online reduces its security; however, for documents that don’t have “National Security” stamped at the top, this app seems like a winner.
How are you sending your documents securely?