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WatchDox Makes Document Security Simple

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WatchDox - document control, document tracking & document protectionEvery 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 (s adbe) 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 (s amzn), so should scalable for enterprise-level needs. WatchDox provides document security for, 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).

WatchDoxRight now, to send and view documents, you must visit the WatchDox site unless you have Microsoft Outlook (s msft); 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?

15 Responses to “WatchDox Makes Document Security Simple”

  1. If someone receives the document are they allowed to download it to their desktop or does it stay in the email? Is this an option for the sender to decide? Let us say the primary user allows the document to be downloaded to a desktop. If the receiver is reading the document offline, and the primary user wants to take away his viewing rights it seems he will not have the authority to do so. It seems once someone takes the file into their desktop and offline they can do as they please with it. So does Watchdox only give the primary user control of all documents so long as they are online?

    • WatchDox allows you also to download documents and the protections stay even when off-line (currently only for Office documents). Try going to then click on “More” icon and then “Download Protected”. You can see you can download a protected and encrypted version of the document.
      The document owner can change permissions to the document at any time and those will be applied also to the downloaded document.
      In general, users (recipients) can always go to to My Documents (then to My Received Documents) and they will have access to all the documents that were shared with them via WatchDox (so there is no need to search the email with the original link).

  2. WatchDox does have basic screen capture prevention. However, in today’s world with the iPhone and Blackberry that have built-in cameras and are email-enabled you are two clicks away from taking a photo of the screen and emailing it to the world. Having said that, WatchDox has a unique solution even for that…
    Try the Spotlight feature:

    Keep in mind that the watermarks help identify the leak and together with the tracking help in most cases deter a violator.
    You can read more about WatchDox approach on the FAQ at: (second Q from the bottom).

  3. Andy O.

    Great features while the document remains electronic, but is it too obvious to state that once someone prints out your document, you have lost all control?