Digital Rights Management: What It Is and Why You Should Embrace It


Digital Rights Management - what is it and why do you need to embrace it?

Every company has sensitive information that some employees and third parties are allowed to access, but that others absolutely must not. Modern businesses go to great lengths to ensure only the right people can view this data. The last thing they want is to end up as a headline, becoming yet another company to suffer from a cybersecurity breach.

Today, there are countless ways for businesses to keep these kinds of documents safe, but far too many are missing out on one of the oldest and most reliable: digital rights management.

What Is Digital Rights Management?

Digital rights management is an umbrella term that refers to any of the different technology-based strategies that can be used to control who is permitted to access specific material.

Though digital rights management can take on near-endless forms, here are some typical examples of this concept in action:

  • Denying the forwarding of specific emails
  • Keeping users from copying and/or printing materials in an eBook or another digital form of content
  • Requiring Internet access to access specific programs
  • Requiring license keys to activate a program
  • Restricting how many users and/or devices can access a program at the same time
  • Taking digital measures to make it harder for ripping software to copy CDs and DVDs

Although most people know about direct rights management as it relates to the entertainment industry, these preventative measures have found plenty of adopters across almost every other industry, as well.

3 Reasons to Embrace Digital Rights Management

While there are still plenty of companies out there that haven’t yet invested in digital rights management, that group is diminishing in number by the year. There are three main reasons more, and more businesses will continue leveraging the technology behind these preventative measures.

1. Employees May Represent a Major Cybersecurity Threat

As anyone who works in InfoSec can attest, employees are often the most common reason companies lose control of their sensitive documents or even secured access to their networks.

No matter how many times businesses remind their staff about the threat posed by cybercriminals, it only takes one employee to forget a specific guideline for a malicious party to find their opening.

With digital rights management, much of the responsibility is taken away from employees. While it’s still essential to provide them with ongoing training about defending against cybercriminals, measures can also be considered that would make it impossible for them to inadvertently share sensitive documents or provide unapproved third-party access.

2. Direct Rights Management Can Be a Major Selling Point

Whether in a B2B or B2C industry, no customer wants to worry that doing business with an organization means their confidential information may suddenly be vulnerable to unauthorized parties.

Most B2C customers may not care to learn the details of how companies are protecting their data, but they are concerned about security. Implementing digital rights management is a powerful way to ensure that B2C businesses don’t lose customers because of exploited vulnerabilities.

The same can be said for B2B companies. Generally, their clients do want to know what measures are being taken to protect their data (which often includes their customers’ data), so explaining to them what has been done to limit access, replication, and modification of such information can go a long way toward earning trust.

3. Tracking Access and Use Is Easier When Controlling Both

Managing who has access to certain digital assets and how they can access them involves procedures that also lend themselves to effective reporting.

For example, if a company decides that only executives can access their internal budget projections, they’ll have an easy time measuring how often that happens. They can even put measures in place, so they know who is doing the accessing, when they are doing so, from where, and with what kinds of devices.

That becomes much more helpful when access rights are distributed across an entire company. Knowing this kind of information can help business owners decide who truly needs access to certain documents.

It’s also a considerable preventative measure against internal attacks. Employees are less likely to commit an internal attack if they know there are management protocols in place that will report who was responsible.

Every Company Needs to Implement Digital Rights Management

Digital rights management has been around for nearly 20 years, though most people had never heard of it until online piracy became a significant threat to the entertainment industry. It’s a tried-and-true practice for keeping digital assets safe, which is why every company should invest in it.

For any business that foregoes these practices, it’s only a matter of time before sensitive documents end up in front of unauthorized eyes. Given how many other threats modern companies are under, keeping information safe by managing digital rights is one of the most straightforward steps they can take toward better security.

Want to continue learning about the latest technology creating a safer and more productive workplace?  Check out our Trends in Technology guide!

Cory Porteous
Director of Marketing & Inbound Business Development
Office Interiors

New call-to-action