EMC ups ante in applying DRM to text

EMC ups ante in applying DRM to text

Summary: Last week, I wrote about a strange DRM-esque message that Outlook displayed after I opened an e-mail with a PDF attachement.  In all my years of using Outlook, I had never seen this message before and I had no idea why it was showing it to me now.

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TOPICS: EMC
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Last week, I wrote about a strange DRM-esque message that Outlook displayed after I opened an e-mail with a PDF attachement.  In all my years of using Outlook, I had never seen this message before and I had no idea why it was showing it to me now.  I cancelled-out of the message and everything still worked fine.  In that same post, I also pointed to World Wide Web Consortium general counsel Danny Weitzner who was wondering out loud (in a blog) about Adobe's DRM-esque technologies that allow PDF files to "phone home."  Not to be outdone in the area of DRMing documents, EMC has apparently tossed its hat into the ring.  According to eWeek's Matt Hines:

Utilizing technology gained via the company's March 2006 acquisition of Authentica, EMC launched Documentum Information Rights Management—or IRM—Services and Documentum Records Manager 5.3 on Aug. 7, a pair of offerings that will be sold alongside its ECM (enterprise content management) and records management software with the aim of helping companies get a better handle on the manner in which they organize, share and store data.....As with similar eDRM technologies, such as Adobe's Acrobat 3D platform, introduced earlier this year, the products pledge to help companies better protect sensitive data in business transactions when they are forced to share information with outsiders including partners or customers. By integrating the tools with its existing storage and records management products, EMC is hoping to become an end-to-end provider of document life-cycle technologies.

 

It's kinda funny.... all you need to do is switch EMC's letters around and you get the acronym for enterprise content management.  EMC isn't the only with one with designs on being an end-to-end provider. There is, of course, Adobe and lest we forget whose software is probably the most prodigious generator of business documents in the world and where that little Redmond, WA-based outfit is heading.  Here's an excerpt from an interview with Microsoft's general manager for the Office Sharepoint Server Group Jeff Teper regarding the software giant's investements into ECM:

Another differentiator is the synergy we’ve created between ECM and digital rights management solutions by integrating rights-management capabilities with our ECM offering. Customers who need to preserve their intellectual property, keep information confidential or maintain data privacy from the perspective of regulation compliance can use these capabilities to ensure that their content is protected, not only when it’s in the repository but also when that content is downloaded onto an employee’s hard drive or attached to an e-mail. And with XPS (the XML Paper Specification, a new file format that will be available as part of Microsoft Windows Vista and as a new “Save as” option in the Microsoft Office 2007 release), that same level of protection can be extended beyond Microsoft Office documents and applied to many other types of documents.

You may not have heard of XPS, but you may have heard it's codename Metro. So, much the same way there are multiple incompatible DRM schemes in the area of digital entertainment, we're beginning to see some of the same things happen with business documents (albeit with a slight different set of players).

Meanwhile, if you can rethink your document management strategy, I would stongly suggest getting away from proprietary file formats and sharing mechanisms and thinking about something much more lightweight like wikis.  See my treatise on knowledge/information centricty vs. document centricity for some ideas on how to stop thinking about documents when you think about organizational knowledge retention.  If you're one of those companies paying through the nose (like 6 digits) for some sort of high-brow document management system, you may see how taking the wiki approach may involve a significant cultural change, but a welcome change to the bottom line as well.

Topic: EMC

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9 comments
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  • This way to the egress

    With a name like mine, I really have to hand it to a really accomplished snake-oil salesman. The rush to "lock down" text is one of the few things that beats the rush of "roof repair firms" that hit central Arizona this time of year.

    Especially in light of the fact that Defcon was last week and too many security experts to bother counting have pointed out the utter futility of trying to keep the contents of a file from someone you're allowing to read it -- they [i]must[/i] have the key as well as the plaintext at some point in the process.

    If only eyeball surface.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Right on!

    Those of us in the Lotus Notes world have had the functional near-equivalent of wikis for many years now. We've had quite a long time to build up experience with the subject.

    Companies that focus on the SHARING of knowledge have an inherent competitive edge over companies that focus on how they'll restrict their knowledge. I think that those that obsess over how they'll close themselves off must suffer from some mild form of insanity. The benefits of collaboration and open communication are just too obvious to ignore.
    dave.leigh@...
    • Near equivalent

      [i]Those of us in the Lotus Notes world have had the functional near-equivalent of wikis for many years now. We've had quite a long time to build up experience with the subject.[/i]

      That's like saying that a sap is the "near equivalent" of anaesthesia for surgery. Either way the patient isn't screaming or thrashing about, but the experience is just a bit different.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
      • It's nearer than that

        The difference between a wiki and a shared notes document store is largely the client you use to update it (Notes vs. a browser) and some additional markup. There need not be any difference at all. I'm quite fond of DominoWiki, a project that can be found on OpenNTF.org. (It's the featured OpenNTF project right now, AAMOF... see it at http://www.openntf.org/)
        dave.leigh@...
        • Yagotta be kidding!

          [i]The difference between a wiki and a shared notes document store is largely the client you use to update it (Notes vs. a browser) and some additional markup.[/i]

          Well, that and the fact that the Notes process involves checking out the document (about ten or twelve clicks plus text entry), loading the document into an editor, then saving it, then uploading it (an other dozen or so clicks plus text entry.)

          Besides that, they're identical.

          Having suffered with Notes shared documents for the last seven years (it seems much, much longer) I'm spending several hours a week begging our IS staff to set up a simple wiki so we can acutally collaborate instead of spending all of our time as slaves to the tool.
          Yagotta B. Kidding
          • What planet are YOU visiting?

            Dude, that's not how it works AT ALL.
            I'm talking about Notes documents, not attachments.

            To edit a Notes document, you simply click Edit or double-click the document, and edit it right there in the Notes client. That has ALWAYS been the case, and it has ALWAYS been as simple as using a Wiki.

            There is NO checking out of the document, there is NO "text entry" other than the content you'd add, there is NO need for an external editor, there is NO need to save it separately, and there is NO need to upload it. IOW, you got EVERY SINGLE FACT WRONG.

            Even when you're talking about attachments (which WAS cumbersome, but outside the scope of my observation), in Notes 6.5 or higher you simply double-click the attachment and select Edit. It opens in your preferred editor, you make your changes, and it automatically updates the attachment in Notes.

            When using DominoWiki as I suggested, you wouldn't have to beg your IS department for bupkis. Just place the Wiki in a directory on the Notes server (which should have been made available to you unless your IS department is full of chimps) and you can set up the wiki yourself... which, as you can see, IS EXACTLY LIKE A WIKI. http://www.dominowiki.com/

            In actuality, this is a Notes database sitting on a Domino server. Since Notes databases are web-capable, this is how Notes documents can look to the Web.

            Now go 'way, and don't give us any more outdated fiction about "suffering" with Notes documents. Sounds like you've had a bunch of poor workmen who'd rather blame the tool than their incompetence.
            dave.leigh@...
  • How does WiKi protect the document???

    TO my knowledge it never has.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • Same as anything else

      SSL connection, access control to the content.

      One nice feature is that when you update or remove the content on the server, it's [i]gone[/i] rather than having copies all over the place.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Wonderful

    I guess it's a sign of the times, but I fear we are going to see more and more goofy stuff like this, at least until there is some sort of revolt. It's a shame, but these kinds of idiotic moves make open source alternatives look so good.

    http://opendomain.blogspot.com
    opensourcepro