Another powerful feature is that document producers can set different expiration dates for documents that they distribute to customers, business partners or employees. For example, "you can set a document like a price list to expire an on an absolute date like Dec. 31," Landwehr said. "After that date the document will no longer open." Or document managers can set a general expiration policy so that every new document will expire eight years after it was created for record retention purposes.When a user attempts to open the document, the policy server is contacted to authenticate the user and determine whether that user still has permission to view it, he explained. If the user meets certain conditions, the server will transmit the decryption key to the desktop, allowing the user to open and view the document. To read David Courseys commentary about Adobes relentless efforts to promote the PDF file format as an enterprise standard, click here. However, that doesnt necessarily mean a user must be online all the time to be authorized to read a document, he said. The policy server can also grant permission for users to read protected documents offline. In addition, the server can set "lease" policies that give users the right to access documents for finite periods of time, such as a day, a week or a year, Landwehr said. The policy server also provides auditing features that track who opens, prints, modifies or attempts to modify a document, Landwehr said. The audit feature works even when a user is offline, capturing the audit data and transmitting updates the next time the user goes back online to contact the server. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
The policy server is so sophisticated that it allows rights managers to revoke access privileges for a document after it leaves the premises and goes beyond the reach of the corporate network, even if the document is copied to a CD-ROM, according to Landwehr.