iPad, iPhone app promises to secure confidential documents

iPad, iPhone app promises to secure confidential documents

Is the answer to CIOs prayers?

With the latest update to WatchDox for iOS, enterprise users of iPads and iPhones can now annotate confidential documents on their devices without compromising security, according to the company.

Recently released as a free iTunes download WatchDox 2.5.0 coupled with WatchDox's subscription-based services deliver the first enterprise-grade secure environment for high-fidelity document viewing, synchronization and annotation on iPads and iPhones, said Ryan Kalember, vice president of strategy for WatchDox.

The BYOD popularity of iPads and iPhones can put at risk confidential documents stored or accessed from those consumer devices, which weren't built with enterprise security in mind. The WatchDox iOS app enables enterprise users in financial services, manufacturing and other industries to securely view documents (usually as PDFs) on iPads and iPhones.

WatchDox 2.5.0 adds to this the capability to annotate WatchDox documents on iOS devices. Annotations are stored locally on the iPad and iPhone and exist as layers to the PDF that WatchDox creates from the original uploaded document, Kalember said.

Users can't currently edit WatchDox-secured files on their iOS devices nor share annotations, Kalember added. However, securely sharing annotations is a feature planned for the next WatchDox iOS app update, which should be available within a few weeks, he said.

WatchDox documents are secured using OAuth-compliant authentication, encrypted HTTPS connections, and 256-bit AES encryption. (The WatchDox website offers more information about how WatchDox secures documents.) Businesses can opt for the WatchDox software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering or an on-premise secure document system. (Annual subscription rates begin in the five figures, Kalember said.) The WatchDox service enables users to control document printing, viewing, editing, and forwarding; track how documents are used and by whom; and remotely destroy documents.

Corporate board members are one use-case example for annotating secure documents on an iOS device, Kalember said. "Usually board members aren't employees of the company, they have iPads, and they want to review and annotate secure documents on their tablets before or during a meeting," he explained. "Because they aren't employees, their devices aren't managed by IT, and that creates a security risk," he added.

WatchDox customers have used the service and iOS app to securely view flight manuals on pilots' iPads, product designs on factory floors, and movie and TV scripts.

Android users can view, annotate and edit WatchDox-protected documents using a secure Flash container with their device's web browser. BlackBerry users can use the WatchDox BlackBerry app to view WatchDox-secured documents.

James A. Martin is technology journalist, an online marketing and PR consultant specializing in SEO, blogging and social media. Follow him on Twitter.

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