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11/24/2004
07:30 AM
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App Battens Down Office

Latest version of Authentica's software makes it easier to control who can view and print Microsoft Office files

Digital-rights-management company Authentica Inc. next month plans to release software that makes it easier for users to restrict Microsoft Office files. The release comes as more government regulations are causing the market for such software to balloon.

Authentica's Secure Office 2 will let companies add restrictions on how Office documents can be circulated and printed to files directly via a simple user interface, without the extra steps required in the first version of the product. Secure Office also will protect files shared on a network or E-mailed among users.

It's easier to work with secured files as needed, says Rebecca Burr, director of market analysis for programmable-logic chipmaker Xilinx Inc.

It's easier to work with secured files as needed, Xilinx's Burr says.

Photo by Angela Wyant
"It's easier to work with Office documents the way you're used to working with them," says Rebecca Burr, director of market analysis for programmable-logic chipmaker Xilinx Inc., who's tested the software. Secure Office previously required users to create a PDF file before they could assign security attributes to a document. "You lost the ability to manipulate the data in your spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations," Burr says. "Now you don't lose that work."

Sales of digital-rights-management software are growing fast, in part because of new requirements on how companies share information in laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, and Sarbanes-Oxley acts. The market for such software is expected to increase to $274 million by 2008, from $36 million last year, according to Jupiter Research.

Authentica isn't the only company offering corporate digital-rights-management software. Microsoft's Windows Rights Management Services works with Office 2003 to restrict some access rights. Smaller companies such as Liquid Machines Inc. and SealedMedia Inc. have introduced rights-management software. And Adobe Systems Inc. is adding enhanced rights-management capabilities to its software.

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