5 PDF Security Tools Your Clients Want You to Use

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Information security is a hot topic, and for good reason.

Reports of new breaches emerge on a monthly, if not weekly basis. Regardless of the type of information stolen, be it financial data, passwords, or personal details, it’s a signal of bad news for everyone involved.

Yes, the high-profile security breaches we hear about on the news (remember Target? Experian? Ashley Madison?) have compromised customer data. But the aftermath for such breaches can go much deeper, negatively impacting brand trust for millions of consumers even beyond those personally affected.

Whether you have millions of customers or hundreds, each individual represents value for your company. You should be taking any steps you can to protect the information of the people who choose to do business with you, especially with so many transactions happening digitally these days.

But where should you start, especially if resources are tight?

If your business is dependent on on the exchange of PDF documents—contracts, NDAs, tax forms, applications, etc.—we’ve got good news for you. It’s likely that you already have a wealth of effective PDF security tools available to you right inside your PDF editor. That’s right, you can better protect client information using something you already have!

Here are five PDF security tools you can use to go the extra mile and keep customer data locked down.


To those without proper access credentials, an encrypted PDF file appears to be a scrambled mess. Encryption is great because it is integrated persistently throughout the content of a file, vs enveloping the file. This means the content of the PDF stays protected regardless of where it’s stored or how it’s shared. Nitro meets industry standards with built-in 256-bit AES encryption. Different types of encryption include:

  • Password Encryption – One password is set and used to encrypt and decrypt a file.
  • Public Key Encryption – This method uses two keys: a public key known to everyone and a private key known only to a recipient. For example, the sender would invite the recipient to view the file using the recipient’s public key, then the recipient would use their own private key to access the file.
  • Rights Management – This type of encryption protects documents both in motion and at rest. Authentication of a document protected with Rights Management is tied to your organization’s database, so sensitive information can’t move outside of the business.

Use case: After a given tax season, an accountancy could choose to encrypt client tax documents before storing them for the next year, should an unauthorized party get access to the files.


Passwords can be assigned to documents to establish various user permissions. By password-protecting a PDF file, the owner can control whether users can view, edit, and/or print the file, and even prevent users from copying information contained in the document.

Use case: A mortgage broker can password-protect a PDF file containing bank account information before sending it to her clients via email, ensuring nobody else can access.


Redacting text or images from a PDF file proves very helpful when a certain information must be removed from a document before sharing. Redaction permanently removes selected content so there’s no chance of it being accessed in the future. Nitro also includes a whiteout tool for redacting and leaving a white background.

Use case: A legal team might use redaction to remove names or other details from court documentation to maintain privacy.

Dynamic Stamps

In Nitro, dynamic stamps are associated with the user. They include fields that populate with the user’s information, so their name, the date, and time of stamping are applied to the PDF to show who approved the document and when.

Use case: A consultant can apply a dynamic “received” stamp on an invoice to indicate the time and date on which a client pays for service.

Digital Certificates

Think of digital certificates as electronic ID cards—they contain a user’s personal information and verify their identify. You can use digital certificates to encrypt, decrypt, and legally eSign documents, as the certificate ensures each user is in fact who they claim to be.

Use case: To speed up paperwork, a real estate agent can request that a client eSign a document using a digital certificate to verify their identity.

To learn more about Nitro’s security tools, check out the “Protect” tab on the home ribbon, or click here.

Don’t have Nitro? Download a free trial now. Or, contact us to set up a multi-user trial for your team.

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