Adobe boosts security offerings

June 2, 2008
New features in Acrobat 9, LiveCycle system

Adobe is out with a new security solutions in its product line. Highlighting the emphasis on security is the release of Acrobat 9, the standard software in PDF documents. The overall emphasis on security from Adobe is to "extend internal security processes to employees, clients and customers," explains John Landwehr, director of security solutions and strategy at Adobe.

Functionally, the newest version of Acrobat adds support for Flash and PDF portfolios, an improved form authoring ability to engage workflow, the ability to work with Adobe's hosted document services. With the advent of Acrobat Pro Extended, users gain support for 3D, GIS, video conversions and Adobe Presenter software. Improving on the security of Acrobat 9 is a new document digital signature process, the inclusions of FIPS-certified AES 256 bit encryption, and a system to allow security settings be managed at an enterprise level (such that security rules could be set by IT and applied to documents on the Intranet). Common functions like password-secured PDFs are still for base-level security, said Landwehr.

Additionally, Adobe has updated its LiveCycle rights management system. The solution allows enterprises to share secured documents, and supports for not only the PDF format, but also expands protection to Office documents, select CAD programs and videos.

Inside the LiveCycle rights management solution is the digital signatures solution. One of the challenges that companies and organizations had experienced was that form documents could be posted online, but the challenge was that documents would have to be printed to be signed and returned. With the digital signatures, forms can be completed, "signed" and returned digitally.

Beyond the new version of Acrobat 9 and the updates for LiveCycle, the company is offering certified document services. The service allows organizations to publish documents whose digital signatures; those digital signatures/document certifications allow Acrobat and Reader to recognize the documents as trusted and secure. According to Landwehr, the U.S. Government Printing Office has adopted this solution for online publishing of the FY 2009 Federal Budget.

In announcing the security updates, Adobe also announced partnerships with a variety of information security providers, including a list that includes VeriSign, Aladdin, Chosen Security, Entrust, Gemalto, RSA, GlobalSign, Arx and others.

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