Summary
Document Control 6.0


Pros: Extends RMS, works with AD, provides support in a wide range of industries, and is easy to use
Cons: Works with only Windows machines and stores data in a SQL Server 2000 database
Rating: 4 diamonds
Price: Starts at $30,000 for as many as 100 users
Recommendation: This product is useful for enterprise-level corporations where the need to secure sensitive documentation outweighs the product's cost.
Contact: Liquid Machine * (877) 885-4784 *
www.liquidmachines.com * info@liquidmachines.com

Many industries are being saddled with increasing security and compliance requirements. Companies that are concerned about compliance and security are always looking for new ways to safeguard their sensitive documents. Microsoft Office 2003 integrates with Microsoft Rights Management Services (RMS) to prevent unauthorized access to Office documents. However, RMS doesn't address several other applications used throughout many organizations, such as Microsoft Office XP, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Microsoft Office Visio 2003. Liquid Machines Document Control 6.0 lets you make policies to control who has read, write, and print access to sensitive documents. Document Control 6.0 works as either a standalone document control system or with RMS to secure sensitive documents that are exchanged between employees and customers.

Installing the product was simple and intuitive. Built on the Microsoft .NET Framework, Document Control 6.0 requires SQL Server 2000 to store all document access information under control. (A separate SQL Server license is also required.) You access document control administration through a Web interface where policies, reports, and settings are created and administered. When I opened the Web-based administration site, I entered the appropriate database information, which initialized the data repository for Document Control 6.0. I also entered administrator credentials to access Active Directory (AD). Finally, I configured the Client Console address text box by entering the name of the machine running the Policy Server.

I tested the Web administrative interface by clicking Policy to configure a new policy. I created a Finance policy group where I could specify new policies and added an Accounts Receivable policy to the group. Then I added a role and specified which AD users would belong to it, as Figure 1 shows. I also set the role’s CONTENT RIGHTS, enabling the role to write but not to print or script any document under this policy control to a file. I configured the POLICY RIGHTS section to enable the role to access the policy from the Policy Droplet control, which can be found in the upper right-hand corner of a client application. Finally, I set the role's ACCESS RIGHTS by indicating how long the document would be available and its expiration date.

I opened the client application and logged on as a user with access to a policy. I updated the policies in the Client Console from the server. I was able to view the policy group and the policies in that group after the client was updated. When I selected a policy, that policy's specific permissions were displayed in the Client Console.

To test the Policy Droplet control, I opened a PDF file and added a policy from the drop-down list. After Document Control 6.0 warned that I wouldn't be able to revert to previous policies, the document was under the new policy control. The policy specified that I could read and edit the document but couldn't print or script it. When I tried to print the document, a message displayed that said I didn't have permission to print that particular document.

I had read in Liquid Machines' documentation that the policy settings would follow content between applications, so I opened Microsoft Word and Excel to test this claim. I applied the Accounts Receivable policy in Excel and entered some data into the cells. Then I copied the cells from Excel and pasted them into Word. The Word document wasn't initially under policy control, but it was once I pasted the data into Word from Excel. It's important to note that the Document Control 6.0 client must be installed on the local machine to view any of the documents that are under its policy control.

I looked at Document Control 6.0's auditing reports on the server. These reports were comprehensive and gave a good overview of how documents were successfully or unsuccessfully accessed. I was also impressed with how helpful and courteous all the Liquid Machines representatives were.

Although Document Control 6.0 is basically an extension of RMS, it provides better coverage of document control than RMS does. Document Control 6.0 can benefit a variety of industries, including the medical, financial, and manufacturing industries. Document Control 6.0 can be implemented in any size company, but it's cost-prohibitive for smaller companies. This product is worth the investment for large companies that have sensitive documentation that needs to meet compliance regulation and is shared (internally or externally) on a regular basis.