Workshare has published a new free whitepaper outlining the potentially serious risks hidden metadata in documents can pose and the unintended consequences that may result when organizations reveal information that is meant for internal use only.  The paper highlights a number of high profile cases where organizations have suffered embarrassment, or worse, when metadata in documents was exposed.

A Guide to the Dangers of Hidden Information in Documents points out the types of metadata contained in Microsoft Office documents and the risks these types of metadata may presents such as putting businesses at financial risk and competitive disadvantage, as well as an overview of the conflicting legal opinions about the status of metadata which does ‘leak out.’ Through Microsoft Office, metadata is automatically added to documents whenever a document is created, edited or saved; and author’s actions through the use of such collaboration features as comment and track changes also result in significant amounts of metadata being included. Within a few weeks Workshare will release Workshare Professional 7 which will have enhanced metadata protection features including a simple, one-click protection for email and comprehensive metadata cleaning from PDF attachments sent by email.

The whitepaper reports on several  widely publicized, high profile cases in which metadata has gotten (sic) organizations in serious trouble and recommends that metadata be carefully cleaned and screened, and that the risks of sharing confidential information outside a company’s firewall increases substantially with the rise in use of smartphones and tablets to view, edit and email documents. Thje whitepaper is available as a PDF download at:
www.workshare.com/collateral/misc/Dangers_of_Document_Metadata.pdf