The best way to redact a document: 5 benefits of using software

16 April 2020

illustration of a miniature man redacting a document
The best way to redact a document: 5 benefits of using software

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In many regulated industries, redaction plays a crucial role in making sure that confidential data or sensitive information is not viewed by the wrong people – for example, when sharing documents with a third party that include an individual’s personally identifiable information (PII).

Where an organisation is using a manual process, they’re more at risk of exposing confidential or sensitive information. They would have the laborious and time-consuming task of scouring the document – or, more often than not, multiple documents – for data or information that needs to be redacted by hand, in which they use a black marker simply to overwrite the sensitive information. However, information can easily be missed and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology can often identify words that have been redacted by hand.

In addition, some scanners don’t recognize where black markers have been used to redact information on a document, so when scanned it can show the hidden information in the new document. Mistakes like these can have serious consequences for an organisation, to both its reputation and its finances.

Redaction hit the headlines in January last year following a failure by lawyers to properly redact pleadings for former lobbyist and former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. Journalists were able to show the redacted text in the documents filed by copying and pasting the text and redactions from the pleadings into another document. This revealed the redacted text from the original document, including new details of Manafort’s relationship with his former associate Konstantin Kilimnik, who had links with Russia.

The benefits of introducing redaction software

Organisations in heavily regulated industries can achieve several benefits by augmenting their document review process with redaction software such as PleaseReview.

Redaction software offers many features and benefits that can help organisations improve document redaction, including:

1. A secure and controlled environment that lets review owners choose who can access documents, as well as define permissions for each reviewer and their role in the document redaction process.

2. Improved collaboration that lets teams work together and have complete visibility of which redactions have been suggested and by whom. Multiple reviewers can also work on the same document at the same time from different devices, both on and offline. This makes the redaction review more efficient, which is particularly important for time-sensitive documents.

3. A more consistent and compliant process that reduces time and staff resources. Redaction software can identify multiple pieces of text and data that need to be securely redacted, making sure that the organisation continues to comply with laws and regulations.

4. Improved version control of the document by automatically updating the original document with accepted redactions. This reduces the risk of the wrong version of the document being used, which could have devastating consequences, such as regulatory fines or legal action as a result of breaches of confidentiality.

5. A complete audit trail that shows who has suggested information to be redacted and the reason why, as well as showing information that has been accepted for redaction and who accepted it. The software can produce a complete record that helps organisations to meet legal requirements and be audit-ready.

Getting redaction right is critical for an organisation and the right software can help eliminate any worries of getting it wrong.

PleaseReview can help simplify and streamline your redaction process to make redacting documents quicker and easier. It offers the best way to redact a document while giving you a secure, controlled, web-based environment for real-time collaboration across groups, technologies and geographies. Request a free demo.

Written by

Alexander Pavlović

Alex produces targeted content to help Ideagen’s readers and customers navigate the complex world of quality, governance, risk and compliance.

Alex has worked with brands such as BT, Sodexo and Unilever and is passionate about helping businesses build a cohesive, collaborative culture of quality.

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