In today’s corporate world, images and documents travel widely and rapidly, in multiple manifestations, through email and across the Internet. Controlling and protecting sensitive or confidential documents and images has become next to impossible. Corporations have very little visibility into exactly where their documents are being accessed or by whom.

Consider documents and images that are generated in support of a major product launch. Corporate communications professionals face significant challenges in managing these assets through very complex sales and marketing channels. Images and documents are distributed to remote offices, agencies, distributors, dealers and more, and must be managed to ensure confidential information is not leaked before the launch date. Ensuring the right image appears at just the right time is a major concern, and the premature release of launch materials can be devastating to a company and the campaign.


Digital watermarking enables corporations and brand owners to embed a unique digital ID into confidential documents and digital images. This digital information is imperceptible to humans but can easily be detected by computers, networks and various digital devices. For instance, a unique digital watermark can be easily embedded into each copy of a confidential document as they are being created and distributed.

The data contained in the watermark can include who the recipients are of each copy so that any information that is inadvertently or intentionally leaked out is easily traced back to the source. Additionally, companies can use network detectors and email filters to check for digital watermarks within documents and images, providing notification if an attempt is made at uploading to the web or forwarding in email outside the company.

Finally, watermark detectors can be included in various printers, scanners and other devices to check for watermarks in confidential documents that someone is attempting to copy. In this case the watermark can trigger an action, such as do not copy or scan.

Effective document and image security helps companies…

  • Identify each copy of a confidential document and/or image with a unique digital identity
  • Trace back to the source of leaks if sensitive materials are distributed intentionally or inadvertently
  • Filter documents being uploaded to the web or forwarded in email to quickly identify confidential materials and stop distribution
  • Prevent the copying of confidential documents on copiers and/or scanners

Document and Image Security Example Workflow

Example of Watermark Embeds in Common Owned Media

Learn More

  • Download “Managing Valuable Image Assets — Using Digital Watermarking for Copyright Communication and Image Search” White Paper (PDF, 230kb)
  • DWA White Papers

Member companies who offer, “Document and Image Security,” solutions:

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