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Essential Security Software Inc
Your firm e-mails the new client package out to the potential client C. Client C
accesses the proposal's metadata and sees that you gave your current client A, a
competitor, a much more favorable bid, or sees previously deleted data provided
to Client A. The result on this unintended meta data discovery is a loss of revenue
from Clients A, B, and C.
The dilemma is that a small/medium business enterprise s digital assets may reach
an audience for whom it was not meant for. Unintentional data sharing incidents
unchecked are out of a small or medium business enterprise s control, meta data
The problem of meta data is even more compounded in industries like legal,
medical and financial fields where monetary fines are attached for revealing
private information. Case litigation costs can soar if certain client lawyer
information becomes public. Patient treatment outcomes could be affected if when
medical records fall into non-clinician hands. An investor s successful portfolio
could be revealed when analysis information like Microsoft Excel spreadsheets are
accidentally distributed in a brokerage firm to non-pertinent personnel.
Meta data information is data which describes another set of data. It provides
information about or documentation of other data managed within an application
or environment.(2) Many software programs from Microsoft Office to Adobe CS s
Version Cue and Adobe Bridge captures meta data information to track document
use. Meta data describes how and when and by whom a particular set of
information was collected, and how the information is formatted.
Metadata is created in a variety of ways in Word documents. As a result, there is
no single method to remove all such content from your documents. (3) Some of
the meta data is benign, but in the proposal time-crunch scenario and compliance
scenarios, meta data can financially cost.
Many businesses store their office collateral in Microsoft Word documents. Some
metadata is easily accessible through the Word user interface. Other metadata is
only accessible through extraordinary means, such as by opening a document in a
low-level binary file editor. (4) In Microsoft Word 2002, for example, the
following is the type of meta data that s collected when a document begins its life.
" Your name
" Your initials
" Your company or organization name
" The name of your computer
" The name of the network server or hard disk where you saved the document
" Other file properties and summary information
" Non-visible portions of embedded OLE objects
" The names of previous document authors