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ERM Not Just For the 'Big Guys' Anymore: Small Business Rights Management A Reality


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Small Business Rights Management (SBRM) is a term which reflects the shift ERM (Enterprise Rights Management) technology has taken as awareness of industry compliance issues and protection of original works has evolved and become implicit within businesses of under 50 employees. From published manuscripts to original cookie recipes, protecting original works, customer or patient records isn’t just “good business, ” but in many industries a matter of compliance. The question is how can small firm businesses invest in ERM software at its current exorbitant cost?

The realm of protected digital documents, like many business solution advances has traditionally only been available to privileged large corporate enterprise businesses. This is no longer the case.

Technology mandates that it catch up with the populace. In the early 1980s, first generation laptops are a far cry from the lightweight Apple PowerBooks, or Dells. ERM software has itself has begun to slim down and no longer appears like the bulky over-priced, 24 pound Osborne1 (the first laptop computer).

Rights management solutions can now be for small to medium-sized businesses or sole-proprietorships too. SBRM solutions provide businesses of a smaller scale an equal level of user rights management and encryption previously available to large enterprise business.

Standard ERM or SBRM software gives content authors the power to determine how recipients may use their email and documents. For example, senders can prevent unauthorized distribution (no forwarding, printing) and prevent unauthorized editing (no cut, copy, paste) of content, i. e. copy prevention.

For some industries like finance, medical and legal, keeping communiqué, client/patient records and data is a matter of industry compliance. In finance, Sarbanes-Oxley protects investors and governs corporate responsibility. HIPAA the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act not only protects health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs, but also dictates that patient information be kept private. Compliance regulations in such industries are a cost of doing business, and are often pricey mandates. Government compliance issues for many industries often becomes a burden, forcing small neighborhood clinics, firms and businesses go under due the financial stress.

Compliance as it concerns digital data is finally catching up to the widening commercial sector which is highly impacted by the success of small businesses. Small firms dealing with compliance issues can turn to SBRM solutions to bridge the gap between staying current with industry regulations and staying in business.

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Resources for Further Reading:

  • Privacy Rights -
  • Wikipedia Articles:

    • DRM - Digital Rights Management -http://en.
    • Copy Prevention (and DRM)- http://en.

Marilee Veniegas is an alumni of the University of Washington she joined the Marketing team at Essential Security Software, Inc. in 2005. She also serves as a site editor for ESS's "I Want My ESS!" website, a place to share stories and images of intellectual-property theft. A business resource of shared email and IP theft experiences.


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