KfW Bankengruppe, the promotional bank in Germany, has chosen Workshare to cleanse its Microsoft Office documents from hidden and sensitive information, eliminating outbound content risk. Workshare Protect is available to all 3900 KfW employees from within their Office applications. Potentially sensitive data can be removed from outgoing document at a click of a mouse. Workshare's solution for Information Leak Prevention (ILP) can be operated by every Office user without any training and provides KfW with the highest level of safety for document-based communication.
In day-to-day use of digital documents like Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, the fact that they contain hidden information along with the visible content is often overlooked. This could be information such as names of authors, email addresses, version numbers, keywords or storage directories saved as so called metadata. Equally delicate is the "track changes" function in Word which logs who made which edits to a document, or hidden spreadsheet columns, that may contain confidential financial data. If inadvertently distributed to third parties, such confidential information may cause a serious security issue and not just in the financial sector.
After a proof-of-concept phase with 20 employees, KfW decided in favour of the ILP solution Workshare Protect to comply with the strict internal data privacy policies with regards to everyday work with Office documents. Workshare Protect analyses documents of all types, searches for hidden data and sensitive information defined by information security policies, and alerts the user to it. To do this, the user doesn't have to leave his familiar working environment - one click of a mouse is enough to check the current document. If sensitive data is detected, it will be displayed and the user has the option to remove it or leave it in the document.
"It was important to us that our employees develop an awareness for content risk. Every employee knows best which information is sensitive and which is not. The same applies to the editing status of a document," explains Gerd Reinhardt, head of the department for PC management at KfW, when describing the motivation for using Workshare. "With Workshare Protect our employees now have a tool for easily cleansing their files if necessary. It encourages responsible handling of documents as you can decide on your own accord what to do with the content."
Workshare Protect integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office 2003 which was introduced to the entire KfW organisation in the course of a comprehensive migration of all desktop computers to Microsoft Windows XP ServicePack 2. After their computers were updated, employees received a notification from the department of PC management informing them about the new features of their equipment. This included informing employees about the risk inherent in their documents and that they now have Workshare at their disposal to cleanse their documents. No extensive training was required, step-to-step instructions on KfW's Intranet were fully sufficient.
"KfW is a true role model for our approach to empower end users to take care of the security of their document-based communication on their own accord," says Andrew Pearson, General Manager EMEA at Workshare. "Especially in banking, trust between a bank and its customers and partners is an indispensable cornerstone for doing business. Every employee knows this, and with Workshare they can prove their trustworthiness in the daily use of digital documents. This approach creates more user acceptance for a software tool than any policy or automatic control mechanism of communication processes could."
Workshare supported KfW's IT specialists during the selection process, the testing and the initial implementation phase. The rollout at the three locations in Berlin, Bonn and Frankfurt was entirely in the hands of KfW's IT department.