PDF Gone Wrong (and How to Make it Right)

Ripped from the headlines: A new case shows old perceptions about PDF software and how many users believe it can be manipulated. This article takes a closer look at what went wrong, how technology identified the culprits and ways powerful PDF tools can improve an organization’s control over any PDF document.

News broke recently that federal prosecutors brought a new indictment against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Richard Gates. This indictment contains new evidence that Manafort and Gates allegedly hid millions of dollars in overseas income from U.S. authorities and committed numerous counts of tax and bank fraud.

What is interesting is that Manafort’s downfall is connected to PDF technology, and specifically, his inability to convert a PDF file to Word, edit it, and then re-create it as a PDF document.

According to specific details from the indictment, “Manafort emailed Gates a PDF version of a real profit and loss statement, one that showed a loss of more than $600,000. Gates converted that PDF file into a Word document, which Manafort then edited by adding more than $3.5 million in income.” The indictment also alleges that Manafort then asked Gates to convert this new Word document back into PDF format, which he did.

This back-and-forth communication created an electronic trail and made it easy for prosecutors to see exactly who changed which documents and when.

The technology edge in preventing bad behavior

This case is another example of how technology helped thwart criminal behavior or make the case against individuals after the fact. Yet it really should be a cautionary tale for companies today, one that highlights the need to have the right technological safeguards in place to prevent these types of scenarios from happening in the first place.

We’ve written about other high-profile examples before and attempted to describe how the right solutions could have stopped them. For example, we took a closer look at the potential HIPAA violation related to a NFL player’s injury and how printers identified the culprit in a classified information leak. We even examined the Snowden case and used it to highlight many security vulnerabilities most companies have today, and what can be done to overcome them.

One solution: PDF controls

This case is really no different, especially when you consider the fact that PDF software offers many powerful tools to secure every part of a document. When used correctly, these PDF tools can ensure that:

  • Recipients of a PDF file can trust that it is authentic – and has not been doctored or tampered with
  • Recipients are give the appropriate permission levels to change the PDF file
  • Recipients can also be restricted from changing or editing the file
  • The history of edits, and who made them, can be seen via an audit trail
  • Confidential information within a PDF file is protected

Today, powerful PDF software can increase security in the following ways:

  • Remove confidential information with redaction tools
  • Encrypt documents using password, certificate and server-based rights management)
  • Provide editing restrictions
  • Offer powerful encryption to control access to content, markup and even metadata
  • Make use of digital signatures for audit trails as well as eliminating the need for paper documents

Unfortunately, the world will probably always have those types of people willing to bend the rules to turn a profit or (attempt to) stay a step ahead of the authorities. Yet if their companies do all they can to prevent illicit activities – for example, with powerful PDF software – they can make it a little more challenging for them to succeed.

Source: https://whatsnext.nuance.com/office-productivity/pdf-gone-wrong-and-how-to-make-it-right/

M-Files Delivers 37 Percent Revenue Growth in 2017 and Exceeds 750 Percent Over the Last Six Years

M-Files 2018 and the Intelligent Metadata Layer fuel strong global performance with a new system-neutral approach for accessing and managing information across the enterprise without migration.

DALLAS, Feb. 14, 2018: M-Files Corporation, the intelligent information management company, today announced 2017 growth metrics and corporate achievements, reaffirming its position as the most innovative and fastest-growing provider in the enterprise content management (ECM) and content services platforms (CSP) space.

M-Files grew revenue by more than 37 percent in 2017 over 2016, including strong growth in both direct sales and through its global partner network, now numbering more than 600 partners worldwide. The Company also achieved a 121 percent increase in cloud revenue in 2017. Continued strong growth in the Company’s SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) business, along with accelerating market acceptance of its unique intelligent information management platform, has fueled sustained revenue growth of more than 750 percent over the last six years.

M-Files also opened offices in France, Australia, and Canada in 2017, with the French office resulting from the acquisition of Streamdesign, a local French M-Files partner. In addition, M-Files has been aggressively hiring with an increase in staff of over 12 percent in 2017.

M-Files focused on expanding artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in 2017, partnering with ABBYY, a global provider of innovative language-based and artificial intelligence technologies. Then in August, M-Files acquired Apprento, a Canada-based provider of AI technology solutions that brought new natural language processing (NLP) and natural language understanding (NLU) technologies to the M-Files platform. In December, M-Files launched M-Files 2018, a major new product release that represents a fundamental step forward in how businesses manage information. M-Files 2018 and the new Intelligent Metadata Layer (IML) provide a unified and simple interface that leverages AI to enable users to quickly access and use documents and other information regardless of the system in which they are stored. The resulting approach allows businesses to innovate and improve how they manage information in a flexible and phased manner without disturbing existing systems and processes and without complex migration projects.

“”Our incredible track record of rapid growth is a direct result of our commitment to customer success and aggressive investment in our unique approach and innovative technologies that change how companies manage the overwhelming amount of information they confront daily,” said Miika Mäkitalo, CEO at M-Files Corporation. “We’re performing exceptionally well in all key areas of the business, far outpacing the market and any individual competitor. M-Files 2018 and the new Intelligent Metadata Layer are not only changing our business, they have changed the definition of the market by the analysts who now describe a new, more dynamic and flexible approach that is system-neutral and intelligent. This is our vision; it’s shaping the market in profound ways, and if the uptake on M-Files 2018 in December is any indication, 2018 will be another year of record-breaking growth.”

M-Files received recognition and accolades in 2017 from top analyst firms, as well as from ECM and IT industry leaders. Gartner recognized M-Files as a “visionary” in its 2017 “Magic Quadrant for Content Service Platforms,” and Forrester named M-Files as a leader in “The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Content Management — Business Content Services, Q2 2017,” an evaluation of top ECM vendors. M-Files was also lauded by Nucleus Research as a “leader” in its “2017 Research Value Matrix for ECM.” In addition, Microsoft recognized M-Files as the “2017 Microsoft Country Partner of the Year for Finland.” Forbes also ranked  M-Files second in its list of “Best Cloud Computing Companies and CEOs to Work For in 2017,” and the Company was featured as one of “The 20 Coolest Cloud Software Vendors Of The 2017 Cloud 100” by Computer Reseller News (CRN).

Source: https://www.m-files.com/en/Press-Release-M-Files-2017-Momentum

Offshore drilling ship catches fire; 1 missing, 2 injured [NSTTV]

MIRI: A crew member was reported missing and two others were injured when a fire broke out on an oil and gas drilling vessel, Ocean Geos, off Kuala Baram waters near here this morning.

The injured were identified as Muhammad Hafiz Ismail, 36, and Khairul Isma Ismail, 35.

Hafiz sustained 20 per cent burns on his body while Isma suffered injuries to his his face. Both have been rushed to Miri Hospital for treatment.

The missing crew member, a Malaysian, has yet to be identified.

An explosion had occurred in the ship’s engine room which led to the fire. (Pix courtesy of reader)

Miri Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency director Captain Md Fauzi Othman said two MMEA boats, Penggalang 23 and KM Siakap, and two other ships, Hisyam 8 and Neoptro 18, were on location searching for the missing victim.

He said the fire outside the ship has been put out and firefighters were now trying to put out the blaze inside the ship.

“”Our effort to enter the vessel was hampered by poisonous gas. However, search and rescue effort is ongoing,”

Md Fauzi said out of the 39 crew members, six of them were foreigners (five Indonesian nationals and a Thai national).

It was learned that in the 3am incident, an explosion had occurred in the ship’s engine room which led to the fire.

Meanwhile, Petronas in a statement said the ship was conducting geotechnical work in the area during the incident.

“The Petronas Emergency Response Team (ERT) has also been activated to monitor the incident, including working closely with the relevant authorities to investigate the case.

“”Petronas has always placed the safety aspect of its employees and operating areas at the highest priority level,” he said.

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An oil and gas exploration vessel, Ocean Geos, caught fire off the Baram waterway near here this morning. (Pix courtesy of reader)

Source: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2018/04/358309/update-offshore-drilling-ship-catches-fire-1-missing-2-injured-nsttv

Building Under Construction in Tanjong Tokong Catches Fire


A building still under construction (Tri Pinnacle) at a site in Tanjong Tokong caught passers-by and motorists off guard after smoke started billowing from the premises.

The Bagan Jermal Fire and Rescue Department fire station received a distress call about 5.30pm yesterday on the incident as thick smoke could be seen from the sixth floor of the building.

Soon after the call, several fire engines were immediately dispatched to the scene to put off the blaze.

Other fire engines from Paya Terubong, Teluk Bahang, and Jalan Perak also raced to the scene to assist in the operation.

Upon reaching the scene, the fire personnel also managed to rescue a crane driver who was trapped on top of the 46th floor.

A Bagan Jermal Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said fire personnel managed to put off the fire by 7.15pm.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

No casualties were reported in the incident.

Source: http://www.penangpropertytalk.com/2018/04/building-under-construction-in-tanjong-tokong-catches-fire/

How to Get the Most Return from Outplacement Services

Steve Spires, managing director at BPI Group North America

Effective transition or outplacement services help separated employees find new jobs, protect the company’s reputation, prevent potential lawsuits and lessen an employer’s unemployment insurance taxes.

Steve Spires, managing director of career services and senior executive coach at BPI Group North America, discussed with SHRM Online what HR needs to know about working with outside career transition firms. BPI Group North America is a leadership, talent and transition company based in Chicago.

SHRM Online: What should HR know about working with career transition or outplacement firms?

Spires: First, they should really understand what they are buying. The critical success factors are the amount of time affected employees will have to work with a career coach and the coach’s level of experience and ability to help them land their next roles.

Second, HR departments should carefully scrutinize any technology tools they are being offered. The outplacement industry has been disrupted as much as any other industry by technology, but not all of it is up to date or effective, nor can it take the place of human interaction with a job-search coach.

Third, what are exiting employees going to take away from the experience of working with a career transition coach? Will they believe their company did all it could to help them ease the transition? The biggest benefit of a successful relationship with an outplacement firm is the company’s ability to maintain its employer brand among alumni and the broader marketplace.

SHRM Online: What does HR typically do well and not so well when working with outplacement firms?

Spires: There are two ways companies approach buying outplacement services: 1) They hope to simply “check the box” by buying the cheapest—and likely least effective—service, or 2) they base their purchase decision on their employees’ needs instead of procurement requirements or efficiency metrics.

Obviously, No. 2 is the best practice. When HR treats the career transition firm as a true collaborative partner, it goes a long way toward a successful transition for all concerned. HR will find that the outplacement firm has a depth of knowledge about career transition they are unlikely to find anywhere else. The firm can help with communications strategies, onsite notifications, and career coaching services. Our experience shows that the sooner affected employees can start moving forward in a positive direction, the better the engagement from remaining employees, and the greater likelihood the company will receive positive reviews from its alumni.

SHRM Online: What are some of the major issues facing HR departments in times of transition and how have they changed over time?

Spires: In larger organizations, HR departments are much more automated than before. Payroll, recruiting, onboarding—many of these functions are now streamlined by technology. This frees up HR professionals to focus on things that can’t be fully automated, such as employee engagement, training, and company culture. When it comes to downsizing, HR used to be much more involved in understanding what an offering really was from an outplacement provider and buying the best offer they could find. The trend now is more toward efficiency rather than quality. The presumption is that, with the rise of technology and social media, everything a job seeker might need can be found digitally, which is not the case.

Ultimately, the issues facing an exiting employee haven’t really changed over time. Seventy percent of jobs are found through networking, so it still comes down to the human connection and ensuring that connection is an integral part of the job-search process.

SHRM Online: Although the employment market was thriving in 2017, it still takes executive-level professionals months to find their next position, according to recent research from BPI. Why is that?

Spires: There are two main factors that play into this dynamic. First, there is a significant trend toward more frequent job changes over the course of a career. Younger workers are taking longer to figure out what they want to do and as a result they don’t settle on a firm career choice right out of school, which was the norm in the ’70s and ’80s. Many employees hitting their 40’s are just now deciding their ideal career paths. But their experience doesn’t always match up. They might have a lot of two- to three-year stints, or they’re bringing 10 years of experience in a specific field as opposed to 20. This sometimes makes them look less qualified for what they really want to do, so it takes them longer to land.

Second, many executives in their 40’s are upwardly mobile and seeking significant bumps in salary, level, and responsibility with a career move. If they have moved around a lot, it becomes harder for the hiring community to discern what their accomplishments are and whether they’re truly qualified for a significant upward shift. It’s critical for such a job seeker to develop a market-ready value proposition as opposed to a simple chronological resume.


Source: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/hr-career-transition-outplacement-services.aspx