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How To Secure a PDF: Password Protection for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you might be looking into how to secure a PDF you share over email. Maybe you’re in the business of selling printables or ebooks, and you’re worried that people are sharing your product freely over the internet.

Or maybe you’re nervous about emailing private or sensitive information to a client because you suspect others might have access to their inbox.

Whatever your reason, you’re right to be concerned about internet security. In this day and age, it’s irresponsible not to be.

After all:

  • If content is your product, sharing it in the form of an unprotected PDF file could have a terrible impact on your sales. If your content is available for free download online, why will anyone want to pay for it?

  • If the information in the documents you send is sensitive, sharing it through unprotected PDF files can cause it to be leaked. Data breaches can be harmful to your clients in a myriad of ways—depending on the nature of the service you provide and their specific situation, it could even put their livelihood at risk.

How to secure a PDF

Fortunately, there are simple measures you can take to protect your clients’ privacy and the confidentiality of your agreements.

One of the most essential of these measures is password protection: You can set a password to a PDF and then share that password with your client over a telephone call or an SMS.

Taking this simple step drastically reduces the chances of an unauthorized person viewing the PDF. Even if they somehow gain access to it, without the password, they won’t be able to see what’s inside.

In addition to restricting who can open a PDF, you can also use password protection to control what can be done to a PDF. This is great for when your concern isn’t that people will view the contents of the file but rather that they will alter it in some way, such as by adding or removing pages or even adding or editing text. You can also use this to prevent others from selecting, copying, or printing the document.

You can do this by setting an owner password to the PDF file. When you do that, the PDF is viewable by anyone but edits are restricted to those with a password.

Secure a PDF with PDFpen

PDFpen enables you to use both types of password protection so that you safely share PDF files online with your clients and contributors. You can use PDFpen to:

  • Set a user password to restrict who sees a PDF

  • Set an owner password to restrict what can be done to a PDF (PDFpenPro only)

  • Set both types of passwords to a single PDF (PDFpenPro only)

  • Choose the level of encryption (both PDFpen and PDFpenPro offer the strongest possible level, AES-256)

What PDFpen users say about our password protection functionality

“(…) only PDFpenPro allows you to set the encryption strength to AES-256 which is much stronger than the usual AES-128.”

Erik Vlietinck, tech writer

“There are impressive security features (…), such as password-protecting documents with 256-bit AES encryption.”

Entrepreneur

Try password protection free for 30 days

The more people become aware of the importance of internet security, the more businesses large and small will be expected to take essential security measures to protect client privacy.  

As a small business owner, you have an opportunity to stand out from the competition by showing a commitment to protecting client data.

PDFpen enables you to do that through password protection and other security features, including redaction, watermark application, and PDF metadata removal. You can test them all by downloading a 30-day free trial.