FinalCode keeps files safe wherever they go

Startup FinalCode secures files so permissions that protect them follow them around even when they are accessed outside secured networks.

Startup FinalCode secures files so permissions that protect them follow them around even when they are accessed outside secured networks.

The company's FinalCode platform encrypts files and imposes restrictions on who can access them, when, for how long and with what privileges. So a person could be allowed to read a document but not copy and paste it, be allowed to open it only twice and only for 24 hours.

The company offers its platform as software entirely under control of the customer or as a service in which FinalCode handles the server side.

That is a big advantage for businesses that want this type of protection but don't want to deal with the key management and infrastructure, says Eric Ogren, principal analyst for the Ogren Group. "They don't even see the keys," he says. "They can if they really want to, but why would they want to." So the problems of scaling the number of files that are encrypted are handled by the service, not corporate staff.

Another upside is that corporate security staff can specify a template of restrictions that are placed on files so end users don't have to deal with that case-by-case, he says. And companies that already make use of document-sharing services like DropBox can still use them but add FinalCode's layer of security over the files after they have been downloaded, he says.

Users create a document then place it in the FinalCode application running on their machine. The app encrypts it locally with AES 256 encryption, and the user designates the recipients and usage permissions. The security metadata about the permissions and the encryption keys are sent encrypted to the FinalCode server, which can be in the customer's network or cloud or in Final Code's network.

Recipients get notification that a document is available. Their machines must have FinalCode clients that have been authorized to open the document. The documents open in their native applications.

To impose permissions, the recipients' client blocks calls at the operating system or application level. So it blocks printing attempts or editing attempts by intercepting calls for those functions. So far FinalCode supports granular control of Microsoft Office applications, Acrobat and Autodesk and can grant simple access to any other file.

The FinalCode reader client connects to the FinalCode server to receive information for deriving the decryption keys and the security metadata about what permissions to enforce. The server records everything that happens to the files. The client and server can work together to remotely delete files from recipients' machines.

The company competes against other young companies including Secure Channels and Ionic Security.

Licenses start at $15 per user per year for each client that can encrypt, with no charge for the server or reader clients.

FinalCode, with 15 employees, was founded in 2014 as a spin-out from Japanese email and Web filtering company Digital Arts with the aim of focusing on the U.S. market.

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