Fumblin’ with the Drumlin ?

A drumlin (Irish droimnín, a little hill ridge) is an elongated whale-shaped hill formed by glacial action. Its long axis is parallel with the movement of the ice, with the blunter end facing into the glacial movement.

Well this Drumlin isn’t anything to do with a hill more to do with a requirement to protect acrobat pdf files from unauthorised access by expiring the files and preventing their use after a given date.

The tool I investigated was Drumlin Security’s Drumlin PDF reader and writer which they describe as

Drumlin provides a unique, cost-effective, fast and highly secure PDF control and distribution system. It can be used by any organisation or individual with private or valuable documents. It includes a free PDF reader with built-in PDF military-strength encryption and decryption facilities and free PDF writer, together with a central Digital Rights Management (DRM) service.

You can find out lots more here http://www.drumlinsecurity.co.uk/

Specifically the fact Drumlin also supports secure PDF document publishing with extensive controls available to the publisher, e.g. how many times the document can be viewed, whether it can be printed, when viewing can start and when viewing is no longer permitted etc is my interest for this particular client.

The need is to take 300 or so large documents (some 100MB plus and 1000 pages long) and convert them enmasse into protected files viewable only through the Drumlin reader provided.

The files would be updated every quarter and the updated files sent to the remote users via CD or USB key for inclusion in their “protected library”.

In the first instance however I wanted to simply test the “conversion” of large pdfs to protected versions using the Drumlin software.

The first thing you need to do is to register though through the client program with an internet connection. Once done you will have publish and authorise options allowing you to set various parameters – the simplest one in the test is the 5 openings allowed with the test setup. Open an existing pdf file and publish it with the basic drm settings which will select the 5 “openings” option.

Open it then close the Drumlin client and then repeat – after the 5 times you get the message indicating that thats your lot as far as that file is concerned. So combined with the not allowing printing or copying of the file that at least gives you a simple drm mechanism for the pdf files.

I’ll be back with other articles and more information then after testing this application further – but I would suggest taking a look if you are after a pdf protection mechanism that is not as expensive or complicated as the other commercial offerings.