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How to Improve Confidentiality Through Automated Document Generation

Industry

Many companies worry about the safety of both their clients’ and their organization’s confidential information.  And they have good reason to worry, too, since there are always various threats to confidential information whether they are dealing with Salesforce or other applications.  Not only are hackers trying to steal this information, but sometimes even the people within the organization itself can be a threat either through carelessness or deliberate exposure.

Automated document generation is one solution to this problem.  On the surface, it may seem confusing how generating documents can actually provide security for confidential information.  But a closer understand of how document generation works may help shed light on its ability to improve a company’s confidential information.

Creating Structure

With document automation, you are able to create a workflow that determines the way information is managed whether it involves price quotes, contact information, or other sensitive data.

You can choose who has access to particular pieces of information, limiting the number of people who can access confidential files without needing to go through a bureaucratic process.  Quite often, information is compromised because it goes through too many hands.  With automation, the software does most of the data handling so human interaction with confidential data is very much limited.

Access Control

Structures and workflow mean nothing if there is no access control.  Access control includes the use of passwords to ensure only authorized people can gain access to particular documents.  This, however, needs to be boosted by the use of secure passwords that are not easy to guess.  With some automation systems, a user would be prompted to change the password after a certain period, for example, every month or so.  With the use of individual passwords and login identity, it is possible to record who accessed certain documents and when—meaning that access can be tracked.  Tracking can be used in case of an audit or during legal proceedings.

Automated Notification for Confidentiality Risks

Each time a confidential document is accessed, the system can send a notification to a monitoring team.  The system can even double-check when a user attaches a document to a program outside the organization’s system.  For example, if an insurance employee attaches a document that contains a client’s personal information to an email, the system can prompt them to confirm if they actually intended to attach that document, so that they don’t send out sensitive data by mistake.  Some systems are set to search for keywords that trigger notifications.  This makes it hard for confidential information to be leaked without the administrators knowing.

Elimination or Restriction of External Storage

With automated document generation, you do not have to store confidential information on storage devices or as hard copy files.  These can get easily lost, stolen, or misplaced, ending up in the wrong hands.  Automated storage has a central data depository which is usually well-secured.  Most companies prefer to use cloud storage so that the documents are not physically present within the organization’s premises.  This data may still be accessible to authorized individuals wherever they may be, but is still safe.

Hot Folder Protection

Hot folder protection enables automatic security features on any document that is dropped into a hot folder. This means even if a user forgets to add password protection and any other safety protocol for a document, the document would be safe once it is dragged and dropped into the hot folder.

Common Sense

Despite the various technologically-advanced measures that can be implemented to ensure document safety, you still cannot beat common sense!

Taking basic safety measures can contribute just as much as the different security tricks the IT world may come up with. Locking the office and restricting access to particular areas like server rooms can help to improve confidentiality. At times you may need to print documents, but once it serves its purpose, dispose of the document in a shredder.

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in an XLSX template are carried over to the XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will have pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it process the template handling each tag in order, and each tags can pull from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select in a tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one datasource, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. Additional details ...

Genesis Abel

This blog was written by:_
Genesis Abel

For over 10 years, Windward has lead the industry with our world-class document generation platform that creates visually stunning, data-powered documents designed exactly the way users want and are created in a fraction of the time and cost compared to existing solutions. Proudly located in Boulder, Colorado, Windward Studios is the premier solution for developers and business users adding reporting and document generation capabilities to their applications in over 70 countries around the world.

© 2019 Windward Studios Inc.

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