This blog post is part of the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association guest blog series. Learn more about MISA.
Data security and compliance are a top priority for leaders as cyberattacks are on the rise. In fact, attacks have increased by 32 percent in the past year, and 1 in 40 organizations has fallen victim to ransomware.1 To protect high-value business documents such as partnership agreements, service contracts, and purchase orders, which are typically shared as PDFs, organizations require the best possible security, compliance, and information protection. This will ensure only the most important stakeholders can view, manage, and approve these important documents.
As more workflows become digitized, protecting information is becoming more crucial. To avoid these scenarios, a secure, unified workflow is needed. This allows IT and business leaders to control who can view and access digitized documents and data, ensuring they are stored securely and for the appropriate duration.
Figure 1. The “Select a Microsoft Sensitivity Label” available within the Protect tool in Adobe Acrobat.
Adobe is committed to security
Together with Microsoft, Adobe builds value by earning trust with their customers, who are counting on them to do the right thing when it comes to their data and their business. When Adobe engages with its customers, they have a responsibility to treat their data with care. Customers entrust Adobe with their data, and in exchange, they expect them to be world-class at securing it, governing it, and protecting it. Doing the right thing means taking a proactive approach to data protection—embedding security and compliance from the ground up.
Acrobat helps users enhance the security of confidential documents such as partnership agreements, service contracts, and purchase orders by offering the option to add passwords or utilize certificates. To learn more about the defense-in-depth approach and security procedures implemented by Adobe, read the whitepaper “Adobe Acrobat with Document Cloud Services Security Overview.”2
Together Microsoft and Adobe care about customers’ data security
Adobe and Microsoft, as trusted providers of business solutions used by millions, are joining forces to bring unparalleled modern work experiences to customers globally. Adobe is combining the innovations of Adobe Document Cloud and Microsoft Cloud to make the modern, secure, connected, and hybrid workplace a reality.
Microsoft Purview Information Protection helps organizations discover, identify, classify, and protect sensitive data that is business critical, then manage and protect it across their digital estate. Adobe, together with Microsoft, introduced new functionality at Microsoft Ignite in October 2022 that brings the same classification, labeling, and protection already available to Microsoft Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations to the PDF file format through Acrobat Desktop.3
Organizations using Microsoft Purview Information Protection can now apply and edit sensitivity labels and policies to PDFs using the latest versions of Acrobat Pro or Standard (version 22.003.20258 or later) without needing a separate plug-in or installation. Acrobat leverages the Microsoft Purview Information Protection SDK to make the user experience intuitive, considering finer details such as label descriptions, embedded content markings, and justification logic. Along with manual labels, Acrobat also supports default labeling, mandatory labeling, and user-defined permissions for customized access.
Figure 2. See the benefit of the integration for a company that shares labeled PDFs with external organizations. This integration reduces time to value and improves productivity.
Consider a company that works with various external clients. If they share a labeled PDF with these external clients, and those clients don’t have the right plug-in installed to open and view the PDF, it may take days before their IT admin responds to their request. This may cause them to try risky alternative approaches to open the PDF. With this integration, as illustrated in Figure 2, the external client that has Microsoft Purview Information Protection for Acrobat enabled by their IT admin will be able to view the document without needing to download a plug-in. Similarly, applying a label previously required an older information protection client and then opening the PDF in an information protection-supported PDF viewer. Now, these actions can be done from within Acrobat Pro or Standard desktop versions directly.
How the Microsoft and Acrobat integration works
For Acrobat Pro or Standard users with a Microsoft 365 E3 or higher subscription, information protection can be accessed within Adobe Acrobat through the Protect tool. A sensitivity label can be applied using the “Select a Microsoft Sensitivity label” option. The sensitivity label dialog box displays a list of labels already configured in the Microsoft Purview Compliance Portal, ensuring consistency across Microsoft 365 apps and Acrobat. Each sensitivity label can include headers, footers, and watermarks to visually indicate the applied label. Check out this video for a demonstration of how to add a label.
An IT administrator can enable this feature for your organization. Consult the Microsoft Purview Information Protection support in Acrobat installation instructions for help. To gain further knowledge on how to secure PDFs and mitigate risk with Microsoft Purview Information Protection, watch this on-demand webinar.
Who benefits from this Microsoft and Adobe Acrobat integration?
The integration of information protection labeling in Adobe Acrobat has proven valuable for customers in regulated industries, such as government, healthcare, and financial services, as well as in departments such as legal, HR, finance, and procurement. This integration provides a heightened level of data security, which is highly valued by chief information security officers.
What is Adobe excited for next?
Protecting customers’ digital assets is Adobe’s top priority, and they believe this integration is a game-changing and essential feature. This journey started in 2018 with Adobe Acrobat and Reader apps supporting consistent viewing of PDFs protected by Microsoft Purview Information Protection. Adobe is now adding the ability to apply and edit Microsoft sensitivity labels to PDFs natively in the Acrobat desktop version, with plans to support information protection use cases for PDFs (viewing, labeling, and persistent protection during export workflows) on mobile and web platforms in the future.
Adobe Document Cloud helps turn manual document processes into efficient digital ones with the world’s leading PDF and e-signature solutions. Learn more about Acrobat support for Microsoft Purview Information Protection.
To learn more about the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (MISA), visit the website where you can learn about the MISA program, product integrations, and find MISA members. Visit the video playlist to learn about the strength of member integrations with Microsoft products.
Learn more about Microsoft Purview Information Protection.
To learn more about Microsoft Security solutions, visit our website. Bookmark the Security blog to keep up with our expert coverage on security matters. Also, follow us on LinkedIn (Microsoft Security) and Twitter (@MSFTSecurity) for the latest news and updates on cybersecurity.
1Check Point Research: Weekly Cyber Attacks increased by 32% Year-Over-Year; 1 out of 40 organizations impacted by Ransomware, Check Point blog. July 26, 2022.
2Adobe Acrobat with Document Cloud Services Security Overview, Adobe. 2022.
3A simple approach to data protection, Microsoft. October 13, 2022.
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