Improve security and prevent the loss of confidential data with OCR technology

By building optical character recognition (OCR) technology into their software applications, organizations can do a lot more than merely improving searchability. Instead, they make documents more contextually aware; an advantage that can lead to enhanced security and prevent the loss of confidential information.

In a recent blog article, we introduced the topic of optical character recognition (OCR) and described the many benefits possible when developers build it into their software applications. Here, we take a closer look at one significant challenge all organizations face – improving security by minimizing the loss of digital content – and show how OCR can help.

First though, what is data loss prevention and why is it important? The short answer is that data loss prevention refers to an organization’s strategy or approach for making sure employees and other users don’t send sensitive information outside the corporate network. The term may also be used to describe various security products or other technology that help a network administrator – and the organization itself – control what data users can transfer beyond security perimeters.


Ongoing security challenges and the focus on data loss prevention

Let’s face it: Cyber attacks, hacks and threats are getting worse, not better. All you have to do is turn to the news to see the latest high-profile example of a data breach or other security lapse to know this is true. Industry research supports this view: Computerworld recently asked experts about the state of cyber security today, and one analyst reported that companies are 100 percent worse than they were 10 years ago.[1] Additionally, another research report revealed that the “fear of data loss or theft” ranked as the top information security challenge IT/security teams expected to face in the next 12 months.[2]

Data loss prevention may be just one specific example of the many security issues IT wrestles with – other areas include firewall management, network security, mobile devices and more – yet it is a top priority. For example, in the same research report cited above, respondents indicated that “data loss prevention” was the second most important security-related project they expected to focus on in the next 12 months.[3]

The role OCR can play in improving security

Clearly, improving overall security efforts and minimizing the loss of sensitive information are high on IT’s list of priorities. Yet the question remains: Beyond traditional security tools, what else can IT teams do to accomplish these goals?

One answer is OCR technology. By adding OCR technology to software applications – using an OCR SDK – software engineers gain powerful new capabilities in the areas of document classification, routing and processing automation. OCR technology helps provide document intelligence that makes the content much more contextually aware. Then, the organization can create specific business rules to route (or restrict routing) to the most appropriate workflows based on a document’s content. For example, financial services organizations can use OCR to search for such terms as “confidential,” “internal only” or “sensitive information,” and then create business rules to prevent any document containing those terms from emailed or distributed.

Remember though that sensitive information can reside in other place besides plain text. For example, confidential data may be contained in images, scanned files or email attachments. Leading OCR technology analyzes all of these sources, converts them to text and evaluates this information as part of business rules or workflow policies. As a result, the entire organization successfully minimizes the risk of data loss that may have occurred without OCR technology.


[1] Computerworld, “Despite Billions Spent on Cybersecurity, Companies Aren’t Truly Safe from Hacks,” August 22, 2016.
[2] 451 Research, “TheInfoPro Information Security Study,” Wave 17, 2014.
[3] 451 Research, “TheInfoPro Information Security Study,” Wave 17, 2014.

Gain better business results with OCR

Watch our new video to see how OCR technology can help software engineers improve their apps – and possibly solve their organizations’ security issues.


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Jason Doris

About Jason Doris

Jason Doris is the Vice President of OEM Sales for the Imaging Division at Nuance Communications. In this role, Jason oversees the licensing of core enabling technologies, such as OCR and desktop imaging assets to ISVs and OEM manufacturers. His team’s mission is to help Nuance's manufacturing and development customers to add value to their products and services in such a way as to generate mutually profitable revenue growth while protecting the value of intellectual property. Prior to joining Nuance, Jason was responsible for the solution sales effectiveness and portfolio management in Hewlett Packard’s Imaging and Printing Division and Managed Enterprise Services group. Jason was previously the Vice President of Sales for Omtool, Ltd. for 5 years.