Thought Leadership  •  June 23, 2023

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Benefits Of Automatic Multi-File Redaction

Data redaction is very important for companies in the dealmaking process. It's also time-intensive — or at least it used to be. Discover how bulk redaction tools streamline the workflow of redacting sensitive information such as PII, PHI, and MNPI from company documentation.

What Is Bulk Redaction?

As a refresher, data redaction refers to hiding confidential information, typically by blacking it out. When information is redacted, a document can be shared while protecting regulated data or intellectual property.

As you might guess, bulk redaction refers to the process of automating information redaction instead of doing it manually. This is done using batch redaction software. Instead of manually searching a document for important keywords, you can leverage machine intelligence to do it for you. Machines can search content libraries to redact documents much faster than humans, saving time and increasing productivity.

Types of Sensitive Information:

There are many types of information that require care and discretion when handling. These include but are not limited to:

  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII) — The most common form of sensitive information, this includes Social Security Numbers, driver’s license numbers, and any other data that could be used to distinguish a person’s identity.
  • Protected Health Information (PHI) — Regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), this consists of any medical information collected while providing health care services that can identify a person. This includes health records, prescriptions, and lab results.
  • Nonpublic Personal Information (NPI) — As defined by the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act, this type of personal information consists of data provided to a financial institution by a consumer, such as credit card numbers, names, addresses, and phone numbers.
  • Material Nonpublic Information (MNPI) — This refers to data about a company that could impact its share price and has not been publicly disseminated. The purpose of protecting this information is to prevent illegal forms of insider trading.

Use Cases for Automatic Redaction

While batch redaction is easy to understand in theory, let's dig deeper into two use cases for the software:

Financial Transactions

In the financial industry, players often have access to personal data about their clients. This information must be protected for compliance reasons. The old way of doing things — manually exporting documents, redacting by hand and uploading a clean copy — is time-consuming and hampers workflows.

A far better solution for financial transactions is file redaction to hide key pieces of information with a few clicks. Automated redaction software allows you to create rules and run data protection solutions — such as redaction — all within a virtual data room. Using file redaction software, teams can quickly redact sensitive information such as account numbers without needing to manually open and edit every file.

Virtual Data Rooms

In a virtual data room context, files are shared electronically. Parties can access them remotely, at any time. While the data room itself is a highly secure environment, it could be disastrous to the deal were certain data not redacted. Deals also operate quickly. If a company is not finished redacting information, the due diligence phase cannot take place. The deal may stray from its original timeline or fall apart entirely, both avoidable outcomes when bulk redaction tools are implemented.

Benefits of Bulk Redactions

After reading about the use cases for this software, the benefits may stand out. Let's take a minute to go over the advantages bulk redaction tools have over the old way of doing things.

  • Saves time: Batch redacting personal or proprietary data saves time over doing it all by hand. There are significant labor costs associated with saving time. Now, companies can avoid the last-minute, all-hands-on-deck calls for help that come along with preparing for due diligence and instead rely on machine learning solutions to do the heavy lifting.
  • Repeatable processes: As mentioned above, the software allows you to create rules and run them as often as needed. Saving rules allows you to repeat the process as often as needed. This is a significant time saver in the deal-making environment.
  • Preserves effort: The largest benefit is perhaps the least tangible. These tools save manual effort and mental focus. Data redaction has traditionally been a high-volume, high-labor manual task. It consumes time and focus that could be better spent on hands-on elements of the deal. The latest multi-file redaction tools safeguard effort for those all-important hands-on tasks while ensuring all the necessary data is redacted following established rules.
  • Safeguards reputation: What would the consequences be if information fell into the wrong hands during a deal? While there would probably be a financial cost to this gaffe, there would also be a loss of reputation. Choosing the right software for this key task preserves not only financial resources, but also your reputation, by preventing mistakes from being made.

Batch tools to redact documents have been around for a while. However, they haven't always lived up to their promise of saving time. At DFIN, we're pleased to offer an intelligent, automated bulk and multi-file redaction solution as part of our Venue data rooms. Our program goes beyond the previous generation of redaction tools to truly streamline and simplify your workflow. Our latest redaction software delivers on the full benefits promised by the technology, with a customizable redaction solution that saves time, maintains accuracy, and protects what matters most — all within the VDR.