PDF/A conversion alone is not enough

PDF/A conversion alone is not enough

Records Management
“The field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records”

ISO 15489-1:2001

Rules and regulations, as well as common sense, requires documents to be kept for certain periods of time and to remain readable.

Rapid changes in technology mean that, even within just a few years, file formats become obsolete and cause problems for your records management and compliance.

In many cases, newer versions of a program offer support for older versions, but when an organization switches to another vendor, this is certainly not always the case.

Digital Preservation

Therefor digital documents and data need to be preserved in such a manner that they not only can be read, but that the layout and content are preserved.

Best suited for preservation of documents is converting them to the Portable Document Format (PDF).

To be more precise, the special archival version, PDF/A, which is and has been an ISO standard since 2005.

PDF/A has also been evolving with a version 1, 2 and 3. But it being an ISO standard guarantees backwards

For long-term preservation and use of data files, the best choice is converting those to eXtensible Markup Language (XML).

But is that enough?


How to enhance Digital Preservation?

Conversion of documents to the ISO standard document formats of PDF/A and XML is major step in preservation of information.

The Sphereon PDF/A service offers the capabilities to convert a wide range of document formats to a ISO-standard PDF/A format:

  • Microsoft Office documents (.docx, .xlsx, pptx, etc.)
  • PDF documents (.pdf)
  • Email messages (.msg, .pst, .mbox, .eml, .emlx)
  • AutoCAD drawings (.dwg)
  • Text files (.txt, .rtf, .csv, .html, .xml)
  • Images files (.tiff, .jpg, .png)

This prevents loss of information caused by changes in data formats due to software changes or software becoming obsolete at all.


PDF/A tampering

Digital preservation should further be enhanced by digitally signing using our digital signature service, because it is really easy to tamper with a PDF/A.

Safe? Read-only? No, absolutely not! Don’t be fooled, a PDF/A is very easy to modify. No hacking tools or anything, just standard Adobe Acrobat. Just edit the file and Save as a PDF/A again.




Certify and authenticate of content

For example, the documents can be digitally signed using our digital signature service.

Use our Digital Signing service with a traditional digital signature or our Blockchain Signature service to register the documents on the Blockchain for independent,
tamper-proof, Proof of Authenticity.

Combining the original document with the converted PDF in one registration will provide proof in the future, beyond doubt, that the pdf file and original document are a pair.


Include case audit-trails

Using Sphereon you can also certify the entire case file, included the SharePoint audit-trail, and anchor them all on a Blockchain.

Anyone that has access can now verify the authenticity by simply recreating the hash and verify it on the Blockchain.


Availability and integration

All these functions are available from SharePoint version 2010 to the newest versions of Office365.

Integration is easy using standard Microsoft Add-ins and WSP packages.


Pricing-model and pricing

With Sphereon you only have to use the specific functions you need and only pay what you use.

We offer a flexible pricing-model based on your needs. You can already start converting documents to PDF/A from as little as € 1.200 per year.




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