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Digital Preservation with PDF/A

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

However, 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.

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.

Conversion to PDF/A

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 alone is not enough!

But is a PDF/A also Safe? Is it Read-only? Is it Tamper-proof? Can a PDF/A be trusted?

No, absolutely not! Don’t be fooled into a false sense of trust: a PDF/A is very easy to modify!

No hacking tools or anything special required. Just standard Adobe Acrobat Reader. Just Edit the file and Save as a PDF/A again.


Digitally Sign and Authenticate Content

Digital preservation should therefore be further enhanced by digitally signing the documents. By using our digital signature service.

Use our Digital Signing service with our Blockchain Signature service to register the documents on the Blockchain:

  • Independent Verifiable
  • 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.

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