Aug 8, 2013

The Recipient Exprience With PDF Postman

In our last article we showed you how to send a private message with the PDF Postman email encryption add-on for Microsoft Outlook. Today we will be focusing on the experience of the recipient.  What happens when they receive one of the encrypted PDF files?

The recipient's experience is of the utmost importance.  If they can't access or receive the message, then there was no point in sending it in the first place.  The people you will be sending to will be receiving your message on a variety of computing devices.  Gone are the days when you could ask someone to quickly install a "special reader" Windows software application on their computer.  Today users will be receiving your messages on a variety of devices and operating systems.

PDF Postman does not require the recipient to install any special single-use software app on their device, nor is the recipient required to register with an intermediary service, nor forced to verify their email address.  Instead, PDF Postman relies on the ubiquity of the PDF format for decryption. There are free PDF file readers for every operating system platform. This means that the recipient is highly likely to already have installed a PDF reader that can decrypt an AES-encrypted PDF file, assuming the recipient is in possession of the password.

The entire process of receiving a PDF Postman encrypted PDF file is very simple. The recipient clicks on the encrypted PDF, and the PDF viewer on their computer prompts for the password.  The entire process is discussed indepth here, but we will summarize it again in this article.

On a Windows computer with the free Adobe Reader installed, the recipient will receive an email from the sender containing the encrypted PDF file as an attachment. The original message has been converted into the secure PDF document, and replaced with a notification message that you can edit. In Outlook 2013, the message might look like this:

Image shows an email in Outlook 2013 displaying the PDF Postman notification message.
PDF Postman message received in Outlook 2013

If you don't like our friendly little postman character, that's fine; feel free to change it (go to Settings>Templates to customize the message).

 The recipient will of course be expecting your email message (best practice) and will then feel confident clicking on the encrypted PDF file. When this happens, Adobe Reader or the configured PDF viewing application, will display a message to the recipient asking for the password.  Adobe Reader will display a mesage that says, "filename.pdf is protected.  Please enter a Document Open Password."  A field is provided the recipient to enter the password.

This image shows the Password screen in Adobe Reader, which is displayed when opening an encrypted PDF.
Adobe Reader Prompt When Opening An Encrypted PDF
Entering the correct password and then clicking "ok" will display the protected message contained within the PDF file.

The entire process is illustrated in the animated image below. It shows the PDF Postman generated email and file in an Outlook 2013 inbox. Clicking on the PDF file causes it to open in PDF Xchange viewer in this instance. The recipient enters the password and the message is displayed in the PDF viewer.

This animated GIF illustrates opening an encrypted PDF email file attachment.
Opening An Encrypted PDF File

PDF Postman will embed any files attached to the email inside of the PDF. They will be available for the recipient to extract. For example if you were sending an Excel spreadsheet containing credit card numbers, the recipient would be able to save the spreadsheet outside of the PDF file. At that point it would no longer be encrypted or protected, and the recipient would need to take whatever precautions are necessary to protect the data.  But the delivery process, from Outlook on your computer to the recipient's inbox, was secure.

PDF Postman is an easy way to share documents securely using email as a context. It works across platforms, is inexpensive to implement and easy on the recipient.  Download a free trial of PDF Postman today and use it for 15 days. We think you'll like it!