All in One Redaction Software, Factors to Consider
While redaction has historically been a labor-intensive and time-consuming process, technological advancements that have been made in relation to artificial intelligence and machine learning in the past decade have resulted in the development of software programs that can automatically perform redaction work, without the need for any human intervention. What’s more, although many people associate redaction with obscuring personal information within government-related or legal documents, automatic redaction software can also be used to redact audio, image, video, and PDF files, effectively making redaction more palatable for a wide range of industries.
However, despite the advancements that have been made in terms of the functionality of redaction software, there are a multitude of software companies and developers that create such programs. As is the case with any other product or service, the quality and efficiency of these programs will of course depend on a number of factors. To this point, many consumers may be wondering about what to look for in a redaction software program. While there are a number of variables to consider when looking to invest in redaction software, some common factors that may influence the decision include price, ease of use, automatic vs. manual capabilities, the features of the software, customer service support, the ability to redact multiple file types, and cloud vs. local storage.
The price or cost of a redaction software package will undoubtedly be a major factor in whether or not consumers will purchase a particular product. Furthermore, as professionals across many industries, such as government and law enforcement, will have to make purchasing decisions in accordance with annual budget constraints, the price of an automatic redaction software package can be a non-negotiable term. On the other hand, the developers of such software programs pour hours of their time and effort, as well as endless resources, into creating software programs that enable users to redact information and objects in the most effective ways possible.
Due to this fact, these software developers must ensure that the pricing of their software matches the level of value that is being provided to prospective consumers. For example, a software program that allows users to automatically redact objects and personal information across a multitude of mediums, such as videos, images, photos, PDFs, and audio files, will likely cost more than a software package that only permits users to redact objects and information manually, as these additional features and capabilities also require additional resources to develop and implement effectively.
Features and capabilities of the software
As is the case with any other software program, the features and capabilities that are contained within a particular redaction software package are arguably the most important factor when looking to purchase such a product or service. While there are a multitude of variables and considerations that go into ranking one software program over another, the most appealing aspect of most software packages as it concerns the average user is the specific features that said users can utilize when seeking to achieve their desired task or goal. For example, a legal professional looking to redact hundreds of pages of documents will be seeking specific PDF and document redaction software features.
Alternatively, a law enforcement official looking to redact faces and license plates from a video depicting an accident that took place amid a busy intersection during rush hour traffic would be seeking features that would allow for automatic detection and redaction. With this being said, very few redaction software programs will offer features that meet the needs of all consumers. However, there are some all-in-one redaction software programs that enable users to automatically redact objects and personal information across a wide range of mediums.
Ease of use
As an individual’s level of technological sophistication and savvy will be dependent upon their age, occupation, and personal preferences, among a myriad of other variables, another major factor influencing the effectiveness of a particular redaction software is the level of expertise that is needed to navigate the software. Moreover, as many professionals will need to complete their redaction work in conjunction with work deadlines, a redaction software program that is difficult to use can be off-putting to consumers. Alternatively, many redaction software programs have a user interface that may be confusing, even if the software itself may be easy to use.
As software developers are often focused on the functionality and proficiency of their products and services, how agreeable such products and services are to the end-user can sometimes be lost in translation. On the contrary, the average software user is simply looking to get their job done in the most efficient way possible, irrespective of any technical language or cutting-edge capabilities. As such, a redaction software program must offer consumers features that can be used to tackle a variety of problems and tasks, while ensuring that their programs are practical enough for a consumer to grasp and understand.
Generally speaking, the level of customer service that a particular business or organization offers prospective customers will have a major impact on their ability to sell said customers their products and services. Redaction software is no different, as many users of such software programs will face situations in which they need assistance achieving a particular task or objective, irrespective of the capabilities or sophistication of a particular software product. For instance, a redaction software company that offers dedicated customer support will be more enticing to customers when compared with competitors who do not offer such support.
To take it a step further, many consumers will likely need some form of training to take advantage of all the features and capabilities that are contained within a particular redaction software program. As such, the way in which such training is delivered to customers can also play a huge role in the products and services they choose to purchase. For example, some software companies will offer paid training to their clients, while others will provide free resources in the form of online video tutorials or written articles that will walk users through the steps necessary to achieve a particular task or goal.
Ability to redact multiple file types
While the term redaction has been associated with removing personal information from written documents for much of human history, advancements in technology in the past 20 years have enabled people from around the world to communicate with each other in a manner that had never been possible before. However, these technological advancements have also opened the door for additional invasions of privacy, as information is no longer relegated to spoken word and written documents. To this end, a redaction software program that has the ability to redact images, PDFs, documents, audio files, etc, will prove to be of immense value to many consumers.
For instance, many law enforcement agencies will need to redact personal information within a number of different formats when looking to comply with a Freedom of Information Act or FOIA request. From video footage and audio files to physical documents, a police department may be tasked with redacting a massive amount of personal data in order to provide a requestor with the information they are asking for. As such, a redaction software program that can only be used to redact PDFs would be of little use to these law enforcement agencies, as they would still need to look elsewhere for their other redaction needs.
Automatic vs manual features
Despite the fact that the process of redaction has historically been done manually, there are now a bevy of software programs that can achieve this same objective automatically. Subsequently, the presence of automatic versus manual features will play an essential role in whether or not many consumers choose a particular redaction software program, particularly as it pertains to video and audio redaction. When compared with PDF or document redaction, in which the information that needs to be redacted will usually be in some order due to the inherent nature of such mediums, video, and audio files can be extremely challenging to redact manually.
To illustrate this point further, consider video footage that details a car accident that has taken place amidst a busy intersection within a large metropolitan city. Such a video would likely contain personally identifiable information in numerous different forms, including the faces of people, their license plates, and postal addresses, among other things. In such a scenario, redacting all these forms of information manually could take hours if not days, costing businesses and organizations additional time and resources that could be allocated to other more relevant pursuits.
Cloud vs. local storage
Finally, cloud vs. local storage is another major factor that could influence a consumer’s decision to purchase a redaction software program. While cloud storage can offer consumers more storage options and space, especially for customers who may be using older computers in the context of their jobs, this comes at the cost of privacy. Conversely, while a software program that runs on a user’s own local machine will provide said users with the highest level of security and data protection, these users will obviously be limited to the capabilities of their hardware, which could prove to be an issue under certain circumstances.
While many consumers might view cloud vs. local storage as technical terms that have no real-world application for their everyday lives, legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation or the GDPR for short has made data storage more important than ever before. As the GDPR places restrictions on the transfers of personal data from EU countries to non-EU countries, an American software company that is offering cloud computing services to an EU company could potentially violate the provisions established in the law. Under such circumstances, a software program that allows for a mix of both local and cloud storage would be an ideal solution.
As is the case when shopping for any product or service on the marketplace, consumers looking to purchase an all-in-one redaction software program will be considering a number of different factors and variables. While factors such as the price of the software, the features and capabilities of the program, and the level of customer service that is offered by the software company will all influence the purchasing decision of consumers, there are many other factors that may also affect the process. However, the factors that have been discussed in this article will give consumers the foundation they need to find the software that best suits the unique needs of their agency, business, or organization.