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Introducing File Redactor

We are excited to announce that our File Redactor application is now generally available! I know many of you have been waiting some time for this functionality, so we’re really happy about this highly anticipated release. This app has been a passion project we’ve been working hard on for the past year or so and we think you’re going to love what we’ve delivered.

First, a little backstory. For those of you not familiar with our existing GearsDataMask offering, we were the first application on the AppExchange focused on identifying and removing personally identifiable information (PII) like credit cards, social security numbers (SSN) – or any other sensitive data – from Salesforce. This application is currently being used by some of the largest retail & financial services companies in the world to mitigate potential compliance issues in their Salesforce instance.  The good news is that GearsDataMask seamlessly protects the core Service Cloud objects like Case, Case Comment, Task, Email, etc. and it can be easily extended to any other object in Salesforce – whether standard or custom.

However, one request we hear repeatedly from our customers and prospects is, “can you help us with sensitive data hiding in files and attachments?” With File Redactor, the answer is a resounding yes! As the name of the app implies, it does, in fact, redact files. The app scans your incoming attachments and looks for sensitive data patterns, and it can then redact/mask/obscure (pick your favorite verb) the data.

On the left, a credit card authorization form is scanned in and uploaded to Salesforce. On the right, the credit card number is redacted and the initial file is retained in Salesforce.


But Wait, There’s More!

What if you don’t want to automatically erase the data? Many companies might need to know that the data exists and then to review or take action on the data before wiping it out. Or maybe your requirement is to purge the file entirely if a piece of sensitive information exists. You’re in luck, my friend. File Redactor provides options for users who may not want to automatically redact data. For each unique file type, you have the ability to tell File Redactor to identify (just alert me if a sensitive pattern exists in a given file), delete (if the file contains a matching sensitive pattern, toss it) and/or redact (I want to retain the file, but redact the area of the document where the pattern exists). We give you full control over how you can handle these files and the sensitive patterns within them. Pretty cool, right?

We wanted File Redactor to handle the vast majority of file types that could be uploaded to your Salesforce instance. File Redactor provides out-of-the-box support for four high-level buckets of file types and we included the bulk of the potential file extensions for each bucket. And, because File Redactor was built for Salesforce, you also have the ability to adjust as you see fit with our simple, configuration-based administration (more on that later). Here are the file types that File Redactor supports out-of-the-box:

      1. Images – BMP, GIF, JFIF, JPE, JPEG, JPG, PNG, TIF, TIFF
      3. PDF – PDF (pretty self-explanatory!)
      4. Text – TXT, RTF

This seems like magic, how does it actually work?

Intelligent Document Processing

File Redactor leverages Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) to capture and classify the data housed within your attachments using OCR (optical character recognition) to turn any unstructured data (like a PDF or a picture, which is much different from a Word Document) into structured data that can then be searched in the same way as standard Salesforce data.  At the end of the day, File Redactor is a powerful tool for identifying data patterns within your attachment and then using standard Salesforce automation to take action on that data.

Logging & Activity Tracking

We understand that trying to track down all files or attachments that may or may not contain sensitive data in your Salesforce org could easily be a full-time job in and of itself. So, to make things a little easier for you, the File Redactor application comes with standard logging capabilities. The logs are super helpful in tracking what data, if anything, was found by File Redactor. For example, the screenshot below depicts a standard log record from the app that shows general information about the file itself (ID, name, file size, extension, etc.) and then the actual output after the redaction process completes – like the number of incidents of data detected, or the name of the new redacted file, etc. As you can imagine, the information contained here is pretty powerful and could even be used to kick off additional alerts or business processes based on the findings. Plus, you can create reports and dashboards with the log records to support your tracking and compliance.

Configuration & Administration

At GearsDesign, we’re focused on helping system admins meet their most difficult business requirements, and we always strive to deliver apps that empower non-developers to get up and running without assistance from any development resources. So, File Redactor is simple to set up and administer! Like the majority of our AppExchange apps, we leverage custom metadata types and/or custom settings for the customized configuration of each application. For those familiar with GearsDataMask, you’ll know that this is where you’d go to update the masking behavior, which fields to mask, what patterns to look for, etc. File Redactor includes these simple, configuration-based methods to manage the types of files you are reviewing, what type of action you are taking on those files, what patterns you are looking for, and so much more.

  • Plug-and-Play Approach – As soon as you finish the initial setup/configuration of the app, it’s immediately up and running and scanning your incoming files and attachments. The application comes with pre-packaged triggers on both the File & Attachment objects – so no Apex coding is necessary! But don’t worry developers, we’ve got some additional options so you can get your hands in there as well.
  • Easy to Customize– As we mentioned, the application is designed to be plug & play for any non-developer admins. But we also recognize that one size doesn’t fit all and you may have specific business requirements that you need to meet with File Redactor. Maybe you only want to review or redact files that have a specific file name or type. Or maybe you want an end-user to have the opportunity to review the file before it’s redacted. All of that and more is possible with the custom approaches that the application offers. At a high level, there are really two custom paths:
    1. For all you developers, you can override the packaged triggers and invoke the application manually within your own code (for those of you using GearsDataMask, this is probably a familiar option). Additionally, all the configuration options can be sent in as a parameterized execution, meaning you can control what action File Redactor takes on specific files right through the code itself as opposed to the Custom Metadata Types that have been defined.
    2. For both the power admins & developers, we also offer the ability to invoke the File Redactor application directly through an invocable method with Flow. We all know the power that comes with Flow, so being able to leverage the app there and also layering on other decision points, business processes, outputs, etc. in addition to the file redaction itself can be a really powerful option.

Get Started Today

If you’d like to try out File Redactor, you can take advantage of our Free Trial via the AppExchange! For our existing GearsDataMask customers, you have access to basic File Redactor functionality included as part of your subscription and can download the app from the AppExchange to get started.

So that covers some of the features that we’re delivering as part of our initial launch of File Redactor to the AppExchange. Hopefully, you’re as excited as we are about these new features we’ve packaged up to pair well with our existing GearsDataMask application.

If you have any questions about the application, have any ideas for future release or want to jump on these new features as soon as possible, let us know as we love to hear from you. Just send us a note to and someone from the team will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for reading!

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