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Home » Features: Why ExcelSentry?

Why do I need ExcelSentry?

The normal situation in a typical office is that a limited amount of security can be provided by restricting access to a spreadsheet file, for example by placing the file on a user's hard drive, or on a restricted access network drive.  This can prevent unauthorized users from viewing or opening the spreadsheet.  However, it does not provide reliable content security, where a user may be authorized to view or use the spreadsheet, but should not be allowed access to its formulas or underlying algorithms.  It also does not provide location security, where users may be authorized to use a spreadsheet while they are in the office, but are not permitted to remove and use that spreadsheet outside the office.

ExcelSentry employs multiple encryption and security techniques to achieve an innovative security solution.  It prevents loss of company trade secrets and proprietary algorithms as embedded in spreadsheet formulas by providing both strong content and strong location security.  ExcelSentry allows users to use an encoded spreadsheet in an authorized environment, but does not permit them to view or edit any encrypted formulas.  In addition, users may be able to use the spreadsheet in the company's office on activated PCs, but would not be able to copy the spreadsheet and use it at another location.

Feature ExcelSentry
Is an authorized user able to work with an encoded spreadsheet just like normal? Yes – generally the only significant difference an authorized user would notice is that they would be unable to view or edit the original formulas.  Note that in lockdown mode, structural changes (column/row inserts/deletes etc) are also prevented
Is an unauthorized user completely prevented from using the spreadsheet? Yes - an unauthorized user may be able to open the spreadsheet, but the encrypted formulas will not operate
Is using an encoded spreadsheet fast?
Even when inserting or deleting columns or rows?
Yes – while an encoded spreadsheet will operate somewhat slower than the original, this is not normally noticeable except for some large or complex spreadsheets
You can update data, format cells, insert and delete columns and rows, move cells etc, and recalculation is still fast
Can I use large or complex spreadsheets? Yes – although recalculation of large or complex spreadsheets may be noticeably slower than for the original
Can I use external links in my formulas, e.g. references to cells in another spreadsheet? Yes, although formulas containing external references will not be encrypted
Are my formulas really secure? Yes – ExcelSentry uses 128-bit AES/Rijndael, an effectively unbreakable encryption algorithm
ExcelSentry does not allow reversing of the process – i.e. starting with an encoded spreadsheet and recovering the original formulas
Can I use either Excel’s auto- or manual recalculation mode? Yes
Can I use VBA macros? Yes
Can I use Goal Seek and Solver? Yes, although Solver can be particularly slow for complex spreadsheets unless special care is taken with structuring the formulas
Are other companies who have the same software prevented from using my encoded spreadsheets? Yes – unless you specifically allow “Any PC” with an ExcelSentry Client to use your encoded spreadsheet, only PCs that you have authorized will be able to use your company’s encoded spreadsheets
Can I have some of my spreadsheet formulas encrypted and some not? Yes – you can choose which worksheets to encode, and can limit the number of formulas to be encrypted within those worksheets


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