Quick guide to Oracle IRM 11g: Creating your first sealed document

Quick guide to Oracle IRM 11g index

The previous articles in this guide have detailed how to install, configure and secure your Oracle IRM 11g service. This article walks you through the process of now creating your first context and securing a document against it. I should mention that it would be worth reviewing the following to ensure your installation is ready for that all important first document.

  • Ensure you have correctly configured the keystore for the IRM wrapper keys. If this is not correctly configured, creating the context below will fail.
  • Make sure the IRM server URL correctly resolves and uses the right protocol (HTTP or HTTPS)


Create the first context

In Oracle 11g there is a built in classification and rights system called the "standard rights model" which is based on 10 years of customer use cases and innovation. It is a system which enables IRM to scale massively whilst retaining the ability to balance security and usability and also separate duties by allowing contacts in the business to own classifications. The final article in this guide goes into detail on this inbuilt classification model, but for the purposes of this current article all we need to do is create at least one context to test our system out.

With a new IRM server there are a set of predefined context templates and roles which again are setup in a way which reflects the most common use we've learned from our customers. We will use these out of the box configurations as they are to create the first context against which we will seal some content.
First login to your Oracle IRM Management Website located at https://irm.company.com/irm_rights/. Currently the system is only configured to use the built in LDAP for users, so use the only account we have at the moment, which by default is weblogic. Once logged in switch to the Contexts tab.

Click on the New Context icon (
) in the menu bar on the left. In the resulting dialog select the Standard context template and enter in a name for the context. Then just hit finish, the weblogic account will automatically be made the manager. You'll now see your brand new context ready for users to be assigned.

Now click on the Assign Role icon (
) in the menu bar and in the resulting dialog search for your only user account, weblogic, and add to the list on the right.

Now select a role for this user. Because we need to create a document with this user we must select contributor, as this is the only role which allows for the ability to seal.

Finally hit next and then finish. We now have a context with a user that has the rights to create a document. The next step is to configure the IRM Desktop to get these rights from the server.


Install the Oracle IRM Desktop

Before we can seal a document we need the client software installed. Oracle IRM has a very small, lightweight client called the Oracle IRM Desktop which can be freely downloaded in 27 languages from here. Double click on the installer and click on next...


Next again...


And finally on install...


Very easy. You may get a warning about closing Outlook, Word or another application and most of the time no reboots are required. Once it is installed you will see the IRM Desktop icon running in your tool tray, bottom right of the desktop.

Seal your first document

Finally the prize is within reach, creating your first sealed document. The server is running, we've got a context ready, a user assigned a role in the context but there is the simple and obvious hoop left to jump through.

To seal a document we need to have the users rights cached to the local machine. For this to take place, the IRM Desktop needs to know where the Oracle IRM server is on the network so we can synchronize these rights and then be able to seal a document. The usual way for the IRM Desktop to know about the IRM server is it learns automatically when you open an existing piece of content that someone has sent you... ack. Bit of a chicken or the egg dilemma. The solution is to manually tell the IRM Desktop the location of the IRM Server and then force a synchronization of rights.

Right click on the Oracle IRM Desktop icon in the system tray and select Options.... Then switch to the Servers tab in the resulting dialog. There are no servers in the list because you've never opened any content. This list is usually populated automatically but we are going to add a server manually, so click on New.... Into the dialog enter in the full URL to the IRM server. Note that this time you use the path /irm_desktop/ and not /irm_rights/. You can see an example from the image below.

Click on the validate button and you'll be asked to authenticate. Enter in your weblogic username and password and also check the Remember my password check box. Click OK and the IRM Desktop will confirm a successful connection to the server. OK all the dialogs and we are ready to Synchronize this users rights to the desktop. Right click once more on the Oracle IRM Desktop icon in the system tray. Now the Synchronize menu option is available. Select this and the IRM Desktop will now talk to the IRM server, authenticate using your weblogic account and get your rights to the context we created.


Because this is the first time this users has communicated with the IRM server the IRM Desktop presents a privacy policy dialog. This is a chance for the business to ask users to agree to any policy about the use of IRM before opening secured documents. In our guide we've not bothered to setup this URL so just click on the check box and hit Accept. The IRM Desktop will then talk to the server, get your rights and display a success dialog.

Lets protect a document

Now we are ready to seal a piece of content. In my guide i'm going to protect a Microsoft Word document. This mean's I have to have copy of Office installed, in this guide i'm using Microsoft Office 2007. You could also seal a PDF document, you'll need to download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader. A very simple test could be to seal a GIF/JPG/PNG or piece of HTML because this is rendered using Internet Explorer. But as I say, i'm going to protect a Word document. The following example demonstrates choosing a file in Windows Explorer, there are many ways to seal a file and you can watch a few in this video.
  • Open a copy of Windows Explorer and locate the file you wish to seal.
  • Right click on the document and select Seal To -> Context
  • You are now presented with the Select Context dialog.


You'll now have a sealed copy of the document sat in the same location. Double click on this document and it will open, again using the credentials you've already provided.


That is it, now you just need to add more users, more documents, more classifications and start exploring the different roles and experiment with different offline periods etc. You may wish to setup the server against an existing LDAP or Active Directory environment instead of using the built in WebLogic LDAP store. You can read how to use your corporate directory here.


But before we finish this guide, there is one more article and arguably the most important article of all. Next I discuss the all important decision making surrounding the actually implementation of Oracle IRM inside your business. Who has rights to what? How do you map contexts to your existing business practices? It is the next article which actually ensures you deploy a successful IRM solution by looking at the business and understanding how they use your sensitive information and then configuring Oracle IRM to reflect their use.


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Oracle IRM protects and tracks your sensitive information no matter where it goes. It combines business friendly encryption with role based usage rights and auditing.

11g quick guide


« June 2016