Case Studies

KfW Bankengruppe

Business Profile


Financial Services


Simple removal of risky data from Office documents without disturbing the work routine. Increase document security while ensuring mutual trust between customers and partners.


Workshare Protect


Alerts, blocks and cures content with one click Enables users to make informed decisions on document security Secure, effective, cleansing of hidden data from Office documents Optimal user friendliness Seamless integration into the email and document


For more than 50 years, the KfW Bankengruppe (KfW Banking Group), has been active in stimulating and promoting society, the economy, and ecology both across Europe and around the World.

User Profile

The bank is mainly focused on medium-sized companies and startups, but also promotes home finance, house modernization, and the protection of the environment and climate. Today, KfW has offices in Frankfurt, Berlin and Bonn, and does business worldwide.

The Challenge

Financial institutions need to enjoy the trust of their customers. This is especially true for public corporations like KfW. This trust is based on the bank’s discreetness, reliable and comprehensible processes, and transparent communication.

“Trust and responsibility are cornerstones of our bank. Document-based communication has to comply with this as much as financial transactions have to,” says Mr. Schutz, Data Protection Officer, KfW. “Data protection is of high importance to us, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve it.”

“Hidden data in Office documents, commonly also known as metadata, are potential leaks of information we cannot tolerate and which have to be eliminated as quickly as possible.”

Digital documents like Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint files always contain more information than one can view at first sight. So-called metadata, saved together with the document, may contain confidential information like names of authors, email addresses or locations on the server. As most office workers use templates or existing documents as starting points, the risk of hidden data is widespread.

Confidential information hidden within files could inadvertently leak and be viewed by third parties – an embarrassing or potentially costly mistake.

The Workshare Solution

KfW was looking for a simple and secure solution with which employees could eliminate all hidden information from electronic documents if required. An important selection criterion was that the tool integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint without interfering with the employees’ day-to-day work routines. As part of the selection process, the PC management department evaluated several solutions, including a Microsoft tool for deleting metadata. Part of this selection process featured KfW welcoming the offer of a risk assessment from Workshare. Our risk assessments help organizations understand the outbound content security risks organizations are exposed to and highlight the types of potential policy violations which could take place. In the end, a decision was made to adopt Workshare Protect. The most important reason: “During the proof of concept phase with nearly 20 employees, we found out that Workshare Protect can be handled really by everybody while constantly delivering excellent results,” explains Oliver Müller, the manager responsible for the selection process. “The solution fulfils our criteria for security and seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Office.”

Workshare supported KfW’s IT specialists during the selection process, the testing and the initial implementation phase. Workshare Protect is being introduced in the course of a comprehensive migration of all desktop computers at KfW to Microsoft Windows XP ServicePack 2 and Microsoft Office 2003. Eventually, all 4,000 KfW employees in Berlin, Bonn and Frankfurt will have Workshare Protect available at the click of a mouse. As a result, KfW’s document-based communication is safe, removing the risk caused by hidden data.

The Benefits

Workshare Protect secures the flow of documents, eliminates information risks and, furthermore, offers policy-based PDF conversion on demand and metadata management. Workshare Protect is the only solution which offers secure, accurate and policy-based document creation and sharing throughout the entire lifecycle of a document.

With a click on the Workshare icon in their Office applications, employees can check any document for metadata, have them displayed and deleted whenever necessary. We inform our employees that their documents may contain sensitive hidden data and that Workshare Protect is at their disposal to cleanse them. Our employees decide which documents need to be cleansed. It was important to us that our employees deal responsibly with sensitive documents on their own accord,” describes Oliver Müller. The thinking behind this was that Workshare empowers KfWs users to make their own informed decisions as to what is a sensitive document and what is not. The software does not impose itself on the user, but offers its service to him or her. As the software guides the user through each individual step of detecting, alerting and curing a hidden data problem, no extensive training is required. A step-by-step instruction on the Intranet is all KfW provides to their employees.