10 Ways to protect your company’s reports from Copycats.


Enterprise level reporting on the organization was a powerful mechanism to make your reports, dashboards or raw data easily accessible to the business end users of the organization. For some reason a few people may imitate and try to reverse engineer those reports without the original authors consent. This may often affect the integrity of the original report because the organization will have reports which displays different results.

We are just wondering why people try to create their own, when the data or information is already available for them. The organization should also inform everyone regarding data organizational compliance, standards and rules to protect data integrity.

Data was already available on the system some people download the data to put it again on the system!

There’s nothing wrong with people trying to emulate the organizations legacy reports, It means the reports are highly in demand. It only become wrong when there is a negative impact on your organization. When people try to recreate and do not follow the same business rules as the original one, affecting the legacy report’s integrity. Which would create confusion about the data and statistics.

Here is a list to protect you organizations data integrity.

1. Establish a master report or master data, create master data business rules. The first thing a discerning Analyst will do is to establish a main data and report that will cover all the subject matter of the given topic the report will portray. This will make splicing of the data easier and the totals would be the same throughout any sub report. The report will have now a set of rules to be followed and will make it hard to be emulated without following those rules.

2. Create watermarks on your legacy report’s background when end user print the report or they send it thru mail on pdf format. The end consumer of the reports will immediately know that the report is from the official distribution of your organization.

3. PGP Signatures. PGP or pretty good privacy can be used on each report by having a PGP key on the header or footer of the reports. This key can be later be verified on you organizations portal or system if the report is indeed valid.

4. Create a general format for all your reports. A standardized format for all your reports can go a long way. Not only it makes the organizations report look professional but also it allows a uniformed way to distinguish reports from your organization from others.

5. Track all reports being viewed and published. On some Business Intelligence suite there are in built ways to track each reports. Some have an in built database that contains report number and execution logs. By creating a monitoring reports of your Business Intelligence, you can monitor each reports usage and a way to audit each report.

6. Enforcing organizational data validation rules. The organizational policy and data standards should always be emphasized to all reports consumers. It should be well emphasized that all the end user custom reports should follow the same business rules as the one on the legacy reports.

7. Having a organizational data accountability training program. Having this kind of program across the organization will help business end users at least some basic idea regarding how to manipulate you organizational data and implementing the rules in creating sub-reports. This will increase their dependence on the legacy reports of your organization.

8. Department data ownership and control. Having business end user or departments take control over their data is another key to protect report integrity. The business end user can set their own departmental standards and policy over the data. Thus their reports does not have to comply with them but they have have to comply on what is on the system.

9. Managing the data access, data auditing and dissemination. Taking control over the data should be the number one priority of every organization. If the data was managed well and disseminated to the correct people then full control over data integrity is possible.

10. Hiring competent people in the organization. It all boils down to getting the competent people to work on data. At the end of the day, Incompetent people which you management hired are the one who will likely create confusions and doubts in the organizations data.


The organization must not let incompetent people handle their data. Or better do not let them handle anything at all.