Eau Gallie Causeway, Melbourne, Florida (C) Leonard J. DeFrancisci
Eau Gallie Causeway (C) Leonard J. DeFrancisci

Melbourne (Florida) based IRI has announced the imminent release of IRI CellShield Enterprise Edition (EE), a compliance package for Excel workbooks. The release may help to deflect some of the criticisms around a lack of compliance for Excel. This is the second generation of the CellShield software, the first CellShield Addin for Excel was released in November 2014. The EE version will be available in Q3 2015 and although it isn’t available quite yet but interest can be registered.

Those who look to implement CellShield will be able to protect sensitive data. This will allow them to comply with a number of the key international standards such as CIPSEA, FERPA, HIPAA/HITECH, PCI and SOX. It will also make it easier to meet the demands and international data privacy laws like the EU Data Privacy Directive and POPI in S. Africa when using Excel files.

Many companies merely rely on users to protect their spreadsheets with passwords to reach a level of compliance. Rather than leave it to users, this tool enables the enterprise to enforce that compliance thus reducing the risk of compliance failure.

CellShield© add in

CellShield add-in works by encrypted selected ranges and cells to make them viewable only by those with the appropriate key. It costs just $35 per user and it is possible to receive a discount for single licences by liking the application on Facebook.

The add-in works with Excel 2010 and 2013 and in versions of Windows from Windows 7 through 8.1. There is no statement yet around Windows 10 and that may only come when the next version of Excel ships. Clearly there is a need out there for an Enterprise tool and IRI have now released an enterprise version that does a lot more than the Addin.

CellShield© EE

CellShield© EE does much more than the Addin module and consists of four basic features

  • Discovery: CellShield EE uses the dark data discovery wizard from the IRI Workbench GUI to locate sensitive data that is stored within Excel files on the network.  Specific data types can be searched for, for example, telephone numbers, National Insurance Numbers, Pin Numbers or new masks can be developed to identify other sensitive information.  The tool looks network wide to identify those spreadsheets that are holding such data such as Personal files or customer data. At the moment the discovery tool appears to work on Network drives but an upgrade that includes the ability to search within Sharepoint is to be released in Q4 2015.

    CellShield EE Discover
    CellShield EE Discover
  • Reporting: The discovery tools, exports the located metadata into a report format that lists all the discovered patterns and their locations so the users can Identify add comments about the data for auditing purposes.

    CellShield Report, IRI
    CellShield Report, IRI
  • Protection: Once identified users can carry out the manual of bulk protection of the corporate data stored on the network. The options include encryption (and decryption), masking (full or partial cell, non-reversible), or pseudonynmization (reversible and non-reversible) of the applicable ranges within the spreadsheets identified in the report.  It is possible to change the masks between different workbooks, ranges and protect the data in a similar way to CellShield Addin. Spreadsheet users would only be able to view the information stored within the files if they had access to the correct algorithm and key to unlock the data.

    CellShield Protect
    CellShield Protect
  • Auditing: With many spreadsheets scattered across a company the auditing tools records all of the actions that have been done to every spreadsheet, enabling a track to be kept of what has been encrypted where.

    CellShield Audit

FieldShield + CellShield

For those users already using FieldShield there is good news. Data encrypted on databases can be accessed using the same keys if exported into Excel. This compatibility between the two product streams will be useful for those companies using Fieldshield to protect their data and enables them to export and manipulate data without decryption.


This is an interesting product that will appeal to many companies, and will help prevent data breaches from users who lack personal security features. Prices for for the enterprise version are likely to fall between US $3500 and US $35,000 depending upon the number of licenses required. IRI will be offering a discount to those uses who already have purchased FieldShield and other applications from the Florida based software company.

IRI software engineer Ronald Pekarchik commenting in the press release about the product feels that the software “mitigates the risk of data breaches and synchronization problems, and limits entitled employee and business partner accesses to specific subsets from the same source.”

There are shortcomings with the software and there is no mention of a mobile version yet, nor are details of the encryption methodology used published.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here