Joint watermarking and encryption is an upcoming security solution that combines leading but complementary techniques to achieve an enhanced security level. Real time applications using joint watermarking and encryption framework has three requirements: data to be efficiently compressed, watermarking technique to sustain compression, and encryption technique to be developed in a way so as not to disturb the compression efficiency. Finding an optimal solution that combines the three techniques while fulfilling these requirements is a challenging problem. This paper thus, proposes a wavelet domain based joint watermarking and encryption framework that employs singular value decomposition based watermark embedding and sign bit encryption prior to compression. The varying significance of different subbands has been considered to encrypt the data without adversely effecting the compression ratio. Experimental analysis using various evaluation parameters and attack scenarios has revealed the ability of the proposed framework to prove content-ownership, even from the encrypted data. Comparative analysis with the existing techniques reflect its ability to provide better security with less computational resources. This makes it a preferable solution for data security at all stages of data archival, transmission or distribution. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.