Guest Column | April 19, 2016

Combating The Human Component Of Data Security Vulnerabilities: Don't Let Print Be An Afterthought

Cyber Threats And Data Security

By Chris Strammiello, Vice President of Global Alliances & Strategic Marketing, Nuance Communications

In today’s digital world, there are countless ways in which sensitive corporate data can find its way into the wrong hands. But while your customers are focused on protecting information with email encryption and network firewalls, one of their employees could have left a physical document unattended in the printer tray — a major (and completely avoidable) security risk.

With about 20 percent of data security threats caused by insider misuse according to a Verizon report, and more than half of enterprise companies ignoring printers in their endpoint security strategy based on a Ponemon Institute study, there is a massive opportunity for dealers and resellers to help customers address the risks associated with employee printing practices.

Printing, scanning, and other document processes are notoriously overlooked in data security defenses. Due to the non-searchable format of printed documents, they can be difficult to track and dangerous to store. Plus, consider the human error involved; accidentally taking the wrong document from the printer or maliciously distributing copies outside of the organization can be just as damaging as a hacker or malware.

Shredding paper containing confidential data was the document security solution that your customers relied on — until now. Here are three ways you can enable them to secure sensitive documents with print management solutions.


Print management solutions can prevent exposure of information by holding print jobs in a secure print queue until a user authorizes its output. This protected print release, known as Follow-You Printing, allows users to print from anywhere on the network and pick up their documents when and where they want. Not only does this eliminate the risk of sensitive information being left at a printer, but it also promotes sustainable printing practices by reducing paper waste from unclaimed print jobs.

Encourage your customers to leverage network credentials to restrict workflows for authorized users only. Entering a password or PIN code, swiping an ID card, or even utilizing biometric technology that scans fingerprints is a simple step that can prevent the accidental spread of private information.

Content Filtering

Once a user is authenticated to print, the system can automatically apply rules and permissions to control what can be done with the file. For example, advanced optical character recognition (OCR) software can search scanned files for sensitive information and then redact or watermark it; so, even though the document itself can be shared, specific data embedded within, like social security numbers or employee salaries, can be completely blacked out. Further, creating pre-defined workflows for content and setting email notifications can enable your customers to intercept documents headed to unauthorized destinations or prevent them from being shared externally.

Training employees on company security policies can often be a time-consuming and ineffective process compared to establishing automated, rules-based filters with print management software. Transform the way your customers interact with their documents to ensure compliance as files travel from the point of capture to collaborative workflows and shared repositories.

Archiving And Auditing

All printed and captured documents can be archived and all print and capture transactions can be logged. Monitoring documents enables customers to properly manage the information before it ever reaches its intended destination. Simultaneously maintaining a complete audit trail of all multifunction printer (MFP) and document activities create a record of what was printed by whom and from which device. For customers in heavily regulated industries like banking or healthcare, having this history on file can make all the difference if compliance is questioned.

Dealers and resellers, you know that security is already top-of-mind for your customers. Help them identify vulnerabilities that they may be ignoring — something as simple as the office MFP. Implementation of intelligent document processes may seem intimidating, but you can be your customers’ hero with print management solutions that do the hard work for them. The benefits of such value-add services are two-fold: contain customer security risk and strengthen their document management strategy, while you become an indispensable partner and drive long-term business.