Guest Column | September 24, 2020

Top 5 Areas Of Print Management Security

By Noah Nadeau, Y Soft

Cybersecurity Security Lock

Ensuring your customer’s print infrastructure, and the data processed within it, is secure has never been more important. Data breaches make headline news and come with hefty price tags. The disruption and far-reaching consequences to reputation mean your customers need to know they have a print solution that will keep their data safe and secure, from wherever they are printing. With the rise of the Cloud and internet of things (IoT), the threat to security has increased. The good news is that there are proactive steps you can take to ensure print security for your customers.

5 Risky Areas

According to a recent Quocirca report, 11 percent of all security incidents are print related and these incidents cost an average of $410,000 per annum. The Travelex data breach is fresh in people’s minds, and with lost productivity and revenue featuring in the aftermath of a breach, it becomes imperative to assess your risk. The main vulnerabilities in print services lie in the printed documents themselves and the print infrastructure. Risky areas include unauthorized access to print devices, unclaimed print output, mobile printing, network communications, and the ability to track and audit print services activity.

To proactively address print security, a good place to start is in these five areas.

  1. Secure Access To Print Devices
    Are the devices freely used by anyone in the building? Visiting vendors, janitorial staff, employee friends? Consider using a system that requires valid credentials so that only authorized users may use multifunction or other networked printers. The added benefit is that the customer can track who is using them and when. Having the ability to manage who is using the devices and how they are used, means getting a tighter grip on their device usage.
  2. Secured Documents
    Print jobs should only be viewed and retrieved by their intended and authorized individuals, whether that is the print job owner or their delegate. Secured document release mitigates the risk of documents left out or forgotten in the print tray or picked up by others. Documents also can feature watermarks and other such measures for enhanced security.

When scanning documents, it is easily possible to send via email to the wrong recipient or purposefully send confidential documents to external email addresses. By using an automated scan workflow, scans can automatically be sent to a predefined, approved recipient, a shared network folder, or a document repository or third-party application. Today’s modern scan workflow systems also enhance the accuracy and usability of scans in addition to the secure delivery.

  1. Secure Mobile Printing
    Mobile devices now form an integral part of print infrastructure whether the company provides mobile devices or allows personal use. A print management system that includes mobile printing ensures that a secure queue is used and, just like printing on the desktop, the prints are tracked and reported.
  2. Secure Communication Of Data In Use, Transit And At Rest

    Today’s multifunction devices are connected to your network and therefore susceptible to external attacks. By using standard security protocols and encryption, the data that travels from employee’s devices to the printer is secure. When data is traveling to cloud repositories or other external cloud-based systems, those communication channels should also be protected.

Additionally, any data that is stored on the print device’s hard drive needs to be erased when the printer is decommissioned.

  1. Usage Reporting And Tracking
    To help mitigate possible risk and identify unusual usage that may be a security issue, being able to track and what is being copied, scanned, and printed by whom and where is key.  

Security Is More Than Just A Box To Tick

As well as these top five areas, understand that print security is not something you address once and forget about. Threats don’t stand still, and neither should your security protection. It’s an ongoing process. Additionally, security done well is a collaborative effort between you, as a print services provider, the customer, and the print management provider. A print management solution solves many of the risk mitigations mentioned above in addition to other benefits.

As the print services provider, understanding the security features that print management software offers can make you a valued partner for your customers. Providing security advice in partnership with a print management provider can lead to new service opportunities.

About The Author

Noah Nadeau is the CTO of Y Soft.