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Secure Remote Printing with PrinterLogic

Posted by Zachary Vernon on July 8th, 2019

Print 2025, a global study focused on printing in the digital workplace, has found that two-thirds of the businesses it surveyed ranked print among their top five security concerns. And with good reason. In the 12-month period prior to the survey, 59% of the organizations had experienced one or more print-related data losses—a breach that the same study showed to cost an average of £313,000 ($395,500 USD) per year.

Not all corporate printing solutions have kept pace with this demand for increased security, which might explain why these data-loss events are occurring in the first place. Legacy enterprise print infrastructures like print servers are inherently vulnerable to single attack vectors, and in distributed environments with consolidated or centralized server configurations, print-job data risks exposure to malicious actors each time it crosses the WAN. That can undermine any attempt to establish secure remote printing in an organization.

Why secure remote printing is important
Hardening the print environment in an organization with a single location certainly is no cakewalk. But in distributed organizations, where centralized print management is often lacking, it becomes more difficult to oversee and enforce secure printing policies at remote sites. The same goes for organizations—distributed or not—with a large, dynamic workforce with mobile employees printing from home, job sites or satellite offices.

Despite all the typical challenges organizations face in implementing it, secure remote printing is an absolute must. It doesn't matter whether you're in healthcare or government. Every exploitable gap in the print infrastructure opens up the risk of losing money, trade secrets and face among both your customers and industry peers. Those monetary losses are sometimes easier to deal with than the long-lasting hit to your reputation.

When data breaches do occur, what can add insult to injury is knowing that those risks were preventable if only the organization had been using the right print solution.

Bolstering security through pull printing and centralized print management
PrinterLogic's on-prem enterprise printing software and its SaaS counterpart, PrinterCloud, are the serverless corporate printing solutions for our security-conscious age. By their very design, they create a platform on which to build a culture of secure remote printing because they avoid the inherent vulnerabilities of print servers.

In a remote branch, for example, PrinterLogic allows end users to print without their jobs leaving the LAN. This is because PrinterLogic's unique architecture establishes efficient (and secure) individual direct-IP connections between clients and printers. At the same time, admins enjoy centralized print management through PrinterLogic's management console. This means that admins can monitor and manage the entire print environment, even in massively distributed organizations, from a single pane of glass.

In a nutshell, PrinterLogic decentralizes printing while centralizing oversight and control. This combination makes it ideal not only in terms of security but also in terms of efficiency.

Another way that PrinterLogic enhances secure remote printing initiatives is through pull printing. Unlike some corporate printing solutions, pull printing in PrinterLogic isn't an afterthought. It works hand in hand with our software's core feature set to create an intuitive, user-friendly and flexible secure printing protocol.

Basically, pull printing (also called secure release printing) splits printing into two clear steps. Instead of print jobs automatically printing out on the destination printer, which potentially leaves sensitive or even confidential documents sitting in the output tray, the job is held until the user issues the "release" command. This is incredibly handy—and far more secure than traditional methods—in situations where roaming employees travel to remote offices. Using PrinterLogic's pull printing feature, they can print to a default queue and then release the job at a printer of their choosing.

Flexibility and security aren't mutually exclusive
How the user releases the print job is just as important as the capability itself. PrinterLogic offers a variety of release options, giving organizations and users the choice of the most effective or convenient method.

Far from reducing security, this flexibility means that users are less likely to feel restricted or encumbered by secure printing protocols. That makes them more likely to actually use pull printing in practice than to try to find ways to circumvent it, as organizations like the Fulton County School System discovered after deploying PrinterLogic (read the case study here). To that end, pull printing from PrinterLogic supports the following release mechanisms:

  • Badge/card reader: PrinterLogic can integrate with existing ID card and badging systems, allowing organizations to associate select printers with electronic readers. To release the job, users just swipe their badge on the reader.
  • CAC/PIV: For high-security government agencies, PrinterLogic supports common access card (CAC) and personal identity verification (PIV) systems.
  • Embedded control panel application: Using this method, employees can simply access the PrinterLogic application on their printer's control panel and enter their password or PIN.
  • Smartphone app: PrinterLogic's Print Release App for iOS and Android makes it virtually effortless for end users to view pending pull-printing jobs and securely release them with a single tap.
  • A web browser: Users can log into PrinterLogic's web-based release portal to execute their print jobs. Some organizations have made this even easier by setting up inexpensive tablets in kiosk mode next to pull-printing-enabled printers.

With PrinterLogic’s serverless print infrastructure, centralized print management and flexible pull-printing functionality, organizations have been able to harden their print security and encourage secure remote printing by empowering end users rather than restricting them.

Sign up today for a free demo and test PrinterLogic's secure, next-generation print solution in your own organization free of charge for 30 days.

Zachary Vernon
Zachary Vernon
Zach is a Product Manager at PrinterLogic, where he leverages a decade of experience consulting with customers to help define and shape new products in the serverless printing infrastructure market. He oversees the firm’s offerings for Managed Service Providers and helps them provide exceptional service to their clients. He holds an MBA from Southern Utah University, as well as certifications in SAFe’s Agilist and Product Owner/Product Manager programs. Zach loves living in the desert southwest and enjoys mountain biking and other outdoor activities with friends, his wife, and their four children.

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