March 02, 2020

The Security Risks of Enterprise Printing and How to Create a Secure Printing Environment

Among IT professionals, it’s no secret that printers represent an overlooked security threat. When the research firm Quocirca surveyed 240 enterprise organizations across the United States, the UK, France and Germany for its 2018 report on managed print services, around half of the respondents stated that print security was part of their overall information security strategy.

If just US respondents were singled out, that number rose to 70%.

Strangely, though, only 30% of all the respondents claimed to be fully confident that their print infrastructure was safeguarded against internal and external threats.

In other words, despite understanding the importance of secure print management and secure printing, the vast majority acknowledged their enterprise print environment was still at risk. What explains that gap between awareness and action in print security?

Security pain points in a typical environment

Printers are among the most widely used devices in any organization. Regardless of your preferred printing solutions, printers are accessed by every department, every employee and even automated systems. That constant, widespread access increases the security risks surrounding sensitive documents.

Yet the need for constant, widespread access also makes the print environment tough to lock down. Print management is hard enough without all kinds of additional security measures in place. If you do try to implement more secure printing, end users who find themselves inconvenienced are either going to pester the help desk or, worse, find a (non-secure) workaround.

For IT admins, that seems like a lose–lose scenario.

Preserving the status quo is the path of least resistance, yet it leaves the print environment vulnerable. On the other hand, increasing print security using conventional printing solutions is bound to create more print management overhead. It’s also likely to leave end users unhappy or compel them to undermine the security you’ve worked so hard to implement.

It’s still absolutely crucial to harden print security

The bottom line is this: No matter what the challenges, sidelining print security just isn’t an option. The costs of data breaches are huge, and the exposure vectors are everywhere:

  • Human error: Employees frequently print documents and then forget to retrieve them. That leaves sensitive information sitting in the output tray for anyone to see—or take to a competitor.
  • Outdated print architectures: Legacy printing solutions like print servers store print jobs in a common queue. If hackers gain access to the queue, they gain access to every job in it.
  • Halfhearted security measures: Print security is all or nothing. Any loophole will be exploited. But that also means admins have an obligation to make secure printing a natural, seamless part of their end users’ workflows.

It takes a next-generation printing solution to overcome longstanding, universal shortcomings like these.

Secure printing through serverless printing

Secure release printing from PrinterLogic leverages the strengths of our serverless printing infrastructure so that it’s simple to deploy and manage, user friendly and cost-effective. That’s because PrinterLogic eliminates print servers and all their vulnerabilities while enhancing ease of use for admins and end users too.

With PrinterLogic, pretty much any networked printer can be turned into a secure release printer. If you have an existing badge or ID card swipe system, PrinterLogic can easily integrate with your hardware readers to release secure print jobs. Alternatively, users can authenticate using the printer’s embedded control panel or our Print Release App for iOS and Android smartphones.

EPIC Management implemented PrinterLogic with a view to simplifying print management as well as streamlining the tightly controlled printing of electronic medical records (EMR). Today this California-based MSP is able to better serve its customers by providing them with the ability to print protected health information (PHI) easily, reliably and securely. Read the case study here.

Leave the flaws of traditional printing solutions behind and give PrinterLogic’s secure printing a test run—along with all its other amazing functionality—in your own organization. Sign up now and you’ll be able to demo our serverless printing infrastructure free of charge for 30 days.

Interested in eliminating all of your print servers?

We deliver a highly available Serverless Printing Infrastructure using a centrally managed Direct IP printing platform. If you want to empower end users with mobile printing, secure release printing, and many advanced features, we’d love to show you how.

Serverless printing is just one quick demo away.

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Author

Author

Tom Darnall

Tom joined the product team at PrinterLogic after moving to So. Utah from Portland, Oregon. He's held various executive, product management and marketing positions at HP, Symantec, and other software firms. Tom received a B.A. in Communications from BYU and completed a summer executive MBA program at Stanford. Off the clock, he enjoys landscape photography, exploring off-the-beaten-path locations in the desert southwest, and weekend trips to Las Vegas for live music, especially jazz.
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