July 25, 2016

Without Proper Print Management, Printers Can be a Security Risk

Posted by Devin Anderson

Smart organizations have their networks locked down tight through firewalls, filtering, strong authorization and other measures to guard against hackers and espionage. But there’s a ubiquitous weak spot that frequently gets overlooked: printer security. And you might be even more surprised to find that this vulnerability is not always digital.

One of the biggest threats to printer security is physical documents—the ones that have been printed but left sitting in the output tray. This happens far too often. A manager sends a confidential employee file to a shared printer but then gets distracted and doesn’t retrieve it. Or an employee prints a sensitive presentation while visiting a different department only to be unable to locate the destination printer. Those documents are then left out in the open for anyone to see, and by that point all the encryption and two-factor authentication in the world won’t keep them away from prying eyes.

Secure printing solutions like PrinterLogic can prevent this from happening through seamlessly integrated Pull Printing. This feature boosts printer security by essentially splitting printing into two deliberate steps: the initiation of the print job, followed by the execution (and retrieval) of the print job. Not only is this actually more convenient for end users in many ways, it also cuts down on paper waste by ensuring that documents are not abandoned or unnecessarily reprinted.

PrinterLogic offers three different release options for this kind of security printing:

  • Badge/Card Reader: In this scenario, the end user swipes a badge or card through a reader device, which then releases the print job to a nearby printer (this can be done either through the printer’s embedded control panel or a networked reader device). Commercial printers often come equipped for secure printing solutions with an integrated card or badge reader, but even USB readers will work. This is ideal if your organization has an existing badge system.
  • Embedded Control Panel: Here the end user logs in and releases the desired print jobs using the printer’s integrated control panel coupled with the native PrinterLogic app, which supports most printers. As secure printing goes, this is one of the easiest and most cost-effective methods because it requires no additional hardware.
  • Browser: An incredibly flexible approach to printer security, this allows any device that can run a browser—PC, Mac, Chromebook, or even a mobile device—to access PrinterLogic’s web-based control panel and release specific print jobs to any printer. This is incredibly handy when printing to unfamiliar devices, because it allows users to confirm the correct physical printer before printing. It also enables organizations to turn any network printer into a Pull Printing-enabled machine, because the release device can be placed in kiosk mode next to the associated printer.

Of course, PrinterLogic’s secure printing solutions don’t end with Pull Printing. Because PrinterLogic’s centralized print management gives you fine-grained control over every printer in your organization, you can maintain a high level of printer security by setting strict parameters on which users are able to print and where they are authorized to print. That combination of backend oversight and frontend security guards against sensitive documents being compromised, so your print environment doesn’t risk becoming a liability.

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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