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How to Safely Print Confidential Documents on a Shared Printer

Patrick Flesch
02/07/2017
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Regardless of business or industry, there is a universal truth: sensitive information needs to be protected. This can be particularly tricky when using a shared printer. One possible but highly improbable solution is to purchase a printer for each employee. The other, more feasible approach is to use a shared printer or multifunction device enabled with Managed Print technology you can leverage to safely print confidential documents.

There are several methods for implementing document security. Your equipment and software will largely dictate the best solution for you, but these are among the most popular.

Pull Printing (or Follow Printing)

Pull printing is a two-step process that ensures information is fully protected because it never leaves the user’s control regardless of environment: PC/Mac, mobile and Chromebook. First, the user initiates a print job from their device, placing it on a universal print driver. Then, to complete the job, they must “pull” it from the driver toward any pull print-enabled printer by authenticating the request, either through a graphical user interface (GUI) command or while physically at the printer.

Secure Printing

Secure printing is much like pull printing, with a couple key differences — users designate and send jobs to specific printer drivers and devices instead of having universal discretion, and printing is completed in one of three ways to maintain optimal information security:

  • Browser-Based Release: Any device with access to a browser and, by extension, a web-based app allows users to release print jobs from their PC, Mac, Chromebook or mobile device.

  • Badge/Card Reader Release: As the name suggests, users are granted access to printers through card reader swipes, as authenticated through the company’s existing badge system. Card reader release is selective, meaning users are assigned to certain printers. Their badges won’t work on all equipment.

  • Personal ID Number (PIN) Release: Like card reader release, personal identification numbers safeguard confidential information because the PINs are user-specific. A print job initiated by a certain user cannot be accessed without entering the PIN.

The secure printing feature on your shared printer or multifunction device does more than keep sensitive information safe. It can also help curtail unintended printing and the number of jobs printed (or reprinted) but never retrieved — saving significant time, money and resources over time.

Protecting your confidential information is a top priority, and a multifunction device from Gordon Flesch Company is a practical and cost-effective solution. Contact us today to discuss your multifunction device and managed print services needs.

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