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Elevity, a division of Gordon Flesch Company, provides comprehensive technology management services. Their IT experts take a holistic approach and provide a right-sized plan with a tailored strategy, robust security, best-in-class solutions and unrivaled support.

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Best Practices for Secure Printing

01/20/2022
printing-best-practices
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Securing printers against hackers and cyberthreats should be a simple task. But with the adoption of mobile devices, cloud computing and the rise of the Internet of things [IoT], technology professionals have found that the printer is an increasingly thorny security challenge.

We have written many times over the years why securing your printers is an essential practice for all businesses. Unfortunately, printers are often given a relatively low priority from IT departments. And with modern printers connected directly to the internet, sharing data with cloud services and sending faxes, they may offer hackers a backdoor into the corporate network.

Given the increasingly interconnected nature of printer fleets, securing print devices should be a priority. Here is what you need to know about secure printing.

THE SECURITY SOLUTION

The first step to securing a print network is to apply user access permissions. These permissions either allow or block access to certain features of the devices on the network. Your business may want to give part time employees different access than full time employees to further protect your vital information. Maintaining control and visibility of all network users is vital when deploying connected business systems. For example, at GFC, we deploy a secure print release queue to provide end-users the ability to print from a central secure (follow-me) print network. It works like this:

  • The user prints to a single, secure input queue configured on the user’s device or workstation
  • The user walks to any connected MFP and identifies themselves on the machine
  • The user selects a specific print job from the print queue
  • The user releases the specified job at the MFP and the job is printed

A BETTER WAY TO PRINT

If you aren’t used to this level of printer security, it might sound like an unnecessary hurdle or complication. But while secure printing locks down devices, it doesn’t make life harder for your employees. In fact, when done right, secure printing can make everyone’s jobs better and more efficient.

As mentioned above, we use secure printing in all our Gordon Flesch Company locations. That means users don’t have piles of papers sitting on a printer and don’t have to wait for other jobs to print first. If a machine is being used or is not accessible for any reason, users can simply go to another machine and collect their print job there. Most importantly, they never have to worry about someone else grabbing a print job off the printer because they are there to collect it immediately after authenticating themselves.

In addition to authentication, a secure printing solution should provide cybersecurity protection with the capability to protect the integrity of the machine and any documents it handles. This includes connectivity to keep printer software regularly updated. In other words, printers need to have a management solution with tools to ensure that sensitive data is not left on the device and that they are at the latest security levels to prevent them from being compromised by hackers.

Print security could include measures for proximity and physical security as well. If your office handles sensitive medical or financial records, you can place the printer in a location where only certain people can access it. You can also adopt special output trays and locking paper cassettes that keep high-priority documents and paper stock separated and protected.

Another benefit of a secure managed print program is elimination of “unclaimed print.” Eliminating this expense is a huge cost savings for any companies’ bottom line. “Unclaimed print,” or piles of paper in wire baskets next to or on top of printers that never gets retrieved by the owner, creates a 20-35% increase in costs for your organization. Having a solution in place to eliminate this waste can save companies thousands in their budgets.

For example, GFC customer Cardinal Stritch University wanted to lower costs, reduce waste and encourage the staff and students to print less. To achieve these goals, GFC’s business analysts put secure printing controls in place to help lower printing costs. Using PaperCut print management software and GFC’s just-in-time toner delivery, the University is using 20% less toner, paper and supplies. This is a huge savings for CSU’s operating budget. 

It’s obvious that managing and securing your print environment can have a big impact on the protection of your business’s data and on your bottom line. If you would like guidance on what security measures you can implement to protect your offices, or need guidance with managing your printer network, look to a Managed Print Service (MPS) program to help you manage all aspects of your business printing devices. Reach out to us today for a free assessment.

Benefits of managed print services infographic CTA

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