Why Print Security – Securing Printed Output Is More Important Than Securing The Workstation

As budgets are getting more strained and IT spending has to justify more closely where to spend and which assets to protect, I often see myself in the situation that I am asked by a CIO or CFO which assets they should protect and why.

For some CIOs it is not clear where their biggest security risk lies, at the workstation or at the printer. Generally at the workstation are only employees and they have a logon that is enforced in any reasonable IT environment, giving them only access to the information they need to do their job and preventing access to information they do not need. Arguably managing identities is more a matter of convenience than a much higher level of security.

Strategies to eliminate the risk of taking corporate data seeping out of the workplace will be in locking down USB ports for writing to memory sticks, writing to CD or DVD drives while in the corporate facility.

Assuming those precautions have been taken, the next highest risk is on the printer, where documents can be looked at or picked up by the wrong person accidental or deliberate. People can and do take documents from a printer with information they would normally not have access to from their computer.

Print Output Management Systems are providing centrally  data hk managed access control and accountability to Multi Function Printer (MFP), Copier, Fax and Scan devices. Prints are kept safe in a print queue until a user gets authenticated at the copier or printer or MFP.

Moreover, when employing an output management system that prevents the malicious act of spying corporate sensitive information, the benefits include many more cost saving and workflow enhancing aspects. For example an often innocent act of destroying someone else’s work found in the output tray leading to needless re-prints can be totally avoided that would otherwise result in waste of toner, paper and most expensively time of the employee having to re-print the job.

Often overlooked are the security aspects of Scan-to-Fax and Scan-to-Email which are both integral features of modern MFP devices and a severe security risk. If no output management system is employed a printed document can easily be picked up and emailed or faxed to an outside party. State-of-the-art output management systems will control access to Copy, Fax, Email and Scan as well as keep a log for forensic analysis at a later stage.

Arguably, an output management system is good practise for a corporation to deal with SOX compliance issues, saving resources and should be part of the corporate sustainability as well as its revenue assurance program.

 

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