Print Security – Playing Defense in a Team Sport

06-May-2019 1:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

by Mark Schneider, National Sales Manager, Y Soft

In February 2019, Quocirca published their 2019 Print Security Research revealing that 59% of businesses have experienced a print-related data loss in the past year. Quocirca also reported that it could cost, on average $413,000 per annum to deal with such a loss. So, it is unsurprising that 66% of respondents ranked print services as their top security risk, second only to cloud-based services.

Print security can be challenging. Think of it as the attacking zone on an ice hockey rink. The goalie and defensemen are all working together to defend against the opposing team scoring a goal. It requires teamwork between the defensemen (you, the device provider, and the print management provider) and the goalie (your customer).

Print Environment - Potential threats & prevention

When looking at the role each of the team members play, we need to first consider what they are defending against. Here are four key areas of an organization’s print environment that pose a security risk and how “the team” can defend against them:

1. MFD Hard Drive

Device provider - The MFD service provider should have processes in place for securing the MFD hard drive during use, during servicing and in the event of decommissioning which includes destroying any data on the hard drive.

Print management provider - Should not permanently store print, scan, fax or copy data on the MFD’s hard drive.

Customer - Agree on policies with the device provider for the protection of any MFD hard drive and the associated data during use, servicing and when decommissioning the device.

2. Device Access

Device provider - As well as securing physical access to the MFD and its working parts, you should advise your customer on compatible print management providers that support authentication and control the release of jobs from the MFD.

Print management provider - The print management provider should offer a variety of authentication methods including employees using their ID cards, PIN codes, login passwords or a combination of methods. For some customers fingerprint authentication may offer an additional level of security.

Customer – Through their print management software, your customer’s IT administrator may set up rules and policies to further control over who, when and which devices can be accessed. The customer may also have policies about sharing digital documents.

3. Network Access

Device provider - Ensure you adhere to the strictest security standards for all system components and points of vulnerability by continually testing and applying the required software patches to ensure the MFD and the associated data is protected. You should also be benchmarking yourselves against industry leaders in printer security protection.

Print management provider - With data passing between devices, servers, systems, and the MFD, multiple data transfers are taking place over multiple communications pathways, and the preferred print management provider should be securing data in all states (in use, at rest and in transit). They should also be ensuring that up-to-date cryptographic protocols are correctly deployed.

Customer - Providing a firewall and encryption are table stakes.  Working with the device provider and print management provider is key to ensure that security is an ongoing conversation that should happen regularly to ensure that new protocols are discussed and implemented.

4. Secure Printing

Device provider - Enabling users to securely print from any convenient MFD or networked printer within the print infrastructure is made possible with pull-printing. It is essential that the device is compatible with a print management solution that enables pull-printing.

Print management provider – The pull-printing solution should be intuitive to users and provide the customer with options: card reader, username/password, PIN or any combination. And for IT ease, it should work with the corporate director and be easy to administrate.

Customer – Because most internal data leaks are accidental, educating employees on the importance of secure printing and data privacy is important.

The importance of reporting and tracking

On-ice data analytics is playing an increasingly important role in the performance of an ice hockey team. This is also true for an organization’s print environment. Tracking and regular reporting enable your customers to identify new policies to govern and secure their print environment. To ensure security is maintained, it is important that your customer has visibility of usage data. This means ensuring the device is compatible with leading print management solutions that provide valuable, fact-based reporting.

Print Security – a team sport with a year-round season

The changing technical landscape means that protecting data and preventing security breaches is a necessity. It is not a box ticking exercise, simply by taking your position on the rink and covering the ice. It is about working together as a team to predict attacks and defend your goal. It is an ongoing process and only by working as a team can you ensure your print environment remains secure.

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