Enterprises running highly mobile environments are exposing confidential data to security risks if access to peripheral devices such as printers and faxes isn’t adequately regulated with the right print management tools.
Having these kinds of safeguards is particularly important in settings in which users access applications and data on multiple devices in large physical environments, such as hospitals and university campuses, and can’t access networked devices right away.
Hard copy as a threat
Users who leave sensitive documents on output trays by forgetting about the job, or who accidentally send it to the wrong device, create an old-fashioned security risk for enterprises that have largely been focused on protecting systems against hackers, malware and other more technical means of attack.
Enterprises that are reticent to invest in print management solutions based on the declining use of paper in the workplace should think again. A recent survey by Adobe found that 98 percent of companies still use paper for contracts despite an array of digital alternatives that are more efficient and secure.
Benefits of authentication
Among those companies are healthcare providers, where clinicians are printing medical records, prescriptions and lab orders. Part of the challenge stems from the existence of roaming devices in virtualized Wi-Fi-enabled environments and networks not knowing where a user is located relative to the nearest printer.
One answer to the secure-printing challenge is to route all jobs in the network to a holding server and release jobs only after a user authenticates his or her identity at a printer. Other authentication methods, include:
- Email addresses
The University of Regina in Canada requires users of computer labs to log in at their printer of choice, choose “print release” and select which file to print. This web print system also allows students to print from a personal device as long as it’s connected the campus network and automatically deducts the cost of each job from electronic accounts.
Requiring users to prove their identities through authentication in the name of security amounts to an extra step in the workday that has led to cost reductions and better environmental practices.
“It forces people to rethink printing, and that is reducing paper consumption,” said Ray Konecsni, the university’s director of customer support services. “The university president chose the printer-replacement project as the university’s primary example of its sustainability efforts.”Tags: Security,Technology,Virtualization