What is the State of Your Organization’s Print Infrastructure Security?

document management system state of print infrastructure security hp mfpYour organization invests a great deal of time, effort and resources into the development of intellectual assets, so it’s important to protect your organization’s intellectual property from being compromised or stolen. Open printer ports, printer web servers and FTP protocols are becoming a popular entry point for hackers, and unfortunately Print Infrastructure Security is an area that can often be overlooked, thus exposing organizations to potential security breaches. In order to determine whether or not this is the case, you should start by conducting a Print Infrastructure Security Assessment to pinpoint potential vulnerabilities. We then recommend that you implement software and business processes that will lock down the physical and digital print environment, automate print security and enable reporting and auditing capabilities.

Assess Your Network Printer Security

A comprehensive Network Printer Security Assessment should analyze the device set-up and configurations of all of the print devices on the network, as well as how they are utilized for all of their functions. The following is a list of items to examine during your security assessment:

Unauthorized Access

Unauthorized access is the use of a computer or network without permission. A cracker, or hacker, is someone who tries to access a computer or network illegally. Some hackers break into a computer or network for the challenge. However, others do this to utilize or steal intellectual property and resources, or corrupt data. Assess the access points – physical and digital – and protocols on your printer network and on all of your networked print devices, and identify which access points and protocols can be used as inroads for potential security threats.

Unclaimed Print Jobs

Determine what happens to unclaimed physical print jobs. When confidential documents get printed and left on work group print devices, what happens to these documents?

Device Settings and Ports

Assess networked print device ports and protocols and identify which ones aren’t being used.

Scan Process

Determine which users are scanning documents and where these documents are being sent once they have been scanned on devices within the corporate network.

Vulnerabilities List

Document all of the security vulnerabilities you discovered and develop a security plan to address each vulnerability.

The following HP video is an excellent depiction of some potential print security breach scenarios:

Click here to see if you qualify for a free Print Infrastructure Security Assessment.

How to Improve the Security of Your Network Printer Environment

Device Security Policy

If your Device Security Policy is not comprehensive enough or you don’t have one that is formally documented, your organization may be vulnerable to security threats without even realizing it, so it’s imperative to have a formally documented Device Security Policy and ensure that it gets properly implemented. Make sure that your policy specifies and limits access to information AND network assets. This policy is the foundation for creating a secure network printing environment.

Document Management

Document management, often referred to as a Document Management System (DMS), is the use of a computer system and software to store, manage and track electronic documents and electronic images of paper-based information captured through the use of a document scanner, multi-function device or networked copier.

Let’s take a look at traditional paper-based filing. Rows of large document folders are put into these filing cabinets in the hopes of being stored correctly. Paper doesn’t keep a record of who has viewed it, copied it or scanned it, and it can be destroyed or damaged accidentally by things like a water pipe bursting, fire or the accidental spillage of coffee.

Think of a Document Management System as a large electronic filing cabinet with folders that are stored in an unlimited number of drawers (based on hard drive space of course). Digital content is secured by user access rights. When documents are checked out, changed audit logs can track who has looked at the document, changed the document with version references and can even prevent unauthorized users from viewing and/or printing the document. The Document Management System’s IT backup processes ensure that documents don’t get damaged or destroyed accidentally, unlike those stored in paper-based filing systems.

Print Workflows and Process Automation

For many organizations it’s difficult to monitor and manage each and every user’s print jobs. Many times print jobs are forgotten or sent to the wrong printer and documents end up sitting on the printer, never to be retrieved by the user. This is especially troublesome when confidential documents are left for everyone (even unauthorized users) to see.

To prevent this from happening you should establish print workflows and automate print processes. A print workflow is the definition, execution and automation of business processes where tasks, information or documents are passed from one participant to another according to a set of procedural rules.

FollowMe Printing allows users to print to a shared print queue, and roam and release their print job from any enabled output device. This ensures that printing remains confidential to a specific user and reduces printed waste from documents left uncollected at the printer. If a printer is out of service, users can release their print jobs from the next available printer, without disrupting productivity.

Authenticating at multi-function output devices enables custom scan capture workflows to be presented at the panel. This process ensures secure access to retrieve printed content while using the devices as on-ramps to key line of business applications storing captured content.

Tracking and reporting tools create transparency for all print costs, helping finance managers allocate or recover costs from individual departments or clients. Organizations can also use tracking data to help them comply with industry regulations such as Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX).

Automated Print Device Security Software

Strengthen information security and significantly reduce administrative overhead by utilizing automated print device security software that automatically deploys and updates print device identity certificates. HP Security Manager performs these automatic deployment and updates, and offers a simple, intuitive process for securing your print fleet. It efficiently deploys and monitors devices by applying a single security policy across the fleet, and secures new HP devices as soon as they are added to your network with HP Instant-on Security. Actively maintain and verify compliance with your defined security policies using HP Security Manager’s automated monitoring and risk-based reporting.

If you would like additional information on how to improve the state of your organization’s print infrastructure security, please get in touch with one of our MPS Experts or request a free Print Infrastructure Security Assessment.

Is the Paperless Office Merely a Myth?

paperless officeThe Paperless Office concept was first introduced by IBM in 1975 as part of a vision of the future where computers would have a dramatic impact on the way people worked. Forty years later, paper documents still proliferate the offices of all types of businesses around the world. So, is the Paperless Office just a marketing slogan or is it really attainable?

After almost thirty years in the office printing business, I’ve seen great progress being made towards the Paperless Office, but don’t foresee us becoming absolutely paperless any time soon. What I do see however, is an accelerated shift towards the Less-Paper Office. There are multiple factors that impact people’s efforts to go paperless, resulting in a gradual transition versus the sudden elimination of paper.

Why go Paperless?

Here are the three primary motivators for going paperless:

Cost Savings

Paper documents cost money. Not just the actual cost of printing, but the processing, filing, finding, refiling and ultimate destruction (shredding) at the end of their useful life. Some industry experts estimate that 1-3% of a company’s annual revenue is spent on managing documents throughout their lifecycle. That’s a lot of money.

Environmental

Business owners, and their employees and clients are all keenly aware of the environmental impacts of paper production and printing, from trees, water usage, electricity and ink/toner to all the space required for storage. There are big motivators for implementing green initiatives and being seen as a good corporate citizen playing their role in saving the planet.

Efficiency

This highly competitive global marketplace is moving faster and faster every day. All businesses are looking for ways to improve efficiencies, respond faster, be more competitive and stay relevant.

So why are we printing more?

There are a few reasons we’re printing more than ever:

Explosion of Data

The amount of information available on the internet grows exponentially on a daily basis. More data naturally leads to more printing.

Email

This instantaneous business communication is so easy, people create, send and receive documents at a far higher rate than ever before. Even if just a small fraction of this is printed, the result is still more paper-based documents scattered throughout your office.

Ease of Printing

Today’s lower printer costs (especially colour), wireless connections and ability to print from almost any device, mean it’s easier than ever to hit print, reach over and grab your printout.

It’s What We Do

Like most things, old habits die hard. Going paperless requires changing the way we do things, learning new processes and getting everyone on board. Despite all our good intentions, change is hard.

What’s Helping us go Paperless?

Just as access to information and technology advances have increased printing, they’ve also given us the ability to exchange information without paper.

Mobility

Using smartphones, tablets and notebooks to access the internet to email, search Google and access information anytime, anywhere allows us to easily go paperless. You can do more on your phone today than you could on your computer (if you had one) back in 1975.

Cloud Storage

Similar to mobility, the ease and relatively low cost of storing documents in the cloud, allows us to find, access and share them faster and cheaper than their paper-based cousins, which makes us all more efficient.

Security

The security features built into today’s smartphones, computers and cloud services, give us the confidence to file, find and share most documents electronically and securely, instead of using the old filing cabinet. However, for those documents that still need to be printed, implementing a secure-print-release solution not only improves security it can also reduce print by as much as 30%.

Managed Print Services (MPS)

As businesses look to migrate from hardcopy to digital content, having a plan developed by a consultant who specializes in MPS will greatly improve the likelihood of being able to successfully deploy a Paperless Office.

With all of these factors impacting how we access, exchange and save information, is the Paperless Office just a myth or can it really be achieved? For those determined few, the technology and tools exist today to make going paperless a reality. However, for most of us the steady transition to the Less-Paper Office is more realistic. Like most things in life, it’s all about finding the balance between multiple factors; cost, efficiency, the environment, workflow and technology advancements. There are lots of easy to implement, small initiatives that can get you started in the right direction, such as:

  • Automatic two-sided printing
  • Dual monitors
  • Digital signing software
  • Rules-based print tracking

The biggest impact of all will likely come from your coworkers. With Millennials now making up over 50% of the workforce and quickly moving into management positions, these are people who grew up in a digital world and going paperless isn’t just an initiative, it’s simply the way they work.

If you’re ready to start moving towards a Less-Paper environment or have any questions,  get in touch with us.