That said, although billions of dollars are spent each year on network security related to PCs, businesses often ignore security related to their MFPs. But that is starting to change, as we see an evolution in how organizations are buying and managing printers/MFDs. Once relegated to the purchasing department, more and more IT departments are now becoming involved with MFDs. And unlike with purchasing departments, security is often a top priority with IT.
As your customer base for printers transitions from purchasing to IT, secure printing solutions should definitely be part of your product lineup. Most MFD (and several third-party) vendors offer some form of secure printing that can typically be bundled in with a lease or MPS (managed print services) contract. Following are some basic features that your customers may be asking for:
- Encryption: This protects access to your data by unauthorized users. Good MFP encryption will protect data both when the data are being stored in the device and when the data are in transit, such as when a scan is being sent to another location.
- Ability to wipe a device: As MFDs have become smarter, they have also increased their memory power. An MFD’s hard drive will typically contain copies of documents that have been printed, copied, or scanned. Secure printing solutions should ensure that these copies are erased regularly, as well as when a device is retired.
- Secure log-ins: This feature can control not only who can utilize a device, but also what they can do. For example, to save money, the accounting department may only have permission to print in black-and-white, while marketing may require color printing. Secure log-ins can be implemented through passwords, PINs, or even cards.
- Auditing: This goes hand in hand with secure log-ins, as it enables tracking of exactly who is doing what with printers/MFDs. They may alert a manager, for example, if an unusual amount of scans are being done by a particular user, which may indicate a security breach.
- Pull print: One of the most widespread security breaches related to printers/MFPs is simply users leaving documents in the output tray and them being picked up by people who should not be seeing those documents. These might be financial, healthcare, or government-related documents. One way to prevent this is by making users log in at the device before it will print their jobs. This way, a user cannot inadvertently forget about printed documents.
These are some basic secure printing features. As with any solution, of course, secure printing should be tailored to the specific needs of your customer. The first thing you need to do is add a general secure print offering to your product list and then start building and specializing from there. The days of analog and non-networked copiers and printers are over. Your customers are realizing this, and you need to help them manage their current devices for what they really are—integral pieces of their networks with all the features and security concerns that come along with that.