Print Security – 1

Despite the move to digital communications, many businesses still rely on printing to support key business processes. MFPs are prevalent across businesses of all sizes and as such they are a critical network endpoint that must also be secured. Even behind a firewall, an MFP can be a front door to the network leading to the potential for compromising corporate or customer data.

With this in mind it seems an area where as much information as possible is made available, keeping it simple but useful for users at all levels. At ITQ we have been involved in print security since the advent of networked MFPs and would like to pass the knowledge gained on to you today through our series of blogs.

To start with how can your businesses minimise the risks? Fortunately, there are simple and effective approaches to protecting the print infrastructure. These methods not only enhance document security, but also promote sustainable printing practices – such as reducing paper wastage and printing costs. But for enterprises with a large and diverse printer/MFP fleet security may be of prime importance.

First off conduct a security assessment

For such enterprises, it is advisable to use a third-party provider to assess device, fleet and enterprise document security. This can evaluate all points of vulnerability across a mixed fleet and provide a tailored security plan, for devices, user access and end of life/disposal. Managed print service (MPS) providers commonly offer this as part of their assessment services.

Not all security assessments are equal

After cost, security is the second top driver for adoption of a MPS, indicated by 81% of respondents in a recent Quocirca survey. Consequently, many are taking up security assessments as part of their MPS process. Amongst organisations using MPS, the majority have started or completed a security assessment of their print infrastructure. This is more prevalent in the professional services sector where over half (55%) of organisations reported that they completed a security assessment compared to just 20% of public sector respondents

 MFP Security Vulnerabilities

The potential risks include:

  • Unclaimed output. Confidential or sensitive information can be collected inadvertently or intentionally by an unauthorised recipient.
  • Latent images on hard disk. All documents whether they are printed, copied, scanned, faxed or stored are processed within the hard disk drive. This can present a risk not only if the device is hacked, but also at the end of life when potential hard disk data could be recovered.
  • Unauthorised access to MFP functions. If MFP settings and controls are not secure, it is possible to alter and reroute print jobs, open saved copies of documents, or reset the printer to its factory defaults. Potential hackers could also attack print devices to either intercept or download copies of scanned-in documents, emails and user access credentials.
  • Network security risk. Jobs sent to the MFP for printing typically sit unprotected on the server queue. At this stage, the printing queue can be paused and files copied and the queue restarted. In the worst case, a user from the outside can obtain confidential information, or place malware on the device. Open network ports also present a security risk enabling the MFP to be hacked remotely via an internet connection. Printers can therefore be prime targets of denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. Further, if data transmitted to a printer is unencrypted, hackers are potentially able to access this data.

 The Quocirca research reveals that enterprises place a low priority on print security despite over 60% admitting that they have experienced a print-related data breach. Any data breach can be damaging for any company, leaving it open to fines and causing damage to its reputation and undermining customer confidence. In the UK alone estimates suggests that in 2013 the average organisational cost to a business suffering a data breach was £2.04m.

As the boundaries between personal and professional use of technology become increasingly blurred, the need for effective data security has never been greater. While many businesses look to safeguard their IT data hardware from external and internal threats, few pay the same strategic attention to protecting the print environment. Yet it remains a critical element of the IT infrastructure. Over 75% of enterprises indicating that print is critical or very important to their business activities.

The print landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade. Local single function printers have given way to the new breed of networked multifunction peripherals (MFPs). With print, fax, copy and advanced scanning capabilities, these devices have evolved to become sophisticated document capture and processing hubs with multiple user access points and multiple hacker options.

While they have undoubtedly brought convenience and enhanced user productivity to the workplace, they also pose security risks. They have built in network connectivity, along with hard disk and memory storage, MFPs are susceptible to many of the same security vulnerabilities as any other networked device.

Then a move to a centralised MFP environment means more users are sharing devices.  Without controls, documents can be collected by unauthorised users – either accidentally or maliciously. Similarly, confidential or sensitive documents can be routed in seconds to unauthorised recipients, through scan to email, scan to file and scan to cloud storage functionality. Further controls are required as employees print more and more direct from mobile devices.

Yet many enterprises are not taking heed. Quocirca’s study revealed that just 22% place a high priority on securing their print infrastructure. While financial and professional services sector consider print security a much higher priority, counterparts in the retail, manufacturing and the public sectors lag way behind. Such complacency is misplaced. Overall 63% admitted they have experienced a print-related data breach. And an astounding 90% of public sector respondents admit to one or more paper-based data breaches.

Print environments are often a complex and diverse mix of products and technologies, further complicating the task of understanding what is being printed, scanned and copied where and by whom. Enterprises should use centralised print management tools to monitor and track all MFP related usage. This can either be handled in-house or through an MPS provider.

With MFPs increasingly becoming a component of document distribution, storage and management, organisations need to manage MFP security in the same way as the rest of the IT infrastructure. By using the appropriate level of security for their business needs, an organisation can ensure that it’s most valuable asset–corporate data–is protected.

For more information or assistance in developing your print security contact ITQ 01635 874848 or look up http://www.imagethroughquality.com/audit-and-consultancy.html


 

BIG POWER NOW COMES IN A SMALLER SIZE

do more with A4
If you have been researching information about new copiers, printers or MFPs you will know there are two main options; A3 or A4. These terms refer to the paper sizes the machine is designed to handle and also generally the larger machines are also recommended for higher volumes and have offered a wider range of options.

The new IT406ci range from ITQ are the first MFPs to combine the high volume capacities and advanced paper handling options of larger devices with the easy installation, smaller footprint and flexibility of a compact MFP

When looking into new printers or MFPs, which one is right for your office depends mainly on the paper sizes you will be printing, copying and scanning. However there are a few other things to be aware of before making a decision.

Paper Sizes A3 VS A4

Many offices use only A4 sized paper. However some offices use the larger A3 size for engineering documents, making booklets, menus, and design layouts. A3 size paper is the same size as two A4 sized pages put together. This makes booklet making easy by simply folding the paper in half.

Also because of the large size it is useful for enlarging engineering diagrams to a readable size. A3 is also great for printing large spreadsheets on. It’s much easier to read a spreadsheet printed on A3 sized paper than reducing the font to fit on A4 sized paper.

The Size Difference Between A3 and A4 machines

Since an A4 machine is designed to work with smaller paper sizes it has smaller internal components. This allows for a more compact design which obviously results in a machine that takes up less space than the larger A3 machine.

On the other hand, an A3 machine is designed to work with the larger sized paper and generally in the past has had larger more durable internal components.

Available Options on A3 and A4 machines

In the past the smaller and lighter A4 machines generally had only light duty options available. For example, if the machine has a stapler option it may be limited to stapling only 20 pages at a time and probably no large capacity tray, folder, 4-hole punch, or finisher available.

This meant that if you required equipment with any of these options then you would likely have needed a full size A3 machine to handle these tasks, even if you only require A4 paper size.

Cost difference between A3 and A4 machines

In the past larger more robustly designed A3 machines will have cost more than the A4 machines not only because of their larger frames but also higher yielding internal components cost more.

Before the IT406ci range the monthly printing/copying volume was the key to determining which machine is most cost effective for your office. Up to 1000-4000 pages a month an A4 machine will usually be the most cost effective. Above that monthly volume an A3 machine was the only option because of its durability. Now the new IT406ci range has the durability and options available for higher volumes when only A4 is required.

 ITQ High Volume A4 Range

Three new colour multifunctional copier/printers have been launched; the IT306ci (32ppm), IT356ci (35ppm) and TASKalfa 406ci (42ppm).

These machines provide the speed, durability and options for a new segment of the copier/printer market, they are all A4 paper size but offer the same features as ITQ’s A3 machines

“Customers want the high speed, high paper capacity and all the options of full size office MFPS but without the cost of A3 which they rarely if ever use.” says Graham Varndell MD at ITQ.

Contact ITQ