Cyber security has become a top priority for IT professionals in companies large and small. In a survey of 112 CIOs conducted last year by Piper Jaffray, 88% of the respondents said network security was their biggest concern while 78% cited endpoint security as most important.
The explosive growth in BYOD, however, has made ensuring network and endpoint security more challenging. As more and more employees use their smartphones and tablets to perform daily work functions, they need secure access to critical business applications and the ability to print documents from anywhere. But with so many of them working remotely and often in public places, the risk of security breaches increases exponentially.
While organizations are devoting money and resources to secure their data centers and internal networks, they often fail to address vulnerabilities in their printing and imaging resources. That’s because they simply don’t think of printers and multifunction devices as being susceptible to cybercrime.
Here are some initial steps that will help make their mobile printing more secure.
1. Choose products with built-in security technology.
Third-party printing manufacturers like HP now offer innovative technology you can recommend to your customers to make their mobile printing more secure.
HP wireless direct, for example, provides a high-speed secure connection from a mobile device to a printer, offering wireless access to printing devices without compromising network infrastructure security. It functions essentially as an independent stand-alone network, completely separate from the enterprise LAN and back-end infrastructure, and provides access only to printing resources. Data is never transferred between the networks, even if the printer is also connected to the enterprise network. Access to the printing device is managed through a configurable passphrase that appears before connecting, and documents are encrypted before they’re sent to the printer.
Another solution, HP touch-to-print, is a near-field communication (NFC) technology that creates an HP wireless connection when users touch their NFC-enabled mobile devices to a printer’s NFC antenna. Users simply open up a document, touch the printer with their device and print. This eliminates the need to search among SSIDs (service-set identifiers) to connect to the nearest available printer.
Both HP wireless direct and HP touch-to-print offer a peer-to-peer connection that’s completely separate from the LAN, enabling only print functions and keeping enterprise data inaccessible and secure.
Your customers’ choice of printer technology is also integral to the security of their IT infrastructure. They should strongly consider printers with advanced security features built in.
The HP PageWide printer line, for example, offers high-quality printing, blazing speed and maintenance-free performance, as well as advanced security technology that enables the printers to self-correct and reboot in the event of a security breach.
HP Sure Start technology, built into HP PageWide printers, starts working behind the scenes when the printers power on, validating the integrity of the BIOS (basic input/output system) code at every boot cycle. If a compromised version of the code is discovered, the printer restarts using a safe copy of the code.
After a reboot occurs, HP JetAdvantage Security Manager assesses and remediates the printer’s security settings if necessary—eliminating the need for IT personnel to get involved in the troubleshooting. The Quick Assess tool even offers a free basic risk assessment report for a glimpse into an organization’s print security vulnerabilities.
2. Deploy pull printing solutions.
Customers looking to implement mobile printing across a fleet of printers should take advantage of server-based solutions like HP Access Control that enable secure pull printing. Access Control allows companies to leverage existing email infrastructure to let mobile users email a print job to a print queue and then pull it from any solution-enabled printing or multifunction device—with all the networked print devices protected with authentication.
3. Help customers develop a cohesive printing security strategy.
Ad hoc measures are just not enough in today’s IT environment. Ideally companies need to develop a comprehensive printing security strategy and a detailed plan to execute it.
HP Printing Security Advisor Services offers resources to help them develop and implement policies and procedures to safeguard their printing resources, including:
- Security workshops to educate key stakeholders on potential threats—and help them formulate goals for a printing security strategy
- Risk assessments of their IT environments including printing practices and vulnerabilities
- Solution recommendations as to what technology is best to help achieve specific printing security goals
As their trusted IT advisor and business partner, your customers will also look to you for guidance on the steps they need to take to make their printing environment more secure. Fortunately, with manufacturers like HP making printing security a priority right now, your customers have a wealth of viable options to choose from.