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Crucial facts about secure mobile printing

February 1, 2018

With mobile printing on the rise in our increasingly technological society, here are some must-have insights on how to stay secure.

A new article by JR Raphael, contributing editor of CSO, offers readers 4 crucial facts about secure mobile printing, explaining that although “there’s plenty of room for security error”, by taking the “proper precautions” you can ensure mobile printing is “safe, simple and effective” for your business.

Fact One: Mobile printing is relevant for 21st century businesses

While increased digitisation may make paper and printing seem obsolete, in fact there is still a great demand for both.

“People have been saying for 20 years that paper is going to go away, but realistically, we’re far from that happening,” explained Allison Correia, a senior research analyst at IDC.

Instead, what is changing is the device used to initiate the printing, as “smartphones and tablets will finally catch up to desktops in their native printing prowess.” IDC itself has predicted that, by 2020, “printing from a smartphone or tablet won’t be much different” than printing from a PC.

“Mobile printing is still very much a thing, and it’s increasing,” Correia added.

Fact Two: Printer security is often overlooked

According to a recent report by Quocirca, “61 percent of large enterprises admitted having at least one data breach stemming from insecure printing” in 2017, while a 2015 Ponemon study revealed that “only 44 percent of the IT professionals surveyed […] said their companies included printers as part of their corporate security policies.”

“The lack of oversight within the print and document environment leaves businesses vulnerable to data- and device-level security breaches through compromised firmware, unsecured networks and document repositories, and information/data leakage,” said IDC.

Fact Three: Mobile printing security standards are improving

While many mobile devices have “long lacked a simple and built-in system for secure phone-to-printer communication”, the chairman of the MOPRIA Alliance Steering Committee, Brent Richtsmeier “has been working to correct that.”

He has sought to introduce a secure universal standard to Android-based printing, and these efforts have “paid off” with last year’s launch of Android 8.0 Oreo, which integrates Mopria’s printing technology into Android’s open source code. As a result, “anyone with a phone running Android 8.0 or higher can find and securely connect to a compatible printer – a designation held by about 97 percent of all printers sold, according to Mopria’s estimates – without having to download third-party software or wade through a labyrinth of complex menus.”

“Our first step is just making sure phones can connect,” Richtsmeier said. “As soon as you have that happening, making sure things are secure is key.”

Fact Four: A safe environment doesn’t have to be complicated

According to Raphael, “the toughest part about making mobile printing secure is simply thinking about it”, as well as introducing it into the overall policies of your business.

There are four crucial steps which must be taken to ensure mobile printing works securely in your business:

  • Configure all printers to support encryption.
  • Ideally, configure printers to support authentication as well.
  • Always protect wireless printer ports.
  • Contain those ports in the same part of your network as other vulnerable devices that demand constant monitoring.

“Probably the most vulnerable piece of any system, print or otherwise, is a mobile device,” Richtsmeier says. “They’re carried everywhere, go everywhere, and connect to all kinds of networks.”

Because of this, you also need to safeguard your mobile devices, for example by implementing the following measures:

  • Full-device encryption
  • Password enforcement
  • Network control
  • Remote wipe capabilities
  • Allowing only devices that are reasonably up to date with their OS versions and security patches on your network

“Printing has always been overlooked as something that needs to be secured,” said IDC’s Correia. “Everyone’s starting to realise that that’s not enough.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories : Around the Industry

Tags : Business Mobile Printing Security

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