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A broader view on secure printing

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Effective printing security solutions can reduce waste, optimise use of
consumables, streamline marketing activities and offer other extended
benefits besides just security.

Print security is an activity that is often not paid enough attention by
businesses that overlook the necessity for this activity. Vendors are also
often to blame for providing printing solutions without the accompanying
software and technologies required to secure them. But securing a business'
print environment offers many benefits that extend beyond security. It is
possible to streamline marketing activities, save time, reduce environmental
impact and waste, optimise consumables and drive down costs all by
implementing effective security control solutions within the print
environment.
"Security and control go hand in hand," says Neil Rom, MD of Printacom –
sole local brand representative and importer of OKI Printing Solutions in
South Africa. "Securing a print environment means controlling users – who
can print to which device and what they are allowed to print. It is also
possible to specify quotas per department or per user to ensure that no
waste occurs and that users are less likely to print unnecessarily.
"It is even possible with more effective solutions to control who physically
removes printed materials from the device with pin code-based systems," he
continues. "This functionality allows users to send jobs through to the
printer and specify a pin code. The printer will then store the job on its
hard drive until the pin code is entered by the user at the printer,
ensuring that sensitive information does not lie around, for example."
Rom says that is unfortunate, however, that few vendors and competitors
implement these effective security systems with their printing products.
"OKI provides free software with all of its printers in the form of the
Print Supervision and Print Control applications," he says. "Using these
free tools it is possible to assign quotas to users or departments within an
organisation, and also to specify who may print in colour, for example.
Granular control is key to effective print security."
He says that users needs will always be unique and vary. And very often
users will not be able to determine their own needs.
"This is why effective monitoring is so important," continues Rom. "The
business must be able to monitor and log printing activity so that
adjustments can be made on an ongoing basis, driving optimisation and
allowing users to do what they need to without the ability to abuse
resources. We have seen that colour printers, for example, are always abused
when placed in an office environment. They get used to print out personal
pictures, or viral emails and bulk messages that have no business benefit.
But the moment the environment is being monitored and users are assigned a
set quota of printing this abuse soon stops."
But the benefits of securing the print environment in this fashion also
allow businesses to optimise marketing activities and drive green computing.
"For example, a business can use these tools to dispatch print jobs to
departments or even branches within the organisation," says Rom. "Retailers
could use this to send print jobs through to stores for marketing materials.
The jobs are then stored on the printers' hard drives until an authorised
individual executes the actual printing."
"And with reduced waste business can lower their environmental impact," he
adds.
Rom opines that it is human nature to make hard copies of documents and
photography and that users will always do this unless a measure of control
is enforced that stops it.
"This goes hand in hand with education," explains Rom. "For example –
teaching users to print multiple PowerPoint slides on a page instead of one
slide per page and explaining to them that unnecessary printing is expensive
to the business; something users don't always realise."
Effective printing solutions will support business strategy with the tools
required, such as hard drives for printers that are automatically cleared
once jobs are done to bolster security, and that provide the tools needed
for managers to control their environments.
With the right tools in place businesses can cut costs, reduce waste and
bring the printing of marketing materials in-house without having to worry
about unnecessary printing and with the ability to gently control users
without limiting them.