By Leslie Hough Falk, Imaging and Printing Group, Enterprise Campaign Manager
If yours is like most companies, you’ve probably taken precautions to lock down your network and PC fleet security. But, it’s equally likely that you may have left one vulnerable spot open—your imaging and printing environment.
Office printers are historically security soft spots. Unattended output trays holding sensitive documents can be susceptible to prying eyes and sticky fingers. And now, with data electronically traveling to and from—and residing inside—printers and multifunction printers (MFPs) with hard drives, the risk of hacking only ratchets up the danger level.
If this is news to you, you are not alone. Many organizations fail to extend their security policies and procedures to include imaging and printing. A study by Quocirca found that networked printers and MFPs are often more vulnerable to security threats than networked PCs due to hard disks, memory, and embedded software that may be left unprotected.
An R&D team within my company launched a project to take on the imaging and printing security issue with full force. This team focused their energy, passion, experience and brainpower on one important mission: Develop a sophisticated yet practical solution to help companies like yours make their imaging and printing environment more secure.
What was the solution they came up with? The HP Imaging and Printing Security Center (HP IPSC). HP IPSC is the FIRST policy-based print security management tool1. HP IPSC can help free up your valuable time and maintain compliance to your corporate security policies. It’s a scalable and robust solution. Like all great innovations HP IPSC helps solve a customer need in a new and different way.
I spoke with Matt Deter, HP Solution Architect, about the breakthrough solution to understand more about where the idea came from. Key components from Matt’s perspective were understanding customer needs and the “AHA” that network printers have become like computer and servers. Matt and his team took concepts that were mature in the traditional computing space and applied them to printers.
HP IPSC uses a policy-based approach. Policy-based management works by setting up a policy which describes the desired state and then applies that policy to devices on the network. Once the policy is in place, the system essentially operates itself.
To help ensure that every device within an environment conforms to the defined policy, the team also developed a firmware agent that is built into newer generation HP devices2. These device-embedded agents communicate with the HP IPSC server from the moment the new device is added to the network. They enable the solution to automatically deploy the security policy established by the administrator.
The R&D team tested HP IPSC with a Fortune 500 enterprise print administrator. A year ago the company worked on a security policy implementation across all their HP LaserJet printers and multifunction devices. It took three administrators one week to secure the printing devices. According to the print administrator, “Today, that same task can be accomplished by a single administrator using HP IPSC. It just takes a few clicks for the administrator to launch the assessment task on several thousand devices and HP IPSC does the rest.”
What security and compliance issues are you facing? Are you interested in talking to an HP expert about a security assessment or obtaining a free HP IPSC 60-day trial? You can arrange a meeting now. Tweet Me @LeslieAtHP to share your experiences and ideas.
1-Based on HP assessment of printer manufacturer security offerings in the market as of November 1, 2011.
2-Available on select product models and firmware versions. See product documentation or visit www.hp.com/go/ipsc for details.