Today's multifunction printers are on-ramp to the Internet. That means Joe's printer needs a variety of extra security measures.
July 21, 2008 — CSO — Once he's passed into the office itself (using his prox card), Joe will need to make copies of his progress report for an upcoming meeting. He'll use his multifunction, networked printer with image-overwrite capabilities and secure print features that won't print out the document until he is standing at the printer.
Today's multifunction printers are becoming an on-ramp to and an off-ramp from the Internet. Now MFPs are about as powerful from a computing and interface standpoint as a PC. They have the ability to capture, digitize, route, file and store information that can be printed or retrieved and reviewed from the other end. Manufacturers Canon, HP, Kyocera, Sharp and Xerox (to name just a few) offer multifunction printers with features to address the attendant security concerns.
The days of the monstrous centralized printer in the glass-enclosed room are all but gone. Workers want proximity and speed with their printing devices. The computing power of MFPs also raises security concerns. "Paper is probably one of the least-secure things in the office today. It's out in the open and not under password protection. Unsecure printers and MFPs can contribute to [security breaches], too," says Robin Wessel, director of product marketing for desktop for Xerox's Office Group. Scanned documents or faxed data can remain in the system's stored memory. Networked MFPs or those connected to the Internet run some risk of hacker attacks.
Image-overwrite capabilities electronically shred information stored on the hard disk of devices as part of routine job processing. Xerox uses Department of Defense-level algorithms to completely erase scanned images from the device's memory. It also offers a Secure Print feature that assigns a PIN to print projects, so sensitive documents won't sit at the printer location and lie vulnerable to prying eyes. Instead, the job waits in a queue until the employee reaches the printer location and enters the PIN. Xerox also offers encryption as a standard feature on its larger MFPs to protect data while it's being used. A baseline product with those built-in features, such as Xerox's Phaser 3635MFP, starts at $2,199.
Xerox has achieved Common Criteria Certification for a number of its multifunction devices. Common Criteria is an internationally recognized standard for product security claims.