Mobile Printing Without the Security Risks

Hyder Mohammed, senior solution architect and channel manager – Australia and New Zealand for Y Soft

While the paperless office remains a dream, mobile working has definitely become a reality. Most businesses either provide employees with mobile devices or let them bring their own phones and tablets to access the corporate network for functions as basic as email or as advanced as accessing mission-critical systems.

This increased reliance on mobile devices has introduced efficiencies and flexibility for businesses and workers alike. However, it comes with security risks that need to be identified and mitigated.

A recent survey by Y Soft found that 35 percent of New Zealand workers are using their mobile device at work for printing. Yet only half of those workers have security protection or even anti-virus software installed on these devices. This creates a significant security risk for New Zealand businesses, which should implement appropriate security management tools.

Malicious hackers can easily use these unsecured devices to gain access to the corporate network. Once inside the network, these cyber criminals can view sensitive information, steal customer details, sabotage operations, and generally create havoc inside the organisation’s systems.

When users are printing confidential or sensitive documents, these hackers can see the documents online, potentially putting the organisation’s compliance at risk.

This doesn’t mean businesses should ban mobile devices or mobile printing. On the contrary: businesses should encourage mobile printing because there are significant benefits to be gained, such as efficiency, time savings, and convenience.

In fact, an IDC report highlighted the value of mobile printing for the modern workforce, with 75 percent of global respondents noting the business value of smartphone or tablet printing as similar to printing from a PC. A further 15 per cent suggested the business value was greater*.

So, with the likelihood of mobile printing set to increase, New Zealand businesses need to consider a security crackdown to manage the risks so they can comfortably leverage the benefits of the mobile workforce. Businesses that have successfully managed this risk, and can let their employees print from mobile devices, are reaping cost and productivity benefits associated with having a truly mobile workforce that can print from anywhere.

To achieve this, New Zealand businesses should complement their existing security solutions with mobile print solutions that include security measures, support for all operating systems including iOS and Android, and guest printing options.

One valuable measure to protect sensitive information is to require users to authenticate themselves before they can physically print anything out. This prevents documents from sitting in the tray, where they could be picked up by anyone, including people not authorised to see that information. Instead, the printout only appears once the user has confirmed their identity by matching it to the corporate directory. Authentication can happen through a mobile device or at the multifunction device itself and can use a variety of options from ID cards to PINs.

Businesses should look for a mobile print solution that gives peace of mind so employees can safely print when and where it makes sense for them, using their mobile devices. The solution should support BYOD initiatives and not require complicated IT support. For many businesses, a mobile print solution needs to support guest printing services.

Businesses can also mark their multifunction devices with beacons, which lets employees discover and use them with mobile devices. This makes it easy and fast for mobile users to identify their closest printer, then use it safely and securely, without introducing risk into the organisation.

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