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GCN : September 2015
how to SECURE PRINTING Multifunction printers are as vulnerable as computers, so agencies must incorporate them into information security plans 10 steps to secure your print processes The Federal Trade Commission’s recent report, “Copier Data Security: A Guide for Business- es,” makes a succinct yet powerful state- ment that is sure to get the attention of any organization: “Digital copiers are computers,” and organizations should incorporate those devices into their in- formation security plans. Digital copiers, also known as mul- tifunction printers (MFPs), can print, scan, copy and fax. They have hard drives, embedded firmware and the abil- ity to communicate with other systems on the network. They are susceptible to the same security vulnerabilities that a computer is, and without the proper se- curity measures, MFPs pose a significant risk of sensitive information exposure. Networked MFPs are now common in the workplace, and employees use them daily to print, scan and fax documents over the network. In many instances, those documents contain sensitive in- formation. To prevent damaging data breaches, government organizations must control and protect both the physi- cal and electronic access points on their MFPs. Here are 10 specific steps that agen- cies must consider to secure MFPs, based on common scenarios that exist in most environments. BY CHRIS STRAMMIELLO 1Require user authentication There is no MFP more unsecure than one that allows anonymous use. Such devices are susceptible to various forms of abuse and can make tracing the source of a data breach or leak virtually impossible. Authentication enables the auditing, reporting and tracking of user activity and various other security features. 2 Restrict access based on user authorization Just because a user has authenticated into the system, that doesn’t mean he should have access to every function. At the MFPs, users should only have access to the network resources they normally do. 3 Centrally audit all network activity Security standards require most organizations to implement procedures to regularly review records of information system activity, such as audit logs, access reports and security incident tracking reports. Centrally building an audit trail of all copy, print, scan, email and fax activity at every networked MFP will bring use of those devices into compliance. 4 Encrypt data to and from MFPs All data transmitted to and from an MFP should be encrypted. Government agencies must use encryption technology that meets specific security guidelines defined by Federal Information Processing Standard Publication 140-2 . 5 Implement pull printing To avoid exposing sensitive documents, secure printing requires that users authenticate at the device before documents are released. The device must print only those documents that are associated with the authenticated user, and the print job must not be stored on the device prior to printing. GCN SEPTEMBER 2015 • GCN.COM 31 0915gcn_031-032.indd 31 8/31/15 2:30 PM