One study found that of 262 senior decision makers in small to medium enterprises, 13% have confidential business intellectual property on the printer. This sort of negligence happens for a myriad of reasons. Some employees may be so tired after a long day’s work that they forget the documents on the printer, some might not give it a second thought because they’re not away of the vulnerabilities of poorly managed documents. Other might simply not care at all (note: don’t hire these people!). There’s a workaround though. Apart from rigorous memos and training on the management side, a lot of companies are now employing print control solutions to minimize security breaches and improve document management.
Typically, this sort of technology creates a virtual queue whenever a user submits a printing job. To print the documents, the user needs to visit the printer location then authenticate and release the jobs that they wish to print. By swiping a card, for instance, only those users with enough clearance or access may finish the job. Ultimately, this prevents confidential information from being left uncollected on printer output trays.
Concerning mode of authentication, we’ve seen companies employ all sorts of methods from cards, to PIN, to username and password, to good old keys. All of these can get lost, stolen or lent. Not very secure. The safest mode of authentication should be personal and non-interchangeable. This is where biometrics might come in.
The most common device for printers is a fingerprint scanner but other forms exist, including retina and facial scanners. Biometric data can’t be lost (imagine losing your fingers!) or stolen, and ensures that only the responsible person can print documents. It also enforces accountability.
Here are the steps your company or government office needs to take to enforce biometric data:
1. Notify your employees. This is important since you’ll be likely met with resistance, for very good reasons. Employees should be ensured in a transparent manner that their personal information wouldn’t be registered or stored anywhere. In the case of a finger print scan, the visual representation (image) of the fingerprint isn’t stored. Instead, the printer encrypts a mathematical representation of the fingerprint.
2. Check and verify the current legislation. Get in touch with your legal representative and make sure the encryption methods you use comply with the current policies and laws surrounding biometric data.
3. Communicate, communicate. During each step, inform your staff what’s going on, why biometric data is important and, again, that there should be no privacy concerns.
Biometrics is become increasingly prevailing, especially around security sensitive sites like airports or high-level government buildings. It is now expected to find facial recognition software and iris scanners in these places. For businesses, as well, biometric encryption is the way to go if security is a huge concern in your company.