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Security Administration In A Managed Printing Environment

Dan Boateng
 


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One of the primary concerns that drive many companies to use the services of document processing outsourcing companies is information security. Fortunately, managed print services provide this kind of mechanism as part of its information management component.

Producing documents over a printing infrastructure have the inherent risk of leaking sensitive and confidential information to hackers or unauthorized users. Images of documents scanned for printing or copying are stored in the memory of devices connected to the network infrastructure.

In this article, we take a look at the techniques used by service providers to secure the information that is transmitted or stored over its infrastructure. These techniques can be grouped into two, namely, access control and cryptography.

1. Access Control

Access control is a mechanism used to regulate access to information on the network. It is able to group information into sensitive and non-sensitive data and grant access based on specified parameters by the administrator. It is also able to group users and determines who has to what information. Two main mechanisms are used under access control. They are authentication and authorization.

a. Authentication

Authentication is the technique used to grant access to a user after his or her credentials, that is, username and password have passes verification. Usually all staff members will have this level of access to common shared information. Sometimes there needs to be different levels and this addressed by authorization.

b. Authorization

Within an organization, different departments will require access to particular information. Additionally, different levels of users will require access to information within particular information. Some of the information may be sensitive or confidential and as a result some users may be prevented from having access to them. For example, a trade secret will only be accessible by senior management members but not a supervisor.

A managed print solution can implement these levels of security measures to control access to images within the organization. The solution can also implement other security measures against intruders, for example hackers.

2. Cryptography

Cryptography is a technique used to encrypt and decrypt passwords. All credentials stored over the infrastructure are secured by encryption. This is because plaintext passwords can be intercepted by hackers and used to gain access to the environment. The technique uses very complex algorithms to encode the credentials.

It is important that before you select a managed print services provider , you must ask them about their security mechanisms.

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