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Secure Printing

How can I protect my valuable information?

IT systems are used to organize and process information. For various legal and operational reasons this information is protected in the IT system itself, i.e. the access to this information is regulated. When an IT system is used to print information, it leaves the IT system and is available in a readable form on paper, possibly even for unauthorized persons. What is the value of such information, which is no longer accessible exclusively to a specific authorized person in a data processing system?


Sicheres Drucken


It is difficult to say in a generalized way. However, a page of a document, which for example, contains information about a patent development, could be worth several million Euro if it falls into the wrong hands. Documents with personal data are subject to special legal provisions, which should prevent access by unauthorized persons to this information.


Information printed in a conventional manner may be outside the control of the person who has printed this information for a certain period of time, namely when the printouts are in the printer output bin and the printer is not directly at the workstation of the employee concerned. The employee may need to run into the copier room and pick up the documents from the printer.


What happens if the printed documents are not in the output tray of the printer? Where are the documents?

  • Were they printed and were they deliberately or erroneously taken by a third person?
  • Were they not printed because the printer was out of paper and will not be printed until someone else refills the paper, and subsequently may then lie there for an indefinite time in the output tray?
  • Are the documents in the copier's output tray but someone has already made a copy of the documents and taken them with them?
  • Are the documents printed on another printer by mistake and are located in its output tray?

So there are many ways that documents and thus information can lose their protective capabilities and fall into unauthorized hands when they are printed and thus leave the realm of the digital world.

How to print your documents safely?

Documents can be printed so that they are stored in the printer and are not printed until a PIN is entered. This option in the printer driver is now offered by most device manufacturers. However, it offers little security as what is often just a four-digit PIN can be overcome by trial and error.

Another possibility is storing the documents to be printed in the personal mailbox of a copier and then outputting the print job after entering the login information, which is usually more complex and often includes more than a four digit PIN. The possibility of unauthorized access to the documents has therefore been reduced.

An even higher level of security is achieved when access to printed documents is made possible with the same method of accessing the IT system, i.e. the login process that the employee uses on his / her computer. This also ensures that centralized security policies make the passwords complex, which also must be changed at regular intervals. However, this process is costly and cumbersome for the employee since nowadays most of the output devices do not have a proper physical keyboard and the input of credentials via a virtual keyboard on touch-screen devices is prone to error.

As an alternative to this, there are technical solutions that enable the use of card readers or smart-phones.

Solutions using card readers can identify the employees by means of information on transponders, e.g. employee cards - thereby enabling access to their stored print jobs. In addition to the information on the transponder, a PIN can also be requested. As a result, an identical security standard is achieved, such as when using a cash card at a machine as a transponder alone is not sufficient to pick up print jobs at the printer. Such solutions are also capable of erasing unrecovered print jobs after a certain time, whereby the employee can be informed, for example, by e-mail of any jobs still waiting. This ensures complete control over the printing process. Learn more here.

Smart-phone solutions allow you to authorize your printer or copier with your mobile phone by scanning the bar code on the device. On the mobile phone one selects the print jobs which are to be printed out and thus ensures that documents do not get into unintended hands. For more information, see follow me printing .

Security also brings additional benefits

Another advantage that these solutions offer is that the print jobs can be collected at any output device in a network. This is known as so-called follow-me printing or pull-printing and increases flexibility whereby a print job can be printed anywhere and without the need for an output device or when it is being used by other colleagues. For this purpose, the print jobs are either stored centrally on a server or on the computer of the employee, or even on a MFP, and are then sent and printed to the appropriate output device only after the user has logged on to a printer or copier / MFP

In addition to the safety aspect, these safe printing methods also offer an ecological benefit, since print jobs can also be deleted before they are actually printed out. This is not possible with direct printing. Here the documents are printed, even if their contents still need a correction. This can lead to savings in paper and toner or ink in the double-digit percentage range.

Now protect your print outs

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