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The pull printing feature being used on the Brother HL-L9310CDW in order to release a document

What is pull printing?

Data security is high on every business agenda, yet despite greater spend and compliance requirements, breaches remain common.

With 9,741 cyberattacks registered on British SMEs every day, understandably many businesses are focusing their efforts on mitigating external security threats. However, gaining access to confidential information can be as simple as leafing through the stacks of uncollected documents that are too often left beside office printers.  

Where forward-thinking businesses are taking strides to prevent breaches like this occurring is through a form of user authentication called ‘pull printing’. The term may already be familiar to many, but how exactly could it help your business?

Pull printing explained 

When you send a document to print on a device that doesn’t feature pull printing technology, it will come out automatically from the machine, the moment you click print. 

With pull printing technology however, software holds print jobs back in a secure virtual queue. The job remains there until the user that ‘pushed’ it to print is physically at the printer and confirms they are ready to collect their print-outs. The device then releases or ‘pulls down’ the pages for printing. 

There are a number of ways to release print jobs including, PIN code, username and password log-in, an NFC-enabled ID card, mobile app or QR code.  

However, secure pull printing is only currently adopted by 40% of businesses globally so there is some way to go to ensure that internal data breaches become a thing of the past. Solutions like Brother’s Secure Print+ software which enables NFC print protection, offers businesses the ability to install pull printing authentication technology to their existing networks.

How does pull printing improve security?

Malware is generally perceived by business as being the greatest risk to security. However, statistically that accolade goes to internal users who are at fault for 32% of data breaches. With 11% of all business security incidents being print related, it’s clear that organisations need risk mitigation strategies in place which include educating users internally.

Printer user errors are common, whether it’s confidential papers left unattended on the printer (35%), printouts not being collected (34%) or employees picking up confidential documents that aren’t theirs (27%). 

To underpin user education, businesses can also start to combat these risks and improve security, by rolling out pull printing technology across their network. Ensuring users authenticate themselves at the machine can quickly transform the threat of data breaches coming from printed documents themselves. 

To further mitigate the internal data breach threat, businesses should also focus on the dangers of incorrectly stored or shared documents. Many multifunction printers offer scan-to functionality, allowing users to route documents directly to email accounts and shared folders. The potential for confidential information to be accidentally leaked through this process should not be ignored. By using a solution such as Brother’s Custom UI, organisations can tailor their printer’s interface, removing icons to mitigate the human error element of sending documentation to the wrong file locations. This ensures that secure scan-to destinations are pre-programmed, and any other non-necessary functions (including tampering with settings), locations and permissions are removed.

Cutting costs by preventing misuse

Besides security there are many advantages to pull printing. With unreleased print jobs remaining digital, waste is drastically reduced with lower paper, ink or toner consumption making it a more sustainable business solution. Files that aren’t collected after a set time are automatically removed from the printer’s memory, reducing network security risks.

And because users know their printing and scanning is now being tracked, other print-related abuses stop too, whether that’s printing for personal use or scanning and copying sensitive material. 

A vital tool in your security toolbox 

Pull printing may only be one variable in the print security equation but it’s a vital one. It helps to lower the risk of losing sensitive data, restores management control, reduces costs and conserves resources.  

For organisations looking to take a belt-and-braces approach to their print security, a managed print service provides a comprehensive, futureproofed solution to tackling the internal and external threats to printer and network security.

Find out about Brother’s managed print solutions including secure pull printing or for more information on a number of overlooked areas of print security read our e-book.

 

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