Boosting print security in the finance sector

| By Timothy Speller, Director Strategic Alliances – Lexmark.

From a workflow and regulatory perspective, printed information still has an important role to play in the finance industry.

Boosting print security in the finance sector

TAGS: Security

From a workflow and regulatory perspective, printed information still has an important role to play in the finance industry. This is backed-up by IDC research, which found that 53% of financial workflow processes involve printing. However, many organizations do not have sufficient print and hardcopy tracking in place, especially for their employees who may alternate between home and office work.  As we move towards new hybrid ways of working, the challenge is how to build a secure IT environment that protects customers, and sensitive data held by financial organisations, regardless of whether it resides in digital form, hardcopy form, or both. This means that robust and secure technology solutions must be put in place to protect from any future global Black Swan event, which all experts say is likely.

An often-missed aspect of security is smart print devices. Over the years, these have become more intelligent and increasingly hold information that is either stored across a network or on the printer itself. The problem is that over the past year whilst we worked from home, office-based printers weren’t used, causing scheduled maintenance to be delayed or missed. This is a major red flag as it leaves networked devices open to attack or compromise. The bottom line is that if office-based smart print devices are not properly protected with their regular firmware updates and do not have access control settings to stop sensitive documents being seen by the wrong people, then they are a security risk. There is a similar challenge for organisations that provide their staff with print devices to use at home. Gathering information about these devices via an audit when they are located off-site is a harder logistical undertaking than for office-based devices and so needs a carefully thought through technological solution.

The good news is that Lexmark works with OnGuard System’s cloud-based innerActiv solution to provide a full view of document usage, behavioural risk, and to prevent malicious or accidental data leaks via either digital or hardcopy. innerActiv can monitor all files accessed, sent to print from the endpoint to any printer, or handled at the printer itself.  Optical character recognition (OCR) can also be used to flag any key words or phrases that might make an individual printed item worthy of concern. For example, innerActiv could detect and alert if a user:

- Accessed an unusually large quantity of customer account information over a set time
- Printed account information from an unapproved home device
- Printed a document directly from an MFP device, bypassing the network
- Scanned or copied a secure document, creating additional hardcopies or saving a new digital copy

Work-from-home rules accelerated digital transformation in the finance industry but as we continue to transition to a new hybrid way of working, we must ensure that print security is a part of our digital transformation strategy.