The BYOD phenomenon is transforming businesses today. A recent report by Tech Pro Research found that nearly three-quarters of the organizations polled have instituted BYOD or plan to do so. And Gartner predicts that half of employers around the world will require BYOD by the end of 2016.
BYOD is also having a profound effect on all aspects of IT. The ability for employees to use their own smartphones and tablets in the workplace is fostering greater collaboration and communication, as well as reducing the amount of money companies have to invest in technology.
But BYOD is not without its challenges, especially when it comes to security. A lost or stolen smartphone, an app downloaded from a malicious developer that turns out to be malware, or even a connection to public Wi-Fi can put a company’s data and entire network at risk.
BYOD printing can be risky without the proper safeguards.
For example, let’s say that an employee prints a confidential document from a mobile device at a hotel or in a client’s office, and the document happens to fall into the hands of someone who’s not authorized to see it.
Or an employee prints a confidential business document at home, and an unencrypted imprint of it exists on the hard drive of the device, which gets lost or stolen.
Or employees in the office print from personal devices that happen to be infected with malware and end up infecting the office printer—and the network.
All of these scenarios could lead to data breaches or worse. Which is why it’s important for your customers to take a formal strategic approach to BYOD printing. Taking precautions and putting protocols in place can help them safeguard their data and networks—and save them a lot of heartache and downtime in the future.
Here are a few tips you can offer on creating a safe mobile printing environment for their employees:
1. Implement a mobile printing solution.
Just as BYOD means that business can now happen anywhere, new mobile print solutions allow mobile users to print anywhere business happens.
New business printing technologies in HP PageWide Printers have built-in advanced security features that allow IT managers to implement user authentication and other policy-based security monitoring.
In addition, HP now offers a server-based mobile printing solution, HP ePrint Enterprise, that makes it easy for employees to use mobile devices to print to any registered printer on an enterprise network, as well as company-approved mobile print locations, including hotels, print shops and airport lounges. The documents can only be retrieved by entering a specific retrieval code.
More importantly, HP ePrint Enterprise allows IT administrators to control printer availability and access, easily add or suspend users, and synchronize accounts with existing databases. Print jobs are routed to the networked printers without leaving an organization’s secure firewall.
HP ePrint Enterprise can integrate seamlessly into a customer’s existing infrastructure, including both HP and non-HP printers, because the device-to-printer connections and print job processing functions are managed by the server software rather than individual print drivers.
2. Make sure users are authenticated.
To protect against important documents sitting idly in an output tray, your customers should set up their office printers to require employees to use personal identification numbers (PINs), access cards or fingerprint readers to print.
3. Implement “pull printing.”
In pull printing, employees send documents securely to a protected server and then use their PINs to access and print those documents—anytime and anywhere—using printers that are connected to that server.
Pull printing makes it possible for an organization to keep printouts confidential, even on shared printers, which prevents proprietary information from getting leaked to unauthorized personnel. It’s a secure and efficient option for mobile users.
4. Secure network access with VPN.
Wherever they are—on the road, at home or at a temporary workspace—Pemployees can have secure access to the documents on a company network, thanks to VPN technology that is now available for mobile devices. It’s also important to make sure that controls are in place on employees’ personal devices—including password lock, automatic session timeout, data-access and printing permissions, as well as the ability to wipe drives if devices are lost or stolen.
5. Educate employees on the importance of printing security.
Mobile users don’t always realize the risks inherent in using their personal devices at work. That’s why it’s essential that your customers train their employees not to download unapproved mobile apps or connect to open Wi-Fi networks when they’re out of the office. They should also stress the importance of only using “approved” printers and copy shops that meet security and compliance standards.
BYOD is here to stay. Advise your customers on the risks and rewards.
As their trusted IT advisor and business partner, it’s important for you to outline the steps your customers need to take to safeguard their printing resources. That way, they can enjoy the flexibility and freedom of BYOD while avoiding the pitfalls. In these days of growing cybersecurity threats, businesses can never be too careful.