Ensuring the secure flow of information

Issue 9 2020 Asset Management, EAS, RFID

The recent leak of two matric exam papers and arrest of a suspect who works for a company contracted by the Department of Basic Education to print the exam papers, has raised renewed concerns over security and data leaks within a corporate and public organisation environment.

Every company and its employees manage vast amounts of information daily, much of which will be confidential, including documents, personal data, addresses, budgets, plans, mock-ups and countless other resources that need to be printed, copied and scanned. Without reliable document security, these organisations run a high risk of such sensitive data falling into unauthorised hands. The consequence of this is that strategic plans, high-level pricing plans and costings and product strategies copied, for instance with no password and distributed to competitor companies, personal data sold, and budgets revealed, could potentially be disastrous.

Edmund Jacobs, innovation specialist for The Connected Office Division at Konica Minolta South Africa, provides some insights around how private companies and public organisations can secure the printing environment.

Safety always comes first

Within a secure environment, the printing of confidential or classified information such as exam papers, for example, the organisation’s ICT framework (security governance) has to work hand-in-hand with the printer security features of the multifunctional devices in order to bring about complete peace of mind. The former will entail aspects such as operators being searched and security cameras being in place to promote data security internally within a business.

From a device perspective, high-volume secure document printing can be further assured through add-on, innovative features such as Auto Inspection Technology (AIT), which allows for artificial intelligence to be used to enable the device to automatically inspect every individual printed sheet to avoid any problems such as dirt, incorrect lines, sub-standard imagery or incorrect page orders, and thereby ensuring that only those sheets meeting exact requirements are delivered.

Although this feature predominantly helps to ensure quality assurance and greater productivity for staff, it also allows for the whole printing process to become fully automated with closed loop inspection technology (human intervention and involvement not required). This means the device printing the papers can operate in a secure and locked room with only a security camera in the room, ensuring optimal operation. Once the job is completed, the prints can be packed into non see-through, tamperproof bags and sent to the customer.

Enabling POPI and security-ready printing

Konica Minolta developed bizhub SECURE (standard functionality) to provide customers with the resources required to protect any information on a bizhub multifunctional device’s internal hard drive. This includes security features such as user authentication (only enabling certain users to print, scan and copy), the encryption of an entire device hard drive and its contents, sanitisation of printer hard drives (data wiping and data erasure) and password protection. PDF encryption for scanned documents is also available.

With the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act coming into effect this year, these features are especially important within public organisations such as the SAPS offices or other state security organs, as well as private enterprises such as law firms and insurance brokers.

Additional add-on security features include Bitdefender virus scanning for the bizhub i-Series of devices, allowing for the monitoring of all scanned files and documents transferred to and from devices in real time, including via USBs – therefore enabling automatic virus scanning.

Third-party applications can also be added, such as YSOFT and PaperCut MF. These applications enable complete output management with features such as authenticated user printing and full 360-degree view of all printing jobs (who printed what, when and from which device).

Data security has become one of the most important aspects of running a successful and reliable modern business. One or two tiny chinks in your company's security armour can lead to confidential data being exposed, and your business reputation being ruined. All of the above-mentioned security features and functionality will enable your organisation and its printing environment to remain secure and your data and IP to stay protected.

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