BOISE – With the huge influx of data in workplaces everywhere, Hewlett Packard Co. (HP) is ramping up security on its printers with another update to HP Access Control, its security solution for organizations managing a fleet of devices.

The printing and imaging giant will be rolling out version 13.0 of Access Control, which now supports new full devices, as well as providing multi-vendor support. Not only does it work with HP printers, but it’s been extended to printers by Lexmark International Inc. and Xerox Corp. It also comes with an external controller for third-party products.

The latest update to HP Access Control became available Nov. 15.

While Access Control was traditionally more geared towards enterprise customers, there’s still an opportunity for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs), said Jason Carney, partner development manager at HP. He was speaking to a group of journalists during HP’s media tour on Nov. 13, held at the company’s campus in Boise, Idaho.

An express bundle for SMBs allowing IT administrators to set passwords and monitor past print jobs will soon become available. It will also allow them to set up a pull printing policy, meaning employees will not be able to print until they physically go to a printer and release a print job with some form of authentication, like a password or employee badge.

“We want everyone to print all day long with HP, but under certain settings, we don’t,” Carney said, adding nowadays, there are a lot of risks with using multifunction printers.

For example, there are so many areas where companies store their data – it’s sent over the network, it’s stored on a printer, it’s printed on a hard copy, it’s accessible through a printer’s control panel, and it’s kept on mobile devices.

Then there are situations where employees are either careless, or they haven’t been properly educated in keeping data secure when they go to print documents. Sometimes employees will go print a document, and then they’ll completely forget about it – a practice Carney called “print and sprint.”

“Just by walking around a campus, I can probably find things like birthday invitations, personal document … or when people run off, I can find stuff on site I shouldn’t be seeing, like someone’s paystub,” he said.

“There’s lots of data, but there’s also lots of risk for security … I want to bring in complexity, but I want to do it for the right reason.”

The key is to protect data in four different areas, Carney said. First, it’s important to protect the data stored on a physical device. HP printers come with more than 100 embedded security settings, which IT administrators can configure as necessary for their environments.

Then there’s a need to protect physical documents, especially legal ones. That might mean locking up access to certain parts of a printer, like a paper tray. In government offices where employees might need to print death certificates, it’s important no one else can gain access to commit fraud. That might also come in handy in universities, preventing students from printing off their own diplomas, Carney said.

Then of course, IT administrators need to look out for data on their servers. Finally, they need to monitor and manage all of that. If they use HP printers, they can use HP Webjet Admin to manage the entire fleet, Carney added.

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