A general guide to the main security features of Ricoh desktop printers

Information security may be a top issue for the management teams of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), but when it comes to choosing a new desktop printer, how many managers really know what security features they should look for?

I have, therefore, put together a list of the main security features in Ricoh’s desktop printers that business and IT managers of smaller enterprises should know about. Although this is not a comprehensive list, I hope it provides a practical introductory guide.

Additionally, some of the security features listed below may come as standard in a Ricoh printer. Others may incur an additional charge.

Security features to look for in a Ricoh desktop printer

  • Authentication – these can come in many different forms with the most popular being:
    • 802.1X – this is an IEEE standard for authenticated network access to wired Ethernet networks and wireless IEEE 802.11 local area networks. It enhances security and deployment by providing support for centralised user identification, authentication, dynamic key management, and accounting.
    • User Authentication – this is usually a standard feature in most desktop printers and multi-function printers (MFPs), and supports several modes of user authentication to ensure only authorised personnel have access to a device and the data stored within it. There are two types of authentication: external, which uses information from a remote server to verify users, and internal, which identifies users by data stored locally in the machine.
    • User Codes – administrators can set individual access codes for users that must be entered via the printer driver or control panel to gain access to the device and release jobs. With Ricoh devices, administrators can manage User Codes via FOC Web Image Monitor software*.
    • Card authentication  instead of entering a user name and password, an authentication card can be used. When data is sent from a client PC for printing, the device suspends the processing of that data until the user walks over to the device, holds the authentication card over the reader, and enters printing instructions on the operator panel. This usually requires additional investment in hardware and is not included in the price of a device as standard.
  • Hard Disk Security Functions – if you decide to purchase an additional HDD with your desktop printer, you will receive a variety of additional security features along with the extra storage.
    • DOSS (DataOverwriteSecurity System) – this is a function that destroys data stored on a HDD by overwriting it up to nine times. When a document is scanned or when data is received from a PC, some data may be stored on the hard disk drive or memory device. For example, temporary image data, data the user has chosen to save, or device configuration data may be stored. When the data is no longer needed, this function actively erases it by overwriting it.
    • Hard Drive Encryption address books, authentication information, and accumulated documents stored in a device are encrypted as they are stored. This function prevents information from being leaked even if the hard disk drive is physically removed.
    • Locked Print and Hold Print – user selectable feature that requires users to input a 4-8 digit release code in the printer driver and then enter the matching sequence at the printer or MFP control panel to release the job from memory. The file won’t be saved.
    • Stored Print – similarly to locked print, this function will temporarily hold a file in the machine, and print it from the computer or the machine’s control panel later. However, the files remain in the machine even after printing is finished. You can come back to them later.
  • Encryptions – most Ricoh printers and MFPs allow for print job and password data to be encrypted.
    • SSL/TLS setup – prevents data from being tapped into, analysed, or altered during communications between PCs and printers. SSL Data Encryption via IPP scrambles data and passwords as they travel over the LAN, making it difficult for hackers to intercept, decipher, and tamper with them. A series of communications takes place between the sending PC and the printer or MFP so that passwords and file content can be encrypted prior to sending, and decrypted once they arrive at the device.
    • WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) support is used in conjunction with the IEEE 802.11a/g Wireless LAN option. WPA/WPA2 is a security specification that addresses vulnerabilities in wireless encrypted communications. It provides assurance to enterprises, small businesses, and home-based users that data will remain protected by allowing only authorised users to access their networks.

There are also other issues that should be considered when printing from a smart devices. We all love the idea of printing directly from our phones or tablets and using popular applications. In some instances, however, doing so means that your print out will appear directly on the printer. But what if the printer isn’t next to your desk, and is located centrally in the middle of the office?

With the mobility in the business world in mind Ricoh offers Smart Device Print and Scan App, which provides the locked print feature that I mentioned earlier in this article.

Explore Ricoh’s range of desktop printers to find the right one for you.

*Web Image Monitor functionality can differ between different models. Please seek product specialist advice.

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