Printing From Home: The Secure Way

What happens when the office is not only not paperless, it’ s not in the office?

Over the past 18 months, where, when, and how we work has seismically shifted. The hybrid workforce currently looks set to be the future way of working. There has never been a better time to securely manage the home office.

Security Locked Safety Protection Concept

Cyberattacks reap security vulnerabilities

After a year of working from home because of COVID-19, companies have found their groove. However, some problems remain when taking the perimeter outside of the office, including equipping remote workers, connecting and securing a range of devices, controlling access, and securing data. The usage influx of personal printers, laptops, and mobile phones has created a wealth of new security challenges and possibilities for cyberattacks. Cybercriminals took full advantage of increased home internet use; reports show over 800,000 attacks a month during the pandemic.
Individuals are an even bigger security threat. Focusing on printing, around 66% of remote workers could be breaching data compliance regulations, such as GDPR. How many of your teams have printed or scanned meeting notes, contracts, commercial documents, payroll documents, CVs, and more? What happens to these documents? Other risky activities include bypassing controls and systems, using easy to guess passwords, and unsecured personal devices.

Secure your printing

To stay on top of your print security, current and developing technology can help reduce long-term risk. Companies will have to work harder to protect employee, corporate, and customer data. The erosion of the network perimeter requires a modern and holistic approach to home printing security.

Be educators – Security is the joint responsibility of the business and employees. Update and communicate your print and scan policies. Talk about the risk of cybercriminals infiltrating the network through home printers, internet connections, IoT, and other devices. Users need guidance and regular training on how to scan and print securely and how to dispose of documents printed at home. Create a culture of good print and scan hygiene.

Be proactive – Cybersecurity teams can remotely configure, patch and encrypt all devices through an app or interface before they access networks. Consider restricting remote access to certain areas from unsecured devices. Personal printers need to be protected and joined to the network, which may be done by using a cloud-enabled, bridging device. Anticipating the threat of an attack, use print management with zero trust, where only authorized users can access systems, scan, share and print sensitive data. Monitoring all of your equipment means you can detect whether it is fully up to date and protected.

I would not be surprised if blockchain comes into play here in the not-so-distant future. Blockchain is already changing the way we can store, distribute and transact data. By validating transactions across networks, we know they can be trusted. Moving away from centralized print job data storage towards transactional data printing, file transfers could become obsolete. Print data would only exist in a chain in a closed string. This may mean that printing from home could come with an almost ironclad security guarantee.

Be reactive – A critical part of your tech stack is visibility and detection. Algorithms using data loss protection automatically analyze all activity from devices. Tracking each scan or print activity for anything abnormal, it is then blocked according to content security rules. Pop-up and email reminders would be sent to the user to remind them of correct document storage and disposal. AI-driven security solutions on home routers can help monitor and mitigate threats. Using this information, vulnerable or breached devices may be automatically identified and isolated.

Be user-friendly – You need to ensure your employees’ remote locations are as digitally secure as your offices. Not only does having the same user experience in any location support a productive workforce, but it ensures that security systems are also aligned.
Stop shadow IT issues by making the home print environment work. Support BYOD policies via user-friendly yet secure printing apps or web-based tools. Give employees the flexibility to print and scan from and to any device they are using. Biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprint, voice and facial recognition, can add another layer of security to your printing; these are readily available on personal devices. Cloud print solutions enable tracking and reporting on print jobs from any location. Users can print as needed while endpoint security is monitored.

Be digital – Continuing your digital transformation journey, digitizing documents through scanning and workflows provides control, backup, and an audit trail. By keeping scans inside your print management solution, you ensure that documents are securely delivered and tracked. Automated workflows also remove the risk of human error and support a whole host of secure third-party applications, repositories, and destinations.

Look to the future

As the dust starts to settle and remote and hybrid working becomes a more permanent solution for many businesses, you need to be confident that you have a secure home printing solution for today and the future. While I expect to see some exciting innovation and growth in this area, there are already a wealth of fantastic tools available to you. Using an arsenal of printing apps, the cloud, digitization, web interfaces, authentication, and robust security policies, you can keep your employees happy and your documents safe.

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Bruce Leistikow is a Director of Product Marketing at Y Soft. He can be reached at