Really secure pull printing with LRS solutions
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
by Mark Ladd
Many companies have implemented or are considering pull print solutions. These solutions allow the user to authenticate at any one of many printers or multifunction devices (MFDs or MFPs) and print their documents. The advantages of pull printing are well known:
Convenience and simplicity — the user submits print documents to a single queue, then has the flexibility to collect these from any device.
Security — if the MFP is being shared by many users, the document will not be left in the output tray for collection by the wrong user.
Cost savings — if the print documents are not requested within a defined time, they can be deleted automatically without printing. Case studies show that the amount of unwanted printing can be considerable. The banner pages typically used on shared printers can also be omitted when pull printing.
There are many pull printing solutions on the market. Most build on existing Windows print infrastructure including Windows Print Servers. Some allow ‘print server-less’ pull printing. The ‘security’ provided by these solutions simply involves managing the authentication of the user at the printer using an RFID or smart card or by entering their active directory credentials.
The LRS pull print solution addresses the security ‘gaps’ that exist with other solutions:
It is simple to intercept a print document over a company’s TCP/IP network using freeware tools, allowing documents to be read and re-printed. The LRS pull print solution allows end-to-end encryption of documents from the client to the printer to ensure that sensitive information remains confidential.
The LRS pull print solution manages and tracks delivery of the document to the printer, assuring delivery until the last page is in the output tray. It also allows the document to be requested from a different printer after a printer error without any user or help desk intervention and whilst creating an accurate audit trail. Other solutions consider a file to have printed when it has been received by a Windows print queue or printer by not actually printed.
If a printer error such as a jam or insufficient toner or paper condition occurs whilst a pull print is in progress, the LRS solution can be configured to ensure that the remaining pages are not automatically printed when the error is later resolved and a different user is standing at the printer.
The LRS pull print solution enables authentication via a card reader, a personal code, or a combination of both. LRS provides ‘embedded’ clients for a wide range of printer vendors and models, which allows selection of print documents from a list via the printer console. An external card reader solution is available for any printer without a suitable console and an LRS Web App also allows authenticated print file release from any mobile device with a browser.
Because it’s an LRS print solution, documents can be submitted for pull printing from any application of platform (from mainframe to mobile) and in any format.
LRS pull printing is uniquely scalable, allowing many thousands of printers and users to be supported from a single highly available server with no Windows Print Servers required.
LRS pull printing can be implemented in server based delivery mode, wherein print documents are captured to the LRS server from back-end applications and virtualized applications and desktops and delivered from the LRS server to the printer. It can also be implemented in a ‘print server-less’ mode, in which files are delivered directly to the printer from the desktop when requested by an authenticated user. This avoids the network overhead of routing large print files to and from a server.
LRS uniquely allows a ‘hybrid’ pull printing architecture which offers the advantages of both modes whilst appearing seamless to the end user.
At LRS, our mission is to make printing simple.