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Secure Print Release: ensuring confidentiality and accountability

Without the proper security protocols in place, shared printers are potential sources of data leaks and compliance risks. A secure hold-and-release queue for printing reduces this risk in your workplace. 

Secure Print Release functionality essentially transforms all shared printers into personal printers, without the costly expense of a desktop printer per worker. It reduces the frequency of human error, protects your confidential information, and empowers users with accountability. 

What is Secure Print Release?

Secure Print Release is what PaperCut calls our core secure printing feature. Lots of vendors call it different things, but the intention is the same. It requires users to authenticate themselves at the printer before their document is produced. 

In order for a document to print, a user must prove their identify. So, instead of a printer automatically, immediately printing documents, with Secure Print Release implemented, users submit print jobs to a hold-and-release print queue. They can then release their print jobs securely at any authorized print release station, ensuring that sensitive documents do not fall into the wrong hands.

The print release station can be the printer/MFD itself, or a designated desktop or computer terminal of some kind. By demanding authentication before producing a printout, Secure Print Release puts the user in control and ensures that the person collecting the document is the owner of the document.

Why use Secure Print Release?

Confidentiality: Confidential documents remain secure until users are physically present at a print release station to release them. This reduces the risk of sensitive information being accidentally left on printers or falling into the wrong hands.

Cost savings: Wasteful and unclaimed printouts are severely reduced, resulting in significant cost savings on paper, ink or toner, and maintenance. Print jobs are only released when users are physically present, reducing unnecessary printing and waste.

Accountability: Users must authenticate themselves to release their print jobs, fostering a culture of accountability. It also helps organizations monitor print usage, track costs accurately, and encourage responsible printing behavior.

How to implement a secure printing solution

Assess print environment needs: Understand your organization’s print requirements, including the number and locations of printers, user volume, and security considerations. This assessment will guide your decisions when selecting the appropriate solution.

Choose a print management software: Select a comprehensive print management software, that offers secure printing functionality. Ensure the software integrates seamlessly with your existing print infrastructure and supports the security protocols required by your organization.

Configure print policies and user authentication: Set up print policies to implement secure printing systems across the organization. Define user authentication methods, such as username and password or card-based authentication, and ensure the chosen method aligns with your organization’s security standards.

How print release stations work

Print Release stations provide a secure environment for users to release their print jobs. Users authenticate themselves at the station, typically using their credentials or identification card. 

Once authenticated, they can view a list of their pending print jobs and select the documents they wish to print. 

Print Release stations can be touch-enabled devices or integrated into existing multifunction printers (MFPs). They can even be desktops or computer terminals that act as an access point for the printer/MFP.

Best practices for Secure Print Release

User education: Provide clear instructions to users on how to utilize Secure Print Release. Educate them on the importance of printing responsibly and securely, including the proper handling of sensitive documents.

Regular software updates: Keep your print management software and firmware up to date to ensure the latest security patches and enhancements are in place. Regular updates help protect against potential vulnerabilities.

Secure Print Release policies: Establish clear policies and guidelines for the use of Secure Print Release. Communicate these policies to users and regularly reinforce the importance of following them.

Data retention and disposal: Implement policies for data retention and disposal of print jobs in the print queue. Automatically delete print jobs from the queue after a specified period to further protect sensitive information.Print logging and archiving: Use print management software with logging capabilities which make it possible to view who pressed print, and when and where a document was printed. Print archiving is an additional tool that means your administrators can pull up a PDF of the printout if they need to check its contents for security purposes.

Card or biometric-based authentication: You can make printer access as secure as entering your building. Users can use their building/door access card or keyfob to authenticate their identity at the printer or release station.  

2FA/MFA: AKA two-factor or multi-factor authentication. The same method you see in the movies where the secret agent needs a fingerprint, retinal scan, and voice recognition to enter the secret vault. You don’t need to be as high tech, it could simply be a card swipe and a 4-digit PIN. But requiring two or more additional authentication methods increases the security of your printing, adding extra contingencies to doubly or triply ensure the user is granted access to your printing system. 

Find-me printing: This is a PaperCut overlay of our Secure Print Release functionality. Print to a “virtual printer” and authenticate with the methods above at any enabled printer/MFD in your organization. This provides security and ease of use. Workers don’t need to compromise security for efficient, productive workflows.

Prevent security breaches and print responsibly 

Secure Print Release is an indispensable feature for organizations aiming to enhance document security and promote accountability in their print environments. With Secure Print Release, your organization can protect sensitive information, reduce costs, and encourage responsible printing behavior. 

Seeking secure printing software? Take a look at our products to see which of our solutions is the best fit for your organization.



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