Authenticating your users and print jobs
“How does PaperCut Pocket or Hive know that it’s me?”
Existential questions are our specialty - but in general, the behind-the-scenes machinery of authentication isn’t something that everyone needs to know. If you’re troubleshooting, or even if you just want to feel more at ease when you know how something works, read on.
Hidden away in the sign-up process is the key to authentication, and it’s so simple to overlook, and get set up that one of the most common questions we have is “Wait, how does PaperCut Pocket or Hive know which job is which?".
This topic breaks down authentication into two phases:
- Printing your document - how does PaperCut Pocket or Hive know that when you print test.xls, it’s the user ‘sam’ printing it?
- Releasing your print job - when you log into the mobile app or the device app (when using PaperCut Hive), how does PaperCut Pocket know that it’s you?
When you (as a user) get invited to print through your organization with PaperCut Pocket or Hive, you get a personalized link to download the PaperCut Printer ‘client’. The crucial part here is that it’s a personal link - unique to each user!
macOS, Windows and Chrome OS
When you install the Pocket or Hive client (also known as the PaperCut Printer) as part of the onboarding steps, you install a customized copy of the client which contains a token. This token links the installation to your individual email address. When you print a document using your personalized client, the communication includes the token, which identifies that print job as belonging to your email address.
When you go through the onboarding steps and install the PaperCut mobile app on your Android device, the app knows that it’s you using the app (again, through you installing the app through a custom link). The PaperCut Printer is automatically installed as a printer onto your Android device, and the connection contains your unique token. This is how we know that you’re really who you say you are!
When you install the mobile app on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll need to ‘log in’ to the app using the Code (or QR-Code) in your welcome email. Once you’re logged into the mobile app, you can install the iOS Profile, which creates the PaperCut Printer on your iOS device.
As you’ve probably guessed, since you’re logged into the Mobile App as you, it knows which email address is using the app - and can then generate a personalized printer profile, which contains your unique user token. Whenever you print using that profile, the communication includes the user token along with the print job, so that it can tell which user sent it.
Android and iOS
The complicated part has been done already - identifying which print jobs belong to which user! The release part is relatively simple. As part of the setup process, because you log into the Mobile App on Android or iOS, the app now knows which email address is yours. The cloud now allows you to release or modify the print jobs (through the device or mobile app) that you own. Simple!
Device app (logging into the MFD when using PaperCut Hive)
Along the same lines as the mobile app above - when you log into the MFD either through a code or by swiping your ID card, the cloud identifies who you are by linking, for example, the card ID to your email address. The cloud then tells the MFD to display the print jobs you own, so that you can choose which ones to release!
If the authentication for the printer is included in the PaperCut Printer client, doesn’t that mean that anyone can print as me from my laptop or computer?
No! Well…. they could if they could log on as you to the computer - which hopefully they can’t do since they’d then be able to do a lot more than just printing as you!
Your PaperCut Printer runs as a user-based application, which means that it’s only accessible to you when you log into your computer as you. If you share your computer with someone else, or if someone else logs into your computer (as them) one day, they won’t see the PaperCut Printer. If they need to be able to print through PaperCut Pocket or Hive from your computer, then they’ll need to install the PaperCut Printer as themselves, by following the custom link in their own welcome email.
Sharing is caring - but not necessarily in this case - you’ll want to keep your welcome email and your unique code to yourself.