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Secure Printing of Confidential Documents Disclosure Number: IPCOM000247525D
Publication Date: 2016-Sep-14
Document File: 2 page(s) / 69K

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Secure printing of confidential documents

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Secure Printing of Confidential Documents

    Printing confidential documents on shared printers poses a risk that confidential information is exposed to other users, both by malice and by chance. In some cases company policies require users to pick up confidential prints in no more than a specified number of minutes; on other cases printing confidential materials is completely forbidden on shared printers.

    A lot of security methods address the problem of letting or denying printing a document. But, once a user is authorized to print, the output of the printer is available to anyone in proximity of the printer. Courtesy headers specifying the name of the user and the confidentiality of the document do not really solve the confidentiality problem, especially against someone which is trying to deliberately harvest reserved information.

    One approach used to secure sensitive prints consists in having the output bin locked (with a key or similar method), so that the content is not accessible to users missing the proper unlocking capability; but if all the prints go to the same locked bin, this solution is not useful in shared contexts. In other words, the limitation of this arrangement is that, if used as a shared printer, anyone in possession of the key will be able to access all the confidential documents present in the bin; moreover, having multiple bins does not scale well when the number of users is high.

    The same concept reported above is sometimes applied to the input bin, which can be valuable even if not printed yet: for example blank letterhead and blank checks have great value.

    A better solution is that a job marked as confidential is printed to an output bin which is inaccessible to users; the printer stores confidential prints and only releases a specific job when a user properly authenticates for it. The job is marked as confidential when submitted for printing and maintains information about the authorized users (in the simplest case, the user submitting the job). The printer redirects the output to a special bin which is not externally accessible; this output bin is a sort of parking area, as it contains all the confidential jobs which have been printed and not taken away yet. The parking bin is not directly accessible by users.

When a user w...