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Leveraging Cloud-Based Print Management: Does it Complement Zero Trust Architecture?

Microsoft highlights that 96% of security decision-makers consider Zero Trust essential for their business success, with 76% already implementing Zero Trust security protocols. Zero Trust offers a proactive security stance, crucial for protecting a company's digital assets and reputation.

Print architecture is increasingly vital in a Zero Trust strategy, as printers are also susceptible to cyber threats. A compromised printer could expose sensitive data. However, advanced cloud-based print management solutions, like uniFLOW Online, offer necessary protection. Recognized by Keypoint Intelligence as an exceptional cloud output management platform, uniFLOW Online is the choice for numerous organisations worldwide to secure their print and scan processes from a single cloud platform, enhancing security, cost control, and productivity.

Compared to traditional company networks, IT security has advanced significantly with today's cloud-based solutions, fostering effective work environments for on-site, hybrid, and remote workers.

In a Zero Trust framework, all users, devices, and services, whether internal or external to the organisation, are deemed potential threats. Continuous verification is required to prevent breaches, with access policies tailored to location, device, and data requested.

How is the environment evolving?

IT security has undergone significant evolution over time. Unlike traditional access models that depended on usernames and passwords to provide all users within a corporate network with data access, Zero Trust environments operate under a completely different premise.

Yet, Zero Trust is not a universal solution. Businesses must customize Zero Trust principles to align with their unique requirements at any given moment.

To achieve this, organisations must integrate Zero Trust principles into their current IT architecture and continuously modify them as they move toward a Zero Trust framework. Typically, an organisation begins with an initial network and security architecture and gradually transitions to its ultimate implementation model.

Regardless of the starting point, organisations can anticipate immediate enhancements in security, risk mitigation, and return on investment.

uniFLOW Online, as a scalable SaaS offering, is prepared for Zero Trust and supports organisations in adapting their IT infrastructure to accommodate their dynamic needs.

Three Principles for Zero Trust Architecture

Zero Trust is frequently mentioned as a crucial element of IT infrastructure security. However, many organisations have crafted their own interpretations of Zero Trust, tailored to their specific data security needs, resulting in a broad spectrum of standards.

To fully leverage the advantages of a Zero Trust network environment, uniFLOW Online incorporates three fundamental principles established by Microsoft and Google:

1. Explicit verification;
2. Access based on the principle of least privilege; and
3. Breach assumption.

Verify Explicitly

In the realm of Zero Trust Architecture, every user is required to have a distinct identity to gain access to services, devices, or data. Identity Providers (IdPs) play a crucial role in automatically confirming the authenticity of the individual seeking access. The advent of Adaptive ID processes has introduced an additional layer of authentication, proving to be especially beneficial in overseeing remote and hybrid work settings. These innovative processes customise the authentication for each user, aligning with the unique aspects of their access request by evaluating various risk indicators.

Least-privileged Access

Users are empowered to execute only the tasks that align with their job roles. The majority will have permissions to print, scan, and copy on authorised devices. A select few will receive a tailored set of privileges, tailored to their specific job needs.

Assume Breach

Zero Trust architectures effectively reduce attack surfaces by removing print servers. This approach allows organisations to maintain their existing infrastructure while gaining full visibility into their network environment, aiding in the containment of breaches should they occur. Verified end-to-end encryption, coupled with analytics, enhances visibility, bolsters threat detection, and strengthens defenses.

How does uniFLOW Online complement Zero Trust architecture?

Every organisation operates with a unique network architecture tailored to its size, security priorities, and progress towards a Zero Trust environment.

In some cases, all user PCs and printers may be interconnected on the same network. In others, there might be only a handful of network points. A growing trend in Zero Trust architecture is micro-segmentation, where each network point is isolated, allowing devices to communicate solely with the Internet, preventing any lateral movement within the local network.

Canon’s uniFLOW Online effortlessly fits into any of these network structures, bolstering security by storing documents on a user’s PC, a multifunction device, or, for micro-segmented networks, in the cloud, awaiting authenticated release.

In a micro-segmented setup, where print jobs are cloud-stored, security for printing and scanning is significantly enhanced. Devices retrieve jobs straight from the cloud after a user authenticates and selects their print jobs, which can be done via desktop, mobile, or by scanning a QR code on the device interface. IP printing is also facilitated in these networks, requiring nothing more than a power source and a network cable, eliminating the need for additional infrastructure or services.

On-site printer servers are no longer worth the risk

The shift away from onsite printer servers is becoming a trend for many organisations, driven by the high costs and maintenance challenges they present. This is particularly true when dealing with multiple servers, devices, and vendors.

Neglecting to update servers and devices can leave users with obsolete technology, while organisations may face security threats from hackers and intruders. Inadequate security measures mean documents could be intercepted or accessed by unauthorised individuals, leading to compliance issues.

Embracing cloud-based print and scan management within a Zero Trust framework simplifies technology management, cuts costs, and fortifies defences against data breaches.

Want to find out more about how uniFLOW Online can transform your print and scan environment? Book a Business Print Assessment or give us a call on 03 5562 8233.

To take the first step in getting started, complete the form on our contact page and one of our team will be in touch.