Maximizing Print Visibility: A Guide for IT Leaders in the Insurance Industry 

IT leaders in the insurance industry must ensure that their systems and processes comply with a host of regulations and standards, such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC).  Failure to comply could lead to hefty penalties, litigation, and reputational damage. 

Insurance companies collect and store large volumes of sensitive information.  They also rely heavily on paper-based processes that can potentially open up customers’ personal data to unauthorized access. If confidential documents are left unattended in printer output trays, for example, they may be accessible to people who have no legitimate reason to see them. Remote work has raised the stakes even higher, potentially exposing sensitive information to family members and visitors. 

Oversights like this can lead to security breaches that could cost your organization millions in fines, legal fees, lost business, and remediation. 

Poor print visibility isn’t just a security issue; it also impacts costs. Without a clear picture of utilization, companies spend far more than is necessary to maintain and support printers. They’re also in a poor position to control costs for consumables such as toner, ink, and paper. 

The Consequences of Poor Print Visibility 

Print visibility allows you to track, manage, and secure your printing, copying, and scanning activities, regardless of location. It’s essential for preventing these common issues: 

  • Inefficient and costly printing processes: In many organizations, employees may not be cognizant of the costs associated with printing in color, or with printing single-sided documents. Print visibility provides clear metrics to help control such practices. 
  • Excess printing: Years ago, experts predicted that paperless offices would become the norm. However, that prediction has not come to fruition because of various reasons such as work processes, archiving, and because it is a productivity tool,  Consequently, office printing still exists, and some employees may print more than they really need to. That increases operational expenses and undermines your organization’s sustainability efforts. 
  • Compliance challenges: Without print visibility, it’s impossible to know who printed what, where they printed it, and when.  Certain federal relations regulations such as HIPAA require an auditable system for tracking this kind of information. 
  • Unauthorized access to sensitive data: Bad actors could pick up documents at unattended printers after they are printed to steal confidential information. In some cases, your company may be out of compliance merely for allowing a situation in which such information might be accessed by an unauthorized party. 

Solutions For Improving Print Visibility and Control 

Fortunately, improving print visibility is a fairly straightforward proposition. With the right technology, you can secure sensitive information, rein in costs, encourage responsible use of resources, and ensure compliance. 

Here are some tools that will help you to improve and optimize your organization’s print environment: 

  • Print Management and Optimization Software  

Well-designed print management and optimization software helps you secure your organization’s devices and printing workflows, even where employees are distributed among field locations and home offices. It can enable you to develop and implement a robust print strategy for tracking and auditing print activities.  This provides complete visibility, ensures compliance, and reduces printing costs.  

  • Secure Print Release  

Secure print release, also known as “pull printing”, requires employees to enter their credentials at the printer in order to release a submitted print job. This ensures that only authorized personnel can access printed documents containing sensitive information. 

  • Centralized Management  

Centralized control allows companies to manage printing processes, track print jobs, and compile audit logs from a single cloud-based platform, streamlining workflows and gaining a bird’s-eye view of all activities. 

  • End-to-End Encryption 

By encrypting the data contained in each print job, your organization can protect confidential information against theft and unauthorized access, whether it’s at rest or during transit. Only authorized devices with the decryption key (e.g., a company printer) can read the information. 

  • Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) 

MFA requires that users verify their identities in multiple ways before they can retrieve print jobs. By requiring a user password and a one-time code sent to a mobile device, for example, it is virtually guaranteed that a user is who they say they are. This adds a powerful layer of protection against unauthorized access. 

  • Secure Printing Options for Remote Workers 

Home offices and field locations often represent a weak link in the chain of information security.  The best print management solutions support remote and hybrid work by protecting information sent to printers via mobile devices or home offices. This leaves employees free to remain fully productive, without compromising data security. 

  • Employee Training 

Ongoing education ensures that employees and contractors understand the importance of print security best practices, and that they stay current with that information. This is an essential element of any effective print management strategy. 

  • Regular Updates and Patching 

Your IT team should regularly update and patch printers, print servers, and other hardware and software used in the printing process to protect against security threats. This can be especially challenging for distributed organizations with multiple field offices and remote workers.  

Achieving print visibility and ensuring print security can help you mitigate risks and improve operational cost efficiency. Pharos’ print management software offers a suite of tools, including Secure Release Printing solutions, to help you gain visibility and control over your print processes. 

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