HP Announces Secure Managed Print Services and New Printers/MFPs during Spring Briefing

PageWide, OfficeJet and LaserJet Devices Built for SMBs



Lee Davis

In Lisbon on March 8, HP announced a series of products and services designed to boost productivity, help manage IT costs, and mitigate security risks for small and medium business customers. Professional output quality, fast speeds, tight security, and innovative design were the key focus of the global announcement.

PageWide, OfficeJet and LaserJet Models Built for SMBs
The PageWide series is responsible for the printing of over 130 billion documents since its introduction and will be responsible for 4 billion documents each month. PageWide printers are available in multiple segments including large format, business class, InkJet Web Presses, and the emerging 3D printer market.

According to HP’s Director of Product Planning for PageWide, Larry Tracy, these new devices are suited to serve up to 15 users who print between 1,000 and 6,000 documents a month. “The PageWide line distinguishes itself by delivering the lowest cost of ownership and environmental impact, as well as the fastest speeds among HP’s vast portfolio of document imaging devices.” As with the rest of the company’s devices, customers can expect top­notch security features in the form of FutureSmart technologies.

All of the models in the PageWide family offer the lowest in-class energy consumption and total cost of ownership, especially when compared to laser models, according to HP. The PageWide Enterprise Color MFP 586 and 556 offer best in class productivity­­reaching speeds as high as 75ppm­­as well as an 8” touchscreen and comes fitted FutureSmart and OXPd technology.

The HP PageWide Pro 500 series targets environments with 5 to 15 users who output between 2,500 and 7,500 pages a month. “The PageWide Pro MFP 577 delivers unbeatable color affordability and unmatched speed,” said Tracy. Customers will also enjoy the lowest cost of ownership and lowest energy consumption in its class, according to HP. The company also noted that the device is 20 percent faster thanks to improved print quality and 3 times as fast when scanning thanks to the eDuplex scanner. Its sister device, the single-function PageWide Pro 552, is fast, too, pushing out 50 ppm in professional mode, and up to 70 ppm in the general office mode.

The HP PageWide Pro 400 series is suited for 3 to 10 users printing up to 4,500 pages a month. As with its PageWide cousins, HP says that the Pro 452 and Pro MFP 477 deliver affordable, professional color and speeds of 40 ppm (in professional mode) and 55 ppm in general office mode. Rounding out the family is the PageWide Pro 300 series, a scaled down version that can reach speeds of up to 30 ppm in professional mode and 45 ppm in general office mode.  HP also noted that the company intends to expand the PageWide Technology portfolio in hopes to redefine the copier market with a new portfolio of A3 multifunction printers (MFPs).

Services and Solutions with an Eye Toward Security
Last autumn, HP announced FutureSmart—a firmware package geared towards locking down print systems—and updates for JetAdvantage Security Manager, positioning the company’s devices among the most secure in the industry. And today, HP took its case for superior security a step further with the announcement of Secure Managed Print Services (SMPS)—a combination of existing hardware, software, and services geared towards protecting printers, a vulnerable end-point for security breaches.

According to HP, typical MFPs have security holes that can be easily exploited. Whether it be attacks on more sophisticated components like the BIOS and firmware or the device’s control panel, to something as simple as a document containing sensitive data sitting in the output tray, the possibility of a breach is real, and the results can be disastrous. “Managing the threat landscape involves securing every end-point in an IT infrastructure, and often, print security is over looked,” said Michael Howard, head of HP Security Advisory Practice. And if you don’t have the good security practices in place, explained Howard, you can expect to pay the price. “A single breach can cost a company an average of $7.7 million.”

What is SMPS, and How is it Different from MPS?
HP’s Secured Managed Print Service redefines traditional MPS by delivering what HP claims is superior security with “the world’s most secure printers with self-healing capabilities”; software security solutions that “detect, protect, and manage the fleet”; and services provided by HP’s security experts that include risk assessment and developing and maintaining a print security policy.

HP is confident that their channel partners “can deliver many of the major components of HP Secure MPS” and hope to reach the mid-market customer segments.

HP’s Three-Pronged Defense
By no means is HP’s traditional MPS insecure. That iteration delivers hardware with upgradable and self-healing security features, firmware updates, device settings and password security, and HDD encryption and disposal, which meets the security needs for some customers. But if customers are seeking “the most comprehensive device, data, and document security,” then HP’s SMPS is the way to go.

HP claims their latest devices are the most secure in the world thanks to their ability to self-heal. Other features—such as run-time intrusion detection, HP SureStart, and the HP FutureSmart firmware—further exemplify the level of security an SMPS customer should expect. SMPS automatically maintains CA-signed digital certificates to safeguard devices from external attacks, and included advanced authentication and access control features. On top of that, SMPS automates device settings and maintenance recovery. The company also paid mind to the mobile revolution sweeping the world’s workforce by including features to lock down mobile printing.

As mentioned before, securing print operations requires attention to each and every aspect of the device, including the simple things like the output tray. There is no solution to carelessness or forgetfulness among humans. There are, however, ways of preventing those qualities from manifesting themselves in the form of a security breach. SMPS will feature secure pull printing solutions, which can eliminate the stacks of paper that form in and around the output tray when users fail to retrieve print jobs they submitted. And with HP Access Control integration into an organization’s fleet, administrators can rest assured that only authorized users will access their system. The service will also include fraud and anti-counterfeit solutions geared at keeping confidential information private.

Network security is only as good as the policies it is built on. HP’s SMPS integrate with SIEM and Splunk, and offers transparent, enhanced reporting functionalities. Outside of the cost savings that can be derived from knowing exactly what was printed, reports can be used to improve policy. And we all know that strong policy makes for robust network robust security. According to HP, SMPS will help customers in regulated industries comply with all regulations, easing the tension of business owners who frequently fear fines and sanctions. 

Also available is the HP Secure Print Analysis tool for educating administrators about the breadth of print security requirements. Further, the company offers HP Quick Assess, a service that demonstrates current device vulnerabilities to help companies improve their security.

So What Does This All Mean?
The breach of customer data that occurred at Target stores serves as a vivid example to businesses. According to Wired’s Kim Zetter, “The thieves breached the point-of-sale system (POS) and stole customer magstripe data, including names, credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates and everything else needed to make counterfeit cards.” As Michael Howard mentioned in the conference call, end-point devices are vulnerable to attacks. In Target’s case, an estimated 40 million customer’s credit and debit card numbers were stolen.

To say that POS devices and MFPs are vastly different in this case would be foolish. According to Zetter, in a lesser publicized attack in which “thieves breached the point-of-sale system of 63 Barnes and Noble stores in nine states. In that case, the hackers installed malware on the point-of-sale card readers to sniff the card data and record PINs as customers typed them.” Just as easily, a hacker could breach a MFP and collect sensitive customer data. And likely, that could go on much longer without anyone noticing. After all, it took Target two weeks to notice someone was poking around their system, and they’re a giant company with plenty of resources. Imagine how long a law office or a small accounting firm—who presumably may not have as many resources invested in IT—would go without noticing this type of breach? On top of that, most businesses aren’t equipped with the resources to handle the backlash from a breach like this, and would likely be forced to close their doors.

HP is taking a proactive approach to stop their devices from becoming the next POS-failure of the printing world. In effect, HP is trying to keep their customers name out of the newspapers by providing the perfect combination of hardware, software, and services.