Page 18 - PrintIT Spring 2012

Basic HTML Version

01732 759725
Secure Print
Secure print systems that
require users to identify
themselves before a document
is output are a popular way
of reducing print volumes
and improving document
security. According to most
estimates, 10-20% of pages
sent to a secure print server
are never pulled down for
printing, indicating that a large
proportion of what we print
we don’t actually need. In
normal environments without
a secure print system, these
pages would be output as
soon as the user pressed Print
incurring a significant financial
and environmental cost.
Secure print systems are
a common feature of MPS
engagements where paper
reduction is a priority, not
least because they provide an
additional source of hardware
and software revenue for the
MPS provider. One criticism of
existing solutions is that they
are often vendor-specific or
require printers/MFPs with a
high level of functionality, such
as a touchscreen display –
again, good for the vendor but
expensive for the customer.
Recognising that many
businesses have mixed vendor
fleets and machines with
diverse capabilities, printing
virtualisation specialist UniPrint
has built on its heritage in
terminal-based computing and
developed a device-agnostic
secure print system that
will work with any print
device, in any print
and with any
No limits
UniPrint Infinity brings the benefits of follow
me and secure printing to multi-vendor print
environments. James Goulding reports
“We are vendor independent
and our software can co-exist
with existing printers,” explained
Arron Fu, VP of software
development at UniPrint.
“Our software sits on top and
enables pull printing without
being stuck with a single
vendor. If a customer wants
secure print, they don’t have to
bind themselves into a solution
from HP, Xerox or Canon. A lot of
enterprise customers don’t want
to do that,” he said.
Called UniPrint Infinity,
the solution brings together
the company’s established
universal print driver with a
network attached tablet, or
‘vPad’, on which users can
identify themselves using a PIN,
network ID or swipecard (the
pad has USB connectivity to
accommodate off-the-shelf card
and RFID readers).
There is also the option of
a software-based ‘virtual pad’
that can be installed on an
existing Windows XP device that
a customer might have lying
around, helping to reduce the
total cost of ownership. In the
future, the ‘virtual pad’ could be
embedded within devices and
UniPrint is currently exploring
the possibilities of entering into
OEM arrangements with device
Step 1. Printing
UniPrint developed its first
universal print driver in 2000
to solve problems in terminal
server-based computing where
remote users had problems
printing to desktop printers
because of instability and
incompatibility problems. It has
now introduced similar software
to support day-to-day office
The PDF-based UPD provides
a consistent interface between
the user and a print server that
holds and manages print drivers
for individual devices. This gives
office workers the same look and
feel regardless of make or model
of printer used; simplifies the
deployment of new devices or
upgrades; and reduces the need
for training.
The system converts print
jobs into encrypted PDFs that
can be printed, saved or emailed
and in the process compresses
files by up to 90% for more
efficient use of bandwidth. Other
useful features include the
capability for an IT administrator
to define one-click printer profiles
for recurring print jobs
or for specific users
to control how they
In normal use,
the UniPrint
driver displays
a list of
printers and
the user clicks
on the one they
want to print to. With
the UniPrint Infinity
secure print solution,
they choose a virtual print
queue instead.
Step 2.
Releasing the Print Job
In order to pull a print job down
from the server for output
on the device of their choice
(follow me printing), a user
must first type in their name
and authenticate themselves
at a network-attached vPad
or software-based virtual
vPad. For maximum security,
a document can be protected
with a secure PIN and in such
cases this, too, will need to
be entered. Once this has
been done, the user just has
to select the relevant print job
from their personal queue and
the printer they want to print
to. Depending on their needs,
a customer could have a vPad
next to each printer or they
could share a unit between
multiple devices.
UniPrint claims that the
simpler device management
and lower print volumes that
follow an implementation of
UniPrint’s Infinity follow me
and secure print system will
enable customers to cut print
costs by 35% and still retain the
freedom to deploy best-of-breed
devices from multiple suppliers.
The company is already looking
ahead to the next version. Due
out next year, this will include a
number of enhancements, such
as support for mobile printing
directly to the vPad; archiving
and monitoring, which will
capture all print jobs and flag
up any sensitive information
being posted and save it for
audit and compliance purposes;
and policies to enforce mono or
two-sided printing.
So how does UniPrint work?
Users can
themselves on
a touchscreen
vPad (right) or a
virtual vPad
(top right).