Doctor doing paperwork at his desk.

Managed Print Services Solve Healthcare Print Security Woes

6 Apr 2018 by Insight Editor

Printing is an integral part of day-to-day business processes across many organizations in the healthcare industry. However, a poorly managed print environment and the typical amount of paperwork involved in patient care can generate considerable costs.

Healthcare print security can be one of the most challenging areas for IT departments. If printers are vulnerable to attacks, patient data can become compromised, damaging an institution's reputation if security lapses aren't handled in a timely fashion.

Fortunately, hospitals and healthcare institutions can combat these problems with innovative printing and workflow solutions, enabling IT teams to deliver better security processes in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Improving healthcare print security

Healthcare IT professionals are tasked with facilitating the delivery of high-quality healthcare while ensuring the security and confidentiality of patient information — all while working within limited budgets. Printers only exacerbate these challenges.

According to TechRepublic, hackers are targeting endpoint Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and today's multifunction printers fall squarely within that category. This makes it even more urgent for healthcare organizations to secure these devices against potential attacks. Managed print services provide a comprehensive solution to complex healthcare print security dilemmas by protecting several aspects of the environment at once: devices, data and documents.

Secure printers can automatically detect cyberattacks in progress at the device level, taking advantage of firmware white listing and runtime intrusion detection to fend off incursions and ensure the integrity of a printer fleet.

Some printers deployed as part of managed print services programs can self-heal from attacks in progress. If their BIOS has been compromised in any way, they restart using a safe "golden copy" of the BIOS. If malware is sending suspicious requests, "calling home" to malicious servers, advanced print software can terminate those requests and trigger a self-healing reboot. All this happens automatically, without any intervention from IT departments, while monitoring tools proactively alert security teams that an incident has taken place, allowing for timely responses.

Information workflow solutions use data encryption to protect sensitive documents from prying eyes while in transit. These services further guard your documents once they reach the printer through secure user authentication and pull printing, requiring valid forms of authentication such as smart cards or PINs to claim print jobs. This results in a reduction of printer-related security breaches.

Additionally, these technologies can automatically lock or block certain print and send destinations, even deleting files that have been dormant in the print queue for 24 hours. Healthcare IT teams can defend their print environments by securing device ports and hard drives. All of these features prevent confidential patient information from being intercepted by unauthorized parties both from inside and outside an environment.

Optimizing printer fleets

Healthcare IT leaders are responsible for optimizing the security of their printer fleet as a whole, not just the security of individual printers. Managed print services are a strategic asset in this regard as well.

If your organization has existing security monitoring systems, printers can be connected to them for a holistic view of any threats throughout the organization. Secure printing services also provide automated monitoring and compliance reporting tools that healthcare IT professionals can use to track printer security incidents and isolate infected printers so they don't transmit a virus or malware to other printers. These tools ensure patches and updates are applied across a printer fleet, addressing potential vulnerabilities in a proactive and timely manner.

As trusted partners of healthcare IT teams, managed print service providers offer expertise in developing cohesive printing security strategies that take an organization's unique needs into account and better protect the network environment. They also assist in performing regular security assessments and audits, analyzing changes in the environment and issuing tailored recommendations for continually improving security practices. This ensures confidential patient data stays safeguarded from cybercriminals while freeing IT resources to focus on other priority tasks.

Enabling IT

Managed print services such as HP's drive efficiencies and cost savings while bolstering a healthcare organization's overall cybersecurity readiness. Healthcare IT professionals can leverage these managed print services to glean valuable insights into their unique print environments, allowing them to refine and optimize printing processes based on trends, usage and costs.

Centralized print fleet management also increases uptime, preventing problems before they happen and reducing the amount of staff time required to troubleshoot printers — which keeps patient care proceeding and revenue flowing. Managed print services can help IT organizations scale printing resources according to the healthcare organization's needs as well, ensuring flexibility and adaptability in a rapidly changing and competitive market.

Although healthcare organizations face many challenges today (particularly when it comes to securing confidential patient information and facilitating greater business innovation with limited resources), they can achieve these goals with the help of managed print services. By better protecting the cybersecurity of your printers, data and documents, your organization can ensure patient information is defended from would-be attackers. And, with the added benefit of HP’s embedded print security features that optimize fleets in cost-effective and efficient manners, you can free resources to advance your healthcare service delivery even further.

Keep healthcare data safe.

Insight and HP Managed Print Services will give you peace of mind.

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