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Build document management security into Zero Trust environments

Zero Trust models are gaining traction internationally.
Zero Trust models are gaining traction internationally.

Organisations implementing Zero Trust strategies should not overlook the potential vulnerabilities in information and document management systems and printer endpoints.

This is the warning from Sebastian McNamee, Business Development Manager for uniFLOW Online at Canon South Africa.

McNamee says Zero Trust models are gaining traction internationally and set to grow locally over the next few years. “However, printers and document management solutions could create vulnerabilities in otherwise secure environments. Printer servers could be hacked, and documents containing sensitive information could be stored on printers and scanners. It is important to ensure the print environment is secured with checks such as encryption, access control and pull printing,” he says.

“Canon’s uniFLOW Online, hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud, was one of the first cloud-based document management solutions to be 100% compatible with Zero Trust networks,” he says. “It is a mature and trusted solution that addresses security and data privacy concerns, and supports compliance with legislation such as POPIA and GDPR.”

McNamee says because uniFLOW is a cloud-based solution, it extends Zero Trust controls to remote workers, wherever they are. Hosted within the Microsoft Azure cloud, uniFLOW security layers include multi-factor authentication and identity access management, device security, and monitoring and reporting tools. The uniFLOW SmartClient for Windows and Mac takes over tasks such as the storage of the print job information or provision of print job lists, ensuring print jobs stay secure and local.

Canon's uniFLOW Online is used by businesses of all sizes
Canon's uniFLOW Online is used by businesses of all sizes

“These features are in line with Canon’s trusted, 360-degree approach to security,” he says.

He notes that IDC MarketScape has recognised Canon as a leader in worldwide print and document security solutions and services. uniFLOW Online has also won the Buyers Lab (BLI) award six times in a row, including in 2024.

Addressing local concerns about data sovereignty, McNamee says: “One of the biggest misconceptions around uniFLOW Online is that because it’s a cloud-based service, sensitive data leaves the company’s network. It’s important to note that the data itself doesn’t go anywhere, it remains in the customer's network. The cloud portion is only used for authentication and reporting, so customers have the assurance that their data doesn’t reside in the cloud.”

Addressing top business priorities

McNamee says security is just one of three top priorities of businesses today. “In addition to strengthening security, organisations also need to control and reduce costs, and increase user productivity. uniFLOW addresses all three,” he says.

He says uniFLOW helps reduce variable costs such as toner and paper, printing infrastructure and maintenance. “In the cloud you don’t need a server, licensing for the software, and IT resources to maintain the server. Modern print management solutions also reduce paper and toner costs by forcing rules like printing duplex, or allowing only certain people to print in colour.”

“uniFLOW also offers features such as cost allocation using cost centres. With this feature, organisations can assign a monthly budget to a user or department and as the user scans or prints, it starts deducting costs. When the person reaches zero, they can’t do any further printing or printing until they have further budget approved,” he says. uniFLOW’s detailed reports also reveal actual running costs and inefficient device use.

uniFLOW Online oversees the entire print and scan environment.
uniFLOW Online oversees the entire print and scan environment.

uniFLOW supports productivity by enabling users to print from anywhere, to any location. McNamee says: “For example, remote and mobile workforces can automatically print to devices in the location where they are, with no need for IT support or manual interventions.”

uniFLOW Online oversees the entire print and scan environment, simplifying security and device management and reducing the maintenance and support needed.

uniFLOW Online is used by customers of all sizes – from large enterprises to small businesses. The subscription model is billed per device, per month. uniFLOW Online offers continuous improvements and updates.

For more information visit https://www.canon.co.za/business/products/software/uniflow/

* Article first published on www.itweb.co.za

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