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Five Advantages of RFID for Secure Printing

Most organizations are opting for some form of print management today—and it's easy to understand why.
By John Villegas
May 19, 2019

Print management helps companies control costs, protect confidential information and share expenses fairly between departments. But what's the best identity-authentication solution?

Personal identification number (PIN)- or password-based systems are the default and are the most commonly used solution across the industry. But radio frequency identification (RFID) provides significant advantages in security, speed, simplicity, savings and user satisfaction. Here's why more companies are moving to RFID for their print-management needs.

Passwords and PINs can be easily compromised when users share them with colleagues, or if a bad actor watches over someone's shoulder to steal their information. PINs can also be easily mis-keyed, releasing the wrong job to the wrong person. Whether accidental or intentional, if the job released includes confidential information—say, HR records or company financial data—security is compromised. RFID cards, which are typically assigned as employee IDs and door-access cards, are less likely to be shared between employees and cannot be easily duplicated or hacked. Card readers can be configured to read different outputs (e.g., binary, decimal and hexadecimal), adding complexity that makes it nearly impossible for the information on the card to be copied or stolen.

The user interfaces on printers are not designed for easy entry of complex information. Frequent mis-keys slow employees down and result in queues at the printer during busy times of the day. Usernames and passwords offer superior security compared to PINs but take much more time to enter—especially if employees must toggle between keyboards for lowercase and capital letters, numbers and special characters. While the time may seem insignificant, it can add up to a surprisingly large frustration for employees with frequent print jobs. RFID readers improve productivity and speed up lines at the printer—employees can simply scan their cards, pick up their jobs and leave.

RFID readers take advantage of technology that companies are already using. Employees can use the ID cards they already carry to get into the building to pick up their print jobs. (If ID cards are not already RFID-based, a special RFID sticker can be added to them.) Since workers typically always have their ID cards on their person, there is nothing additional to carry and no new PINs or passwords to remember. What's more, RFID cards are easy to use, with virtually no training required—employees can just wave their card in front of the reader.

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