How to make sure your print setup is GDPR compliant
Morten Sorensen 09 Jun 2021

Printing processes are an essential part of most businesses’ day-to-day operations, and as such, should benefit from the same security features as your other processes and procedures. So why is it then that print is often left out of a company’s compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR?

In this article, we’ll go over how GDPR affects print management and how you can ensure that your company is doing everything it can to protect against common security risks, including a possible data breach.

Unsure of how GDPR relates to your business? GDPR outlines that any company that collects the personal data (including IP addresses) of anyone from EU member states must comply, so the chances are good that this includes you.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was designed to motivate organisations to find, implement, and revise effective security measures in response to the threats of a rapidly changing technological landscape.

Most of the tech equipment we use daily has evolved dramatically over the past years, and printing is no different. Today, we benefit from smart Multi-Function Printers (MFPs) that can process sophisticated tasks that go far beyond simply producing a printed document.

Today’s printers successfully capture, route, and store information, and while this is incredibly convenient for us, it also means that businesses have to take printers into their overall security strategy.

GDPR has several supervisory authorities that help with enforcement. In the UK, it’s the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

What are the rules of print GDPR?

Here is a brief outline of the principles that the GDPR uses in its governance:

  • Organisations must keep a clear and transparent document that outlines their privacy policy
  • Organisations must have a clear purpose for collecting personal data
  • Organisations must collect as little data as is necessary
  • Organisations must correct data that is incorrect
  • Organisations must not store data past what is necessary
  • Organisations must store data through secure means

In the case of a data breach, GDPR states that companies must inform their users within 72 hours of an incident.

GDPR has been around since 2018, but many companies often overlook how this affects their print jobs. But doing this is a mistake.

Possible GDPR breaches that come from printing

More printing features = a greater need for print security. So, where could possible GDPR issues happen with printers? Here’s a brief overview of possibilities:

Unencrypted data

If you’re not careful with your printing setup, you could unknowingly be letting employees send information over an unencrypted network, leaving them vulnerable to interception.

Outdated printer servers

If you’re still using outdated printer servers, there is a possibility that their security features are not up to the industry standard. This means that information is being stored in an unsecured environment.

Unattended printer tray

Possible data breaches can also be simple and low-tech. A sensitive document left on a printer tray, for example, would possibly count as a GDPR violation. Luckily there is a way around this scenario with secure pull printing. Secure pull printing is the only way for an organization to reduce the risk of this particular kind of breach.

Safer printing takes place in the cloud

It’s easy to understand why GDPR regulations would make it necessary to be careful with your print servers. Which, by the way, while we’re on the topic—did you know that, contrary to popular belief, cloud print services are actually a safer way to handle your print jobs?

Cloud print has become more popular over the last decade, with many businesses at a loss as to what to do with the departure of Google Cloud Print. Fortunately, there are cloud print services filling the void like EveryonePrint’s HCP (Hybrid Cloud Platform).

Not only does the HCP get rid of the need for clunky on-site printer servers, but it also gives companies the option to enjoy a high standard of security designed for Zero-Trust environments. With HCP, companies can configure their own secure print environment that is 100% in compliance with GDPR and can avoid frightening security vulnerabilities like the Windows Print Spooler Vulnerability.

Plus, with service available across all platforms including Chrome OS, your team will have no trouble adjusting to HCP. THis is especially good news for your IT team who is sure to enjoy their newfound peace.

For more comprehensive information on how you can make sure your print services are GDPR compliant, check out this GDPR guide. Then, when you’re ready, reach out to us for your very own free HCP trial—you won’t regret it.

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