Data-sensitive environments are no longer limited to defense agencies, power generation firms and related contractors, but include any enterprise that places a high value on its intellectual property. These environments require specific security precautions to ensure the security and integrity of sensitive and confidential information.
Security breaches can occur when documents are not disposed of properly. This is not only limited to hard copy documents but also electronic data. Unfortunately, simply deleting files isn’t enough. Threats to your data and secure information linger long after you delete a file.
The disk drive that is part of a large format printing device’s controller is used as a temporary repository for spooling and processing data (e.g. copy, scan and print jobs). These drives are susceptible to data remanence – the residual representation of data that remains even after the data is deleted – which can inadvertently make sensitive data available to unauthorized users.
The Importance of Electronic Shredding
Proper disposal of electronic data stored on a large format printer’s disk drive is imperative to preventing inadvertent disclosure of sensitive or confidential information. To prevent this from happening, specific security precautions should be integrated into all network devices.
Purchasing a large format device that is equipped with electronic data shredding (or e-shredding) functionality can help prevent recovery of previously printed, scanned and copied documents. With e-shredding technology, data is overwritten in such a way that makes it impossible to retrieve or reconstruct it. Print, copy and scan jobs sent to a large format print system enabled with this technology are completely overwritten and erased upon completion of the job. This can be particularly useful in decentralized walk-up environments where many different users have unregulated access to the system.
Electronic Shredding Options
Most systems that offer e-shredding functionality allow the administrator to select from a number of overwrite algorithms. Common algorithms used in the United States include:
- Gutmann: All jobs on the system are erased in 35 overwrite passes. An overwrite session consists of a lead-in of four random write patterns, followed by 27 specific patterns executed in a random order, and a lead-out of four more random patterns.
- US Department of Defense 5220.22-M: This is generally regarded as the highest level standard for sanitization to counter data remanence. It meets U.S. Department of Defense requirements for erasure of disk media.
- Custom: The system administrator defines the number of overwrite passes manually.
Implementing e-shredding in your large format workflow is an easy way to protect your confidential data. Don’t wait until it is too late and you security has been compromised. To learn more about secure data image overwrite technology on large format devices, read the whitepaper “Safeguard your Business’ Sensitive Data.”
Author: Bob Honn, Director of Marketing Services, Wide Format Printing Systems Division, Océ North America
This series explains connectivity options for CAD hardware. The first post covered network connections and USB. Now we’ll discuss PCI, FireWire and eSATA.
Yes, the old standard PCI add-in card is still around, and from a user’s perspective is completely different than PCI Express. A PCI slot can’t support a PCI Express card, and vice versa. However, workstations will still include a PCI slot or two for low-demand legacy cards. Unless you have some special legacy PCI requirements, you’re unlikely to be disappointed by whatever your OEM provides.
In the age of first-generation USB, FireWire (also known as IEEE 1394) was pretty much a requirement, as USB’s bandwidth was too wimpy to handle video. That changed dramatically with USB 2.0, which more or less matched FireWire in performance.
At this point, if you plan to keep a legacy device that requires FireWire — and check it out closely, as many devices that support FireWire also support USB 2.0 — then of course make sure your machine has a FireWire port (and you can always add a PCI or PCI Express card).
Most modern workstations also include an eSATA connection, a high-speed computer bus interface that connects host bus adapters to mass storage devices such as hard disk and optical drives. With USB 2.0′s advance in speed, most of us just naturally opt for USB to accommodate external storage. And with USB 3.0 on the horizon, it’s hard to see what use eSATA will serve in the longer term, beyond supporting legacy devices.
Connectivity is a generic term that describes how a computer connects to other devices to transfer data back and forth. The term covers everything from networks to wireless to printer cables. Based on the nature of CAD work, some sort of connectivity options are going to be required. This series will cover the major areas of connectivity to help you decide the right ones for your situation.
Networking: Ethernet and Wireless
Every workstation comes with a wired Gigabit Ethernet network port; higher-end machines might have two or more. Wireless networking is typically available for desktop workstations, so you’ll need to decide whether to add that option.
Consider your security requirements with wireless networking if you are looking at mobile workstations. It’s one thing to be connected to your secure office wireless route (it is secure, right?). It’s another when you take the workstation on the road.
USB has certainly lived up to its name. The Universal Serial Bus is absolutely universal, in terms of its pervasiveness across platforms and device types. USB 2.0 began replacing the first-generation standard technology a few years ago and has become the de facto general-purpose I/O interface. It yields a tenfold increase in maximum available bandwidth, a jump that is easily witnessed when, for example, transferring large models or videos to a flash drive.
The jump to next-generation USB 3.0 will also be substantial — another tenfold increase — but its impact will be less pronounced. Version 2.0 has been a slam dunk for just about every user and for many types of media (music, pictures, even video to some degree). It’s harder to predict the benefits of moving to USB 3.0, as they will vary by use.
Still, USB 3.0 will in all likelihood supersede 2.0 over time. Some workstations today already support 3.0, not natively via the Intel platform but via an additional motherboard chip. It’s widely believed that Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge platforms (expected to launch by the end of 2011) will include native USB 3.0 support. Unless you frequently transfer huge files over USB, either version should suit your needs. Take whatever your model has as a default.
Think about the number and location (front vs. back) of USB ports you want — and for that matter, flash memory card access, if you need it.
The resources department filled your request for a new printer. It can handle your workload, media requirements, and color needs. You went the extra step and purchased multiple printing devices that will take the same core size of rolled paper and the same type of toner. Good job.
Did you contact the IT department (assuming you aren’t the IT department) to let them know? Will these new high-speed printing machines work on your network? Will they work with your software? Can the operating systems your users deal with handle them? Probably but it would be wise to make sure. This is a very crucial step in picking out new printers. Will they work with your system?
Some printers have special electrical needs. Many require dedicated power connections. Talk with the manufacturer about these topics. Where will they be set up? Is there ample room? Can the service technician get all of the way around them for maintenance?
A key issue to consider is how the printers will communicate with your network. Make sure to coordinate with your IT department on this as it can be tricky. Do not assume the printer will work because the salesperson says it should. If printers are being added to the network and are not replacing older machines there could be a capacity issue. Will there be a need to print from outside of the office? Will users need wifi printing abilities? How will their workstations communicate with the printers?
Once communication issues between workstations and printers is determined to be adequate, what software issues will there be? Printing from a word processor like Microsoft Word is completely different from printing from AutoCAD. Throw in other popular programs like Adobe Photoshop and there could be issues. Are specific drivers needed? Who is going to install them on the workstations? How will they be maintained?
Establish with your IT department who will maintain the printers. How will they be named? In AutoCAD, a printer name is important. If the printer’s name changes down the road, there will be issues. Page setups often rely on printer names for identification. AutoCAD isn’t smart enough to know it’s the same printer. Page Setups will have to be fixed. This is a good way to upset many users in one step.
Whatever system is put in place, keep it and keep it simple. Later on if it is found that the system just doesn’t work, then fix it. Try to impact everyone as little as possible. Maintain the printers through the network as much as possible. It could be a long day if you had to go from workstation to workstation to fix a renamed printer issue.
In part one of this series, I discussed ways to determine your needs. This is the most important step. It won’t matter what printer is purchased if it can’t do what you need it to do. This post will cover the different types of large format printers.
Inkjet or Laser?
There are many different types of printers to choose from. These days’ printers are typically either inkjet or laser. Dot matrix and pen plotters are rarely used anymore even though they can be fun to watch.
Inkjet printers are typically less costly than laser both in initial cost and in ink/toner refills. However they do not produce the same quality print as a laser nor are they as fast. One popular option for some CAD firms is to purchase a laser printer for black and white prints and an inkjet for color prints. For smaller document sized prints, a color laser printer could still fit within the constraints of a budget. Keep in mind your needs. If color, large format prints are produced on a daily or regular basis, then a large format laser printer may be required. The cost can be justified.
Printing documents is a key part of your office’s workflow. It’s important to remember your company’s needs when looking at large format printers to determine how many you need and what kind is best for you. If printing doesn’t happen very often then spend less. If printing happens often, spend what is needed to fit the workload.
When You Need More Than One
Many times more than one printer is needed. Do yourself a favor and plan ahead. Try to purchase the same kind, same manufacturer, same core size (for rolled media), the same everything as much as possible. This makes purchasing maintenance easier and less expensive. It also reduces the space needed to store items. If your two printers are different makes and models then they will require different ink or toner. You will need to purchase ink for printer one and ink for printer two and store them. However, if the two printers took identical ink cartridges then if you purchased one extra it can be used in whichever printer runs out first. Keep your maintenance costs down be making sure as many printers as possible use the same media, ink, etc.
Next I’ll discuss tips for setting up a new large-format printer.
Before CAD became our main design tool, we drew our creations on “the board.” Once drawings were complete, there was a physical product — the drawing itself. It was very likely a piece of vellum or mylar or perhaps just a simple sheet of bond paper. I have even worked with drawings on linen. These drawings could be presented to a client, approval board or municipality. All you needed were copies. That was easy — fire up the diazo and try not to inhale too many fumes.
When CAD replaced the drafting board, there was a fundamental shift in the drafting process. Engineers and architects no longer handed their master drawings to a designer, who handed it to a detailer, who perhaps eventually gave the approved drawing to a tracer or even to an inker. With CAD software there is no physical object to pass through the ranks. Everything is digital. We don’t get a physical sheet drawing until the design is over.
It’s not always easy getting your design on paper.
Each CAD program has its own methods of printing, but we all have similar hardware issues to address when we print from CAD software. When it’s time to get a new plotter (and when I say plotter, I mean wide-format printer), there are a few things to consider when buying the right one for you.
What Do You Need to Print?
Every company is going to have different printing needs. Different design industries will have different requirements as well. The first step in picking out the printer hardware is to determine what your firm prints. Create a list of what this new machine will need to accomplish. Start with the size of the drawings your company produces. List every size and frequency. Will any printing be outsourced or will multiple sheet sets be printed in house? This will help determine the tray and feed roll capacities. If multiple sets will be printed, then print speed will have to be considered.
Who Will Be Printing?
Think about the end users as well. Will multiple users be printing at the same time? This could clog up printing and frustrate staff. Depending on workload, two printers may be a wise choice.
Color or Black and White?
Perhaps a department needs the ability to produce color exhibits. Get one color printer for them and a black and white for everyone else. Or simply only use the color printer only for color prints.
Figure out what will be printed, who will print, when, and how often. Next we’ll talk about the types of printers and how to choose the right one for you.