Remote working was initially an unexpected turn of events in early 2020 in response to the global pandemic; however, it quickly became an effective option for the workplace—or lack thereof. IDC has predicted that mobile workers will come to dominate the US workforce over the next four years. By 2024, their number is expected to hit 93.5 million, up from today’s 78.5 million. Although workers have adapted to working from home, it often comes with its own set of challenges.
Challenges Remote Employees Face
Sometimes mobile and remote workers need remote printing and on-demand network access. In IT circles, that access is known to carry certain risks. According to an article in IT Brief, more than 80% of IT leaders surveyed by Tessian expressed concern that their company could be more vulnerable to cyberattacks due to staff who are working from home.
Those and other findings—including a worrying rise in user-facilitated phishing attacks—were revealed in Tessian’s report titled Securing the Future of Hybrid Working.
For a growing number of organizations, the way to balance remote collaboration and security is through Zero Trust.
About Zero Trust
We now know employees have accessible printing capabilities outside of the workplace, but what is Zero Trust and how is it going to keep your network secure? Let’s break it down.
Like its name suggests, Zero Trust is an approach that says end users and vital IT infrastructure shouldn’t mix.
In a Zero Trust environment, mission-critical infrastructure like servers and printers reside on their own tightly controlled network. This internal network is kept separate from the employee network. Denying access (rather than granting it) is the default. Server and printer access are only permitted as necessary based on user ID and other identifying criteria.
Since Zero Trust entails strict separation, it would seem to be at odds with remote collaboration and work-from-home policies. But that’s not true. Let’s explore how this environment works well with the example of remote printing.
Remote Printing Can Coexist with Zero Trust
PrinterLogic’s Off-Network Printing bridges the gap between hardened security practices and a seamless printing experience for remote workers. Even when those users are on different networks, they can safely send their print jobs to authorized printers behind the company firewall. Their native print workflows remain the same.
To do that, PrinterLogic’s serverless printing infrastructure uses two components: an External Gateway and an Internal Routing Service. The first receives the off-network print jobs from the user’s remote workstation. The second detects and relays those incoming print jobs to internal printers.
The solution is highly secure: Data is encrypted before it is routed through the internet and is not unencrypted until it’s behind the organization’s firewall and on the network where the printer is located.
That enables use cases such as:
- Zero Trust networks. As Zero Trust becomes more widely adopted in the enterprise, organizations need to support remote printing without inconveniencing end users.
- Onsite contractors. Fixed-term employees like contractors and freelancers are often limited to guest network access. But they still need local printer access.
- Business-affiliate printing. This is common in healthcare scenarios. Here, an independent affiliate (like a hospital clinic), needs to print remotely to the partner organization’s secure primary network.
PrinterLogic’s Off-Network Printing is available with PrinterLogic SaaS as well as PrinterLogic’s Virtual Appliance.
Further Benefits of PrinterLogic’s Off-Network Printing
Creating a more seamless and secure environment for mobile and work-from-home employees to print remotely is just the start. PrinterLogic’s Off-Network Printing brings additional advantages, too. These include:
- Reduced infrastructure. By eliminating the need for VPNs and external portals to provide printer access, Off-network Printing cuts down on costs and complexity.
- High availability. PrinterLogic is part of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. That helps to augment reliability through optimized routing of print jobs and added redundancy.
- Mobility and remote collaboration. No matter where team members are, they can all print to the same devices as long as they’re connected to the Internet.
As the ranks of remote workers grow in tandem with the demand for remote printing, PrinterLogic’s Off-Network Printing lets you maintain tight, Zero Trust security while ensuring convenient access to company MFPs. For more details on configurations and scenarios, be sure to read our white paper on Off-Network Printing.