Brother's Latest Office Printers Help Plug Data Leaks

The company's newest color laser printers and all-in-ones address an often-overlooked source of data leaks.

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Brother on March 15 took the wraps off seven new color laser and multifunction printers that offer businesses of practically all sizes the tools to combat data leakage due to the improper handling of printed materials.

One of those tools is near-field communications (NFC) card reader support, Steve Feldstein, director of B2B marketing at Brother's Business Laser and Scanner Products division, told eWEEK. "We support the standard NFC mobile printing and scanning" capabilities that enable smartphone-toting workers to use the devices without having to log into a PC, he said.

However, the new printers go a step further by employing the technology for "network user authentication purposes," he said.

Organizations that use one of the printers can piggyback on their existing Microsoft Active Directory or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) user and access management environments to provide secure access to the devices. For example, with a quick tap of an NFC-enabled ID card, the printers will only release print jobs that are specific to each user (requires a third-party print management and security solution), preventing data leaks that can occur when stacks of printouts containing sensitive information collect around a workgroup printer waiting to be retrieved.

Feldstein said administrators can further mitigate data leakage by restricting features such as scanning to outbound email on a per-user basis. Typically, midsize companies and larger enterprises have the IT staff to support Active Directory and other identity services, while smaller organizations take more of an ad-hoc approach to managing their users. For those businesses, Feldstein said his company includes Secure Function Lock software and other capabilities to help ensure that the devices don't lead to a printing and scanning free-for-all.

On the productivity front, some models feature new touch screens with updated user interfaces, including the 7-inch display on the MFC-L9570CDW. Apart from a new, more user-friendly look and feel, Feldstein said Brother has massively streamlined document and scanning tasks and workflows, reducing complex print and scanning activities into just a few presses of the touch screen.

As with many other aspects of the modern workplace, the cloud also looms over Brother's newest printers.

Using the Brother Web Connect interface, users can print directly from popular cloud collaboration and file storage services, including Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. They can also scan to cloud-based notetaking apps like Evernote, Microsoft OneNote and others.

In terms of performance, the printers can hit scanning speeds of up to 52 images per minute in simplex mode and up to 104 images per minute in duplex mode. The printers can deliver print speed of up to 33 pages per minute, in both black and white and color, according to the company. Optional 250-sheet capacity trays and a Tower Tray stand offer paper-handling capacities of up to 2,380 pages.

Brother's new color laser printers, the HL-L8260CDW, HL-L8360CDW and HL-L8360CDWT, will ship by the end of March to online retailers and office superstores. Prices start at $529.99 for the HL-L8260CDW, but Brother predicts an estimated street price of $329.999. The two multifunction printers, the MFC-L8610CDW ($529.99 street price) and MFC-L8900CDW ($599.99 street price), will ship in April.

Finally, the high-end Brother Workhorse series models, the HL-L9310CDW and MFC-L9570CDW, will be available exclusively through direct market resellers and technology and business services providers enrolled in Brother's Authorized Partner Program.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...