User badge authentication should simplify lives and wallets – not add an additional layer of complexity.
Unfortunately, the mantra ‘One Ring to Rule Them All’ is deeply embedded into our psyche. After all, who would not want to claim that their individual authentication method – whether ID card, device, or system – is the one secure way to go?
The problem is that this approach is simply not true – and it also flies in the face of end-users’ actual behavior when it comes to getting their badges read and work done at the multifunctional printer (MFP).
No organization really knows what’s going to be in their end-users pockets every day of the week – so why set yourself up as the ID Enforcer? Even worse, why play catch-up, adding on authentication protocols and extra hardware at the last minute?
It pays to be authentic
The security and the financial benefits from user authentication at the MFP are undeniable. By forcing users to authenticate themselves before scanning or printing anything, schools can put their faculty and students on a budget, giving them defined access to expensive printers. At the corporate level, companies can dramatically slash the risk of an accidental data breach by adding pull printing for their devices. User authentication is critical.
Then there are the rewards from “Authentication Plus.” Once an organization has figured out how to effectively authenticate its users – from their choice of card or device -- it can add additional features like a recharge tower to better manage the costs and use of its MFP fleet. Just in the educational space, this enables payment options such as credit accounting, cash payment, and user coupons. Great capabilities – and they all start with accurate authentication.
What’s in your pocket?
For a quick look at the complex authentication issues, look in your pocket. In addition to the smartphone, there’s probably a combination of payment cards, driver’s license, work ID, metro card, some loose change, and an incentive card or two. And, the exact pocket contents will vary by day and the weather.
Effective authentication means that almost all these cards – and the smartphone – can be used at the MFP. Having a one-badge only solution adds an organizational cost as users will forget wallets, phones, and ID cards on a regular basis – forcing companies to have a secondary solution and be the ID Enforcer.
Think about what’s under the hood
System complexity is in the eyes of the beholder. For the end user, they should simply be able to use almost any card in their pocket to register and authenticate themselves. From their perspective, it should be simple and easy.
Getting to this simple solution requires a bit of foresight. It means organizations should look ahead to the next wave of devices, employee badges, and RFID protocols. It also might mean thinking about incorporating a SIM card slot, enabling onsite upgrades, and serving several generations of printer hardware leases – all while being fully embedded in their Managed Print Services.
Future-proofing your badge reader and the authentication process is really about simplification. It’s about making a decision now on hardware that is capable of simplifying your life – and the lives of your users – for a few years to come.