Giving MFDs the Respect They Deserve

by, Mark Gibbs, security author/writer

When it comes to security, printers, scanners, copiers, and fax machines were the Rodney Dangerfield’s of the network: They “didn’t get no respect.”

Traditionally, this lack of concern over the security of networked printers, scanners, copiers, and fax machines was for a pretty good reason; there wasn’t much to protect. Beyond basic security measures such as managing user access rights and securing input and output queues there really wasn’t much opportunity for these devices to be compromised or present a security threat.

That was then but now, it’s all changed. All of those individual functions have become far more sophisticated and more often than not they are merged into a single multifunction device or MFD. But to run a collection of sophisticated input-output subsystems you need software that’s much more powerful than the embedded code that used to run the individual devices which is why today’s MFDs run operating systems such as Linux.

While powerful operating systems solve the functionality problem they also introduce a whole new problem: How do you “lock down” a general purpose operating system so that it’s protected from hackers and malware? While there are various tools that can be used to improve operating system security by cutting out what isn’t needed, a much greater level of protection is required to make these products as “bulletproof” as they need to be for today’s enterprise network environments.

Xerox approached this challenge by partnering with McAfee to integrate McAfee Embedded Control, an advanced system integrity assurance and management product, with Xerox multifunction devices to ensure that only authorized software can be run and that unauthorized code modifications are detected and blocked.

The integration of McAfee Embedded Control with Xerox’s own Xerox Device Manager means that network managers can control and configure, update, and secure all networked multifunction devices on their network as well as handle alerts and exceptions through a single control panel.

The end result of this partnership between Xerox and McAfee is a new generation of network multifunction devices that are as comprehensively protected as any network server, workstation, or router.

Finally, when it comes to security Xerox network multifunction devices have given printers, scanners, copiers, and fax machines what they deserve: Real respect.


Mark Gibbs is a networking expert who has written four books and numerous articles about networking and computer technology. Gibbs is also a regular contributor to Network World and Forbes.


Mark Gibbs filed this content as a paid contributor to Xerox. The content is the author’s opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of Xerox.


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