How We Safely Collect Print Data
3 min read
We depend on our NSight Application to safely collect printing data to understand clients’ print environments. The NSight tool automates and simplifies meter readings and reduces manual intervention by monitoring supply levels on networked devices.
Naturally, IT people are apprehensive about bringing in a new application into their business network for data collection. We understand the concern, but with NSight, there’s no cause to worry. The security practices and processes around use of NSight alleviate any worries about allowing access to your business network.
An NSight-based assessment provides a holistic view of your print fleet — both device status and printer usage — through tracking, understanding and control features (based on powerful technology from FMAudit.) The data is accurate, current and most important, actionable.
This article explains safety features designed into NSight use and why enterprises can be assured of print data collection without risk to their business data or network.
Minimally Invasive and Mindful of Network Bandwidth
The intelligent NSight software extracts minimal information from each printer, copier and MFP using the least possible bandwidth. Each device query uses just a few KB of data. The NSight tool only sends relevant queries according to fields each target device supports. Some other products send a fixed set of all possible queries to every networked device.
To further reduce drain on network bandwidth, NSight communicates with a maximum of 20 print devices at a time. Each IP within the configured range is queried, and if there’s no response within the timeout period, NSight moves on to the next IP address.
Secure Print Data Collection and Transmission
NSight performs scheduled print assessments automatically without manual intervention or loss of security. The NSight application is installed onsite, but the data collection tool is embedded on a USB key, so it conducts fleet assessments without needing to install any software. Data is retained on the USB key for additional analysis and reports.
- Data transmission from printers to outside sources is restricted.
- No confidential information gathered at all via audit tool
- No other details reported except about equipment being monitored
- Only collects and encrypts information needed for printing analysis
SNMP Packets Protect Print Data
NSight monitors network devices using encrypted Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) for information exchange. SNMP requires both username and password which network administrators can determine. Data collection remains confined to device data protected by the secure SNMP packets.
NSight extracts data from the Management Information Base (MIB), a database found in network-connected devices. NSight uses packet protection during these transactions, so information and communication transmit reliably and securely.
The MIB communicates with print devices to gather operational information made available via the device firmware and an SNMP Management Information Base (MIB)
The MIB holds data such as:
- Model name
- Toner level
- Current status
After Data Collection, What Happens Next?
A backend system houses data received from NSight data collection tools. Captured data is sent to the central website using HTTPS, HTTP or a proprietary encrypted file.
The website is a safe central repository to:
- View data using a browser
- Generate reports
- Configure alert workflows and notifications
- Synchronize data with ERP for billing, supply fulfillment
Secure Automation for Confident Print Data Collection
What would an NSight assessment reveal about your print environment? Just reach out and let’s find out.