Features | August 17, 2021
Secure Printing and Why It's Needed
Security is something we often take for granted until it is gone. The world today constantly challenges secure information exchanges and secure document processing. It is more important than ever that businesses protect sensitive information — both their own and their customer's.
What Is Secure Printing?
Secure printing is when value is added to any document to reduce the risk of fraud, forgery, duplication or alteration. The type of value-added protection will depend on the document itself. Secure methods are used on everything from coupons to birth certificates.
It is important to note that complete prevention is nearly impossible, but there are some practices that can help mitigate risks. Ennis has specialized facilities that ensure our secure printing methods are continually evaluated and up to date. We not only focus on protecting the products we produce, but also safeguard the secure data behind them as well.
Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when it comes to secure printing.
Forms of Secure Printing
We've touched on a few forms of secure printing. Below is an expansive list of security methods:
- Void Chemical Protection: The word void appears when bleach is introduced to the document
- UV Security Thread: UV/black light reactive material that gets woven into paper (used in currency)
- Thermochromic Ink: Ink that disappears with heat (touch) and reappears when cool
- Solvent Chemical Ink: Ink that washes off in the presence of chemicals
- Microprint: Very small text that appears as a solid line, text is unable to be copied
- Prismatic Pantograph: Multiple ink colors that are blended together to form a rainbow pattern
- Laid Lines: Lines on the backside that will not easily realign if cut and a new section pasted in
- Modulus Numbering: A number algorithm used for authentication
- Latent Images (Hidden Images): When viewed straight on, a latent image reveals nothing; at an angle, an image appears
- MICR: The series of numbers and characters printed at the bottom of the check that includes account, routing and check numbers; it is required by Federal Reserve
Matching: Documents that require protective elements range in sensitivity from coupons to vital records, like birth certificates and vaccination charts. You don’t need thermochromic ink or security thread for a coupon, but you may include a form of unique numbering and expiration date. It’s all about matching the document you want protected and using the correct method(s) to do so.
The value of fraud and loss also needs to be considered so you don’t over or under-protect your product. Overprotecting may mean wasting money that could be spent elsewhere. Under-protecting leaves your product or document vulnerable to fraud.
Layers on Layers: Layering protective methods provide stronger protection against fraudsters. A combination of covert and overt methods is highly recommended. Covert methods feature attributes not openly displayed, such as chemical solvents, UV threading and fluorescent dyes. Overt methods to consider would be warning labels and watermarks that are evident just by glancing at the document or product.
Switch it Up: By switching up the combination of security methods periodically, you prevent yourself from becoming complacent and keep fraudsters on their toes.
One thing to realize is that fraud tends to be regional. What protects one attack method won’t necessarily protect against another, and methods relevant in one state may not be relevant across the nation.
Competitive Market Analysis: In order to stay on top of security trends, you need to examine not just what you are doing now or what you did in the past, but what competitors and states are doing now and have done previously as well. Northstar, an Ennis-owned plant, typically provides such an analysis for their clients.
Secure Printing and the Digital Age:
There will always be a need for secure printing — now more than ever, as vital records need even stronger protection. For example, birth certificates are becoming increasingly more secure. You need secure printing to get your passport, ID and more, too!
Even as the digital push is felt across the printing industry, secure printing is exploring and developing new ways to provide authentication and risk mitigation.
For information on secure printing services, please reach out to Northstar, an Ennis-owned plant. Our customer service team is more than happy to find the right secure printing services for you!
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