Guest Column | April 1, 2010

Guest Column: Copy Machines: The Unlikely Threat To Your Health IT Network

By Mark Kadrich, president and CEO, The Security Consortium

Last month we talked about how we are similar and this month I'm going to highlight one of those similarities: printer/copiers. Or as they are referred to by the vendors and leasing companies: multifunction devices.

We all use them. They're everywhere.

At this point though, a bit of history is in order.

In the old days, printers were relatively simple things. We sent them ASCII characters or, if you were an IBM'r, EBCDIC characters, and the printer would dutifully hammer out the document. Soon, it became evident that to eliminate the delays on the printer's computer that were caused by the slow mechanical printing speed, one could add computer memory. Called buffers, this memory was used to store the data while the slow mechanical part of the printer caught up with the faster part controlled by the computer. To make printers even faster, the time-intensive processing was offloaded from the computers and shifted to the printer itself. This meant adding some processing capability to interpret printer control codes that dealt with converting things into commands that generated tabs, top of forms, margins, etc.

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