You might not think of your printer as being a security risk, but it might be; an unscrupulous employee could intercept a document as it is being printed, or use an expensive printer without permission. HP thinks they have the solution, though, with the announcement of their Secure Print Advantage software. This new software, HP claims, secures the entire printing workflow, from the moment someone hits print to when it rolls out of the printer. This, HP claims, makes their software more secure than other similar systems, which secure either the PC or the printer.
The software works by encrypting documents, setting policies that control who can and cannot access printing resources. No more trying to track down the phantom user who uses the expensive color laser to print their home photos: the software logs every print job, so any document can be traced back to the user who printed it.
For high security situations, the system can also require a hardware key to print; the document is sent to the server in an encypted format, and cannot be decrypted and printed until the user presents their digital credentails (such as a printer card) to the printer. This can also be used to allow several users to print a sensitive document scurely: they can be authorized to view and print a document by the author, with the authorizations being tracked by a central server.
The Secure Print System is compliant with several international security standards, including FIPS 140-2 Level 4 and the Common Criterial EAL 4+ standard. More details are available here.