HP Inc. revamps printing lineup and introduces PageWide brand

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The slimmed down HP Inc. today unveiled a new lineup of revamped business-focused printers including the introduction of a brand new brand of office printers to be known with the PageWide brand.  The announcement is expansive, with the introduction of 15 new printer models and a set of Secure Managed Print services from the company.  Packed into the announcement is a major focus on security of printers included in the new print models.  Let’s dive into each of the areas in more detail.

Security

There’s a growing concern that devices that make up the Internet of Things (IoT) will become a hotbed for malware and attacks.  In fact, 60% of companies have had a data breach involving printers according to the “Insecurity of Network-Connected Printers” study that Ponemon Institute published in October 2015.  Updates and patching become incredibly important to secure these devices the same way we have attempted to keep our computers secure.

According to HP, today’s printers more closely resemble computers and are increasingly more connected.  Today’s printers aren’t just networked, they have email accounts and are directly connected to the Internet.  They are cloud integrated with services backing the choices on the display panels.  But even with the innovation and increased capabilities, security has largely been an afterthought, and capable processors and lax security make for a hackers playground.  HP realizes this and has been at work with solutions and a change of mindset about printers to try and head off issues.

The first way HP is attempting to address issues is with push updates.  The percentage of companies that update printer firmware is small, but HP hopes to change that with a direct from the Internet update capable on new printers.  The update feature is powered by software on board the printer, but security professionals may pause and wonder if this is wise to do.  Is it possible to simply inject malicious updates and auto-deploy them across an entire enterprise?  No so fast, says HP.

The enterprise printers announced today include a security technology called HP SureStart.  In September 2015, HP introduced three LaserJet printers that use HP SureStart technology to protect the printer’s BIOS.  If the HP SureStart name sounds familiar, it is a security feature that was introduced into the HP Elitebook line of professional laptops back in 2014, that HP has brought to its printer lineup.

HP SureStart is a secure BIOS that stores both the current and a previous version of the BIOS.  SureStart detects tampering and malware attacks on the BIOS and will revert to saved, good BIOS version to ensure that the basic firmware of the hardware is not compromised. HP calls it self-healing.

Not only are the updates meant to be for security, they also provide a consistent user interfaces across the printer fleet.  HP FutureSmart is a push from HP to establish a consistent user experience across all of its enterprise printers and enable the same walk-up features no matter where you go in the organization and this capability is also included in the enterprise printers announced today.

Secure Managed Print Services

Building on the HP SureStart, HP has created an ensemble of services to create Secure Managed Print Services.  The self-healing capabilities of the printers with HP SureStart is the foundation of the secure print services, but it also combines security software to detect threats, protect, monitor and manage the printer fleet and provide reporting for regulatory and compliance audits.  Secure Managed Print Services also includes a strong component of security consulting from the experts at HP to device a comprehensive print security plan.  Finally, the services also allow for data encryption to provide protection for confidential information.

As part of the announcement, HP introduced an updated version of HP JetAdvantage Security manager, a software that allows for policy-based printer security.  This software provides much of the reporting, auditing and compliance enforcement capabilities for the Secure MPS.

HP also announced that its Enterprise printers will now be able to be monitoring using Splunk.

HP PageWide Printers

In perhaps the biggest news, HP introduce a new brand of printers – the HP PageWide line.  PageWide has been used by HP to describe the printing technology of the HP OfficeJet Pro X line as well as the brand name of some specialty large-format printers, like the PageWide XL line, over the last several years.  Now, HP is borrowing the name of its wide print bar to be the brand name for the printers that use it.

PageWide printers will come in two major categories – Pro and Enterprise.  HP introduced two PageWide Enterprise printers today – the PageWide Enterprise Color 586 multifunction and the PageWide Enterprise Color 556 single function printer.  Enterprise models will be the most full featured models and include options to essentially replace copiers and multifunction with floor stands and other accessories.  There are also additional software capabilities in the Enterprise models, including integration with HP Flow print control services.

The PageWide Pro models will be focused on small to medium business and branch office solutions and are split into 3 series – the 300, 400 and 500 series.  The major difference between each series is speed.  The 300 series features printers with up to 30 pages per minute (ppm) in Professional print mode and 45 ppm in General Office mode (HP PageWide’s version of draft mode – but don’t think low quality here – it is still very high quality).  The 400 series features 40 ppm in Professional print mode and 55ppm in General Office mode.  While the fastest printers are in the 500 series, rated at 50 ppm in Professional and 70 ppm in General Office mode.   The 500 series also offers a series of accessories to convert the printer into a floor model with additional drawers for paper types and job accounting and PIN printing on the front console.  All of the new PageWide Pro printers feature a single-pass duplexing scanner rated at 26 ppm.  HP has released a multifunction printer and single-function printer in each series today.

The new PageWide brand will replace the Pro X moniker that HP initially introduced for its business-class printers using the PageWide print bar.  The new brand will differentiate the print technology that uses the wide print bar and pigment inks versus all of its business ink printers in the OfficeJet line that use moving print heads and traditional inks.    HP sees the PageWide brand sitting in between the LaserJet and OfficeJet families – providing the lowest cost per page of any of its business-class printers, along with the least amount of waste generated and least amount of energy used.

Below are slides with details of the new printers are below to provide more information for the entire lineup:

OfficeJet Pro Additions

HP also introduced several new models in the OfficeJet Pro category, targeted at small business with up to 5 users sharing a printer.  These print models target small office environments and specific use cases, such as legal documents and mobile printing.  All of the new OfficeJet printers announced replace existing models that HP is retiring in the lineup.   Details on the models and their specs in the slides below.

LaserJet Additions

For the LaserJet line, HP introduced two new printers today – the HP LaserJet Pro M501 – a monochrome laser printer targeted at 5 to 15 users and the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M377dw – targeted at 3 to 10 users with multifunction capabilities.  Both are brand new products, not replacing existing products in the lineup.

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Author Information

Philip is a IT solutions engineer working for AmWINS Group, Inc., an insurance brokerage firm in Charlotte, NC. With a focus on data center technologies, he has built a career helping his customers and his employers deploy better IT solutions to solve their problems. Philip holds certifications in VMware and Microsoft technologies and he is a technical jack of all trades that is passionate about IT infrastructure and all things Apple. He's a part-time blogger and author here at Techazine.com.

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