Konica Minoltas Latest MFP Focuses on Security

The company's new printer offers advanced security features that help to authenticate users as well as encrypt crucial data.

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. on June 5 launched its latest multifunction printer, the bizhub C451, which includes advanced security features that help to authenticate users as well as encrypt crucial data.

Security is one of the main concerns of enterprises as individuals risk their passwords being stolen or lost with each document that they print, scan, copy or fax, Keith Kmetz, an analyst with research company IDC, told eWEEK.

"We are seeing an increased concern around security, leading to the development of several security features," said Kmetz.

The bizhubs C451 authentication tool, known as the Biometric Authentication Unit, helps to eliminate those risks by taking the vein patterns of a users finger and scanning, encrypting and storing them to help distinguish individuals.

"This leading-edge security system will benefit users across many industries and departments, including legal and human resources, as it offers the ability to truly secure documents on the network," Kevin P. Kern, vice president of product planning and developing at the Ramsey, N.J.-based Konica Minolta Business Solutions, told eWEEK.

Kmetz said he believes that biometrics as a whole is an advanced level of security that bypasses most security problems such as passwords being stolen or lost.

"Biometrics can be used to ensure that the user has been authorized to use the device," Kmetz said. "Its hard to steal fingerprints."

The bizhub C451 also features a hard drive overwrite function with optional encryption, which enables users to erase data stored on the devices hard disk drive or memory by overwriting it with a series of characters. The data is erased when the copy, print, scan or fax job is completed.

"Id expect to see printer and copier vendors explore more sophisticated security solutions for MFPs [multifunction printers] now and into the future," Kmetz said. "This could mean more biometrics or perhaps even something more identifiable with authorized users."

The C451, the successor to the bizhub C450, prints 45 pages per minute in color. It also offers scanning, copying and faxing capabilities that enable users to be productive with one color MFP instead of separate devices, according to Kern.

"The bizhub C451 is designed to be a true color replacement for monochrome devices, which will further drive the shift to color here in the U.S.," Kern said.

"The MFP reflects an ongoing transition in the market from monochrome-only devices to color-capable machines," Kmetz said. "While IDC sees the monochrome market maintaining a majority share of the laser-based market, color is demonstrating significantly stronger growth than the maturing monochrome market."

The C451 also features an on-board color touch-screen control panel that features a thumbnail preview and allows users to program shortcut keys for frequently used copy and scan/fax functions. It also features a tandem laser print head, which provides users with image quality and reliability, Kern said.

"As with all the next-generation bizhub MFPs, the C451s new 360-degree design makes it aesthetically pleasing from any angle so it can be centered in a busy work area," Kern said.

The bizhub C451 is available now for $21,000.


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