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Canon adds fingerprinting technology to scanners

Canon Canada Inc. has released a new set of network scanners, one of which features fingerprint authentication capabilities, document encryption and a slew of file sharing options.

The ScanFront 300 and 300P devices are aimed squarely at security conscious enterprises looking to manage and track the documents their employees scan. Both models come with management software that give IT managers the ability to centrally view device configurations, roll out updates and backup or restore device settings.

Gary Hansra, product marketing manager at Canon, said the small devices can be rolled out to individual users or business units to better facilitate scanning in today’s decentralized office environments. Both scanners can also allow users to distribute their documents to a variety of destinations, including scan-to-e-mail, scan-to-folder, scan-to-USB, and scan-to-FTP.

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On the security side of things, both devices come with device and server authentication and document encryption options. The 300P model adds the ability to require fingerprint authentication before any scan job.

Hansra added that both devices contain no internal memory drives, which will ensure that a lost or stolen device does not contain any classified or sensitive documents.

Canon Canada said the sharing and security options make the devices a good option for manufacturing plants, financial offices, legal teams, and health care facilities.

But for at least one industry analyst, the devices do not address some of the mobile printing needs that have arisen in today’s cloud-driven world.

Darin Stahl, a lead analyst with London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group Ltd., said that while Canon’s scanning devices are impressive, they fail to address the current “bring your own computer” trend that is gaining steam in many enterprises.

“Users want more flexibility and the ability to print from anywhere,” he said. “The Canon solution is interesting, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the cloud issue.”

No matter how many security features vendors bake into their scanning devices, a mobile worker sitting at a health care conference in Las Vegas is most likely going to use a non-corporate approved method to scan or print their documents, Stahl said.

Stahl said that printing vendors such as Canon should consider extending features like remote management and fingerprint authentication to mobile devices such as tablets or laptops.

“They could integrate and leverage fingerprint scanning farther down the stack,” he said, adding that his ThinkPad notebook comes equipped with a fingerprint reader.

Printing solutions providers will also need to continue pushing features and services that allow companies to roll out scanning services that take advantage of the cloud.

“As the trend toward the cloud continues, vendors have a lot of catching up to do,” he said. “Printing (and scanning) is one of the last enterprise service delivery mechanisms that has yet to be significantly impacted by the cloud.”

The ScanFront 300 device retails for $2,906, while the higher-end ScanFront 300P will cost 3,286. Both scanners are available now.

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