JP5550750B2 - Image forming system and server device - Google Patents

Image forming system and server device Download PDF

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JP5550750B2
JP5550750B2 JP2013010509A JP2013010509A JP5550750B2 JP 5550750 B2 JP5550750 B2 JP 5550750B2 JP 2013010509 A JP2013010509 A JP 2013010509A JP 2013010509 A JP2013010509 A JP 2013010509A JP 5550750 B2 JP5550750 B2 JP 5550750B2
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image forming
server
user authentication
output data
image output
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JP2013131225A (en
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俊胤 西見
康史 塚本
章 藤倉
大輔 吉田
保彦 木田
勇輔 中越
有美 北村
敏信 吉田
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京セラドキュメントソリューションズ株式会社
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Description

The present invention relates to an image forming system and a server equipment.

  Upon receiving a print command from a personal computer, the image forming apparatus connected to the network acquires a document file from a file server on the network, expands the document file into a bitmap image, and based on the bitmap image Some perform printing (see, for example, Patent Documents 1 and 2).

  In the image forming apparatus, when the copy job is being executed, the user ID is acquired from the ID card after the copy job is finished, and it is determined whether or not the user ID matches the user identifier of the document file. After confirming that they match, printing based on the document file is executed.

  On the other hand, when the copy job is not executed, printing based on the document file is immediately executed.

Japanese Patent Laid-Open No. 9-251358 JP 2004-168065 A

  In the above-described system, when a print command is supplied from the personal computer to the image forming apparatus, printing is started unless a copy job is being executed. Therefore, when printing is performed, the user is at the installation location of the personal computer and not at the installation location of the image forming apparatus. For this reason, the printed matter is left unattended until the user goes to the place where the image forming apparatus is installed, which is not preferable from the viewpoint of maintaining confidentiality.

The present invention has been made in view of the above problems, an image forming system capable of preventing leakage of confidential information, and, for its object to obtain a server equipment available to the system.

  In order to solve the above problems, the present invention is configured as follows.

  An image forming system according to the present invention includes at least one image forming apparatus connected to a network, a server apparatus connected to the network, and the server apparatus connected to the network to generate image output data from document data. A client device for transmission to the network. The server device includes a first communication device connected to the network, data receiving means for receiving image output data by the first communication device, data management means for storing the image output data in a predetermined storage device, User authentication information input based on a user operation is received from the image forming apparatus or an electronic device previously associated with the image forming apparatus via the network by the first communication apparatus, and the user authentication information is valid. Authentication processing means for determining whether or not there is, and when it is determined that the user authentication information is valid, the image output data associated with the user authentication information among the image output data is displayed as the image Data transmitting means for transmitting to the forming device by the first communication device.

  In addition, the image forming apparatus transmits the user authentication information to the server apparatus using the second communication apparatus connected to the network, an acquisition unit that acquires user authentication information based on a user operation, and the second communication apparatus. Control means for receiving image output data from the server apparatus by the communication apparatus and performing image forming processing based on the image output data.

Furthermore, when the second communication apparatus receives image output data from an apparatus other than the server apparatus, the control unit of the image forming apparatus transfers the image output data to the server apparatus. Then, the data receiving means of the server device receives the image output data by the first communication device, and the data management means of the server device stores the image output data in a predetermined storage device.

Further, the image forming apparatus has a user authentication setting for designating presence / absence of user authentication and a user authentication method, and the control unit of the image forming apparatus transmits the user authentication setting to the server apparatus at the time of activation. The server apparatus has a relay process setting for designating a relay process of the image forming apparatus executed by the server apparatus from a plurality of predetermined relay processing methods, and the authentication processing means of the server apparatus receives the user authentication setting from the image forming apparatus. When received, it is determined whether or not the user authentication setting matches the relay processing setting, and the data transmission unit of the server apparatus transmits the determination result by the authentication processing unit to the control unit of the image forming apparatus.

As a result, the image output data is temporarily stored by the server apparatus, and the image output data is not supplied to the image forming apparatus unless user authentication of the server apparatus is performed from the installation location of the image forming apparatus. For this reason, the user can take a printed matter from the image forming apparatus immediately after printing. Accordingly, it is possible to prevent leakage of confidential information from the image forming apparatus.

Further, the image forming apparatus can detect that user authentication will fail due to the system configuration (inappropriate authentication method) before executing the printing process.

  In addition to the above-described image forming system, the image forming system according to the present invention may be configured as follows. In this case, the data management means of the server device stores the transferred image output data in a predetermined storage device in association with user authentication information of a predetermined user.

  As a result, the predetermined user (for example, an administrator) can monitor the occurrence of a job to be printed without going through the server device.

  In addition to any of the image forming systems described above, the image forming system according to the present invention may be as follows. In this case, the image forming system includes an authentication server device connected to a network, having registered user authentication information, and performing user authentication based on the registered user authentication information. The authentication processing means of the server device transmits user authentication information from the image forming device or the electronic device to the authentication server device by the first communication device to execute user authentication, and the first communication device performs user authentication from the authentication server device. The result is received, and based on the result, it is determined whether or not the user authentication information is valid.

  In addition to any of the image forming systems described above, the image forming system according to the present invention may be as follows. In this case, the control unit of the image forming apparatus acquires a list of user image output data of the user authentication information from the server apparatus, selects image output data from the list based on a user operation, and transmits the selected image output data. A request is transmitted to the server device, the image output data is received from the server device, and an image forming process is performed based on the image output data. Then, the data transmission unit of the server apparatus transmits the image output data requested from the image forming apparatus to the image forming apparatus that transmitted the user authentication information and the request.

  As a result, the image forming process can be executed for only a part of the image output data, and after the image output data is stored in the server apparatus, the user determines the timing for supplying each image output data to the image forming apparatus. be able to.

  In addition to any of the image forming systems described above, the image forming system according to the present invention may be as follows. In this case, the control unit of the image forming apparatus transmits the user authentication information to the server apparatus only for a part of the plurality of image forming processes, and outputs the image after determining that the user authentication information is valid. Data is received from the server device, and the image forming process is performed based on the image output data. For the rest of the plurality of image forming processes, it is determined whether the user authentication information is valid. The image forming process is performed. The data transmission unit of the server apparatus transmits the image output data to the image forming apparatus by the first communication device without performing user authentication by the authentication processing unit in the remaining of the plurality of image forming processes.

  Thus, for example, user authentication by the server apparatus is introduced for only one of the two image forming processes such as printing and facsimile transmission (for example, printing), and for the other (facsimile transmission), from the client apparatus to the server Image output data can be supplied directly to the device.

  In addition to any of the image forming systems described above, the image forming system according to the present invention may be as follows. In this case, when the usage amount restriction information indicating that the usage amount is unlimited is not held, the control unit of the image forming apparatus sends a request for transmission of the usage amount restriction information corresponding to the user of the user authentication information to the second communication. When the device transmits to the server device, the second communication device receives the usage amount restriction information, and the received usage amount restriction information indicates that the usage amount is unlimited, the usage amount restriction information is Hold. Then, when it is determined that the user authentication information is valid, the data transmission means of the server device receives the usage amount restriction information transmission request and uses the user authentication information corresponding to the user. The restriction information is transmitted to the image forming apparatus.

  When there is no usage limit, there is no need to monitor the usage in real time because the usage is not prohibited according to the usage. Therefore, when there is no usage limit, the image forming apparatus receives the usage limit information indicating that the usage is unlimited, holds it, and omits the request for the next usage limit information. To do.

  Therefore, the time required for processing at the start of use is shortened.

  In addition to any of the image forming systems described above, the image forming system according to the present invention may be as follows. In this case, the control unit of the image forming apparatus accesses the server apparatus with the second communication apparatus at the time of activation, and displays an error message on a predetermined display apparatus when there is no response from the server apparatus.

  In addition to any of the image forming systems described above, the image forming system according to the present invention may be as follows. In this case, when the user authentication setting does not match the relay processing setting, the control unit of the image forming apparatus changes the user authentication setting to a setting that matches the relay processing setting.

  Accordingly, it is possible to eliminate the incompatibility of the authentication method before executing the print processing, and to prevent the failure of the print processing due to the inappropriate authentication method.

  In addition to any of the image forming systems described above, the image forming system according to the present invention may be as follows. In this case, the image output data is print data described in a page description language.

A server device according to the present invention includes a communication device connected to a network, a data receiving unit that receives image output data by the communication device, a data management unit that stores image output data in a predetermined storage device, The user authentication information input based on the information is received from the image forming apparatus or the electronic device previously associated with the image forming apparatus via the network by the communication apparatus, and whether or not the user authentication information is valid. An image associated with the user authentication information in the image output data in response to a request from the image forming apparatus when it is determined that the authentication processing means to be determined and the user authentication information are valid. the output data, and a data transmission means for transmitting the communication device to the image forming apparatus, output image to run on this server device from a predetermined plurality of print processing method And a storage device for storing relay processing configuration specifying relay processing of data.

The data receiving means receives the image output data received from the apparatus other than the server apparatus by the image forming apparatus and transferred to the server apparatus without performing the image forming process by the communication apparatus. The transferred image output data is stored in a predetermined storage device. The image forming apparatus has user authentication settings for designating the presence / absence of user authentication and a user authentication method in the image forming apparatus, and transmits the user authentication settings to the server apparatus when activated. When the authentication processing unit receives the user authentication setting from the image forming apparatus, the authentication processing unit determines whether the user authentication setting matches the relay processing setting, and the data transmission unit determines the determination result by the authentication processing unit. Send to.

  According to the present invention, it is possible to prevent leakage of confidential information in an image forming system.

1 is a block diagram showing a configuration of an image forming system according to Embodiment 1 of the present invention. It is a block diagram which shows the structure of the server apparatus in FIG. FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating a configuration of a multifunction machine in FIG. 1. FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating processing when a job is executed by a multifunction peripheral in the image forming system illustrated in FIG. 1. 6 is a diagram illustrating an example of a screen that displays a list of image output data according to Embodiment 1. FIG. FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating processing when printing is performed by a printer in the image forming system illustrated in FIG. 1. 10 is a flowchart for explaining usage management processing of a multifunction machine according to Embodiment 3. FIG. 20 is a diagram showing an example of an error message display screen in the fourth embodiment. It is a figure which shows an example of the suitability data in Embodiment 5.

  Hereinafter, embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.

Embodiment 1 FIG.
FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing a configuration of an image forming system according to Embodiment 1 of the present invention.

  In this image forming system, a client device 1, a server device 2, a multifunction device 3, a printer 4 and a card reader 5, and an authentication server device 6 are connected to each other via a network 7. These devices are assigned identifiers (IP address, machine name, etc.) that can be uniquely specified in the network 7.

  The client device 1 is a terminal device operated by a user, such as a personal computer. The client device 1 has an output driver 11 such as a printer driver. The output driver 11 is a processing unit that generates image output data from document data. Document data is data generated by an application and stored as a data file. The image output data is print data described in, for example, a page description language.

  The server device 2 is a computer device connected to the network 7 and includes an output data management unit 21 and an output data storage unit 22. The output data management unit 21 is a processing unit that stores image output data received from the client device 1 in the output data storage unit 22.

  The multifunction machine 3 is an image forming apparatus that executes image forming processing based on image output data. Image forming processing includes printing, facsimile transmission, copying, and the like. The multifunction machine 3 has a card reader 31. When the user's ID card 101 is brought close to the card reader 31 during login, the card reader 31 reads the user authentication information of the user from the ID card. The ID card is an IC card or the like. The user authentication information is a user ID, an encrypted user ID, or the like. The multifunction device 3 transmits user authentication information of the user to the server device 2, receives image output data transmitted by the user from the client device 1 to the server device 2, and executes image formation processing based on the image output data. .

  The printer 4 is an image forming apparatus that executes printing based on image output data supplied from the server apparatus 2 via the network 7. The card reader 5 is installed at the same location as the printer 4 and is associated with the printer 4 in advance. When the user's ID card 101 is brought close to the card reader 5, the card reader 5 reads the user authentication information of the user from the ID card and transmits it to the server device 2 via the network 7.

  The authentication server device 6 is a computer device connected to the network 7 and has user registration data 61 and device registration data 62. The user registration data 61 includes user authentication information for authorized users. The device registration data 62 includes information on the correspondence relationship between the printer 4 and the card reader 5. When there is a user authentication request from the server device 2, the authentication server device 6 performs user authentication processing with reference to the user registration data 61 and transmits the authentication result to the server device 2 as a response. Further, when there is an inquiry about the image forming apparatus corresponding to the card reader 5, the authentication server apparatus 6 refers to the device registration data 62 and sets the image forming apparatus (here, the printer 4) corresponding to the card reader 5 to the server apparatus. 2 is notified. As the authentication server device 6, for example, a device in which an active directory server is operating is used.

  The network 7 is, for example, a wired and / or wireless LAN (Local Area Network).

  Next, detailed configurations of the server apparatus 2 and the multifunction machine 3 will be described.

  FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing the configuration of the server device 2 in FIG.

  In FIG. 2, a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 201 is an arithmetic processing unit that executes a program and executes processing described in the program. A ROM (Read Only Memory) 202 is a nonvolatile memory that stores programs and data in advance. A RAM (Random Access Memory) 203 is a memory that temporarily stores the program and data when the program is executed.

  An HDD (Hard Disc Drive) 204 is a storage device having a recording medium for storing an operating system (not shown), a server program 211, and the like. In the first embodiment, the server program 211 is executed by the CPU 201, whereby the output data management unit 21, the communication processing unit 221, the authentication processing unit 222, and the usage monitoring unit 223 are realized.

  The communication processing unit 221 is a processing unit that controls the network interface card 205 and transmits and receives data using a communication protocol such as TCP / IP (Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol). The communication processing unit 221 receives the image output data with the network interface card 205 and transmits the image output data to the image forming apparatus such as the multifunction machine 3 or the printer 4 with the network interface card 205.

  The authentication processing unit 222 uses the communication processing unit 221 to associate user authentication information input based on a user operation with the MFP 3 or the printer 4 via the network 7 using the network interface card 205 in advance. It is a processing unit that determines whether or not the user authentication information is valid.

  The usage amount monitoring unit 223 monitors the usage amount such as the number of pages associated with image forming processing (printing, facsimile transmission, copying, etc.) executed in the multifunction device 3 and the printer 4 for each user or department to which the user belongs. Part.

  The network interface card 205 is a communication device connected to the network 7.

  The storage device 206 is a device that stores various data. As the storage device 206, a hard disk drive, a nonvolatile semiconductor memory, or the like is used as appropriate. A partial area of the storage device 206 is used as the output data storage unit 22. In addition, the storage device 206 stores usage data 231 and setting data 232. The usage amount data 231 includes a usage amount value and an upper limit value for each of a plurality of items for each user or department to which the user belongs. The setting data 232 is data that is referred to when processing of the processing unit realized by the CPU 201 is executed. Note that the usage data 231 and the setting data 232 may be stored in a storage device different from the storage device 206. In the first embodiment, the output data storage unit 22 is in the server device 2, but may be in an external device connected to the server device 2, or a file server or database connected to the network 7. It may be in the server.

  The CPU 201, the ROM 202, the RAM 203, the HDD 204, the NIC 205, and the storage device 206 are connected to each other via a bus, a controller, an interface, and the like so that data communication can be performed.

  FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing a configuration of the multifunction machine 3 in FIG.

  The multifunction machine 3 includes a card reader 31, a network interface card 301, a printing device 302, a modem 303, an image reading device 304, a storage device 305, a control device 306, and an operation panel 307.

  The network interface card 301 is a communication device connected to the network 7.

  The printing apparatus 302 has, for example, a laser printing mechanism, forms a print image from image output data, generates a control signal corresponding to the print image, controls the printing mechanism with the control signal, and prints an image on a print sheet. Is a device for printing.

  The modem 303 is a device that forms a facsimile image from the image output data, generates facsimile data corresponding to the facsimile image, and transmits the facsimile data. When the modem 303 receives the facsimile data, the modem 303 generates facsimile image data corresponding to the facsimile data.

  The image reading device 304 is a device that optically reads a document image and generates image data of the document image.

  The storage device 305 is a device that stores setting data 311. As the storage device 305, a hard disk drive, a nonvolatile semiconductor memory, or the like is appropriately used. The setting data 311 is data that is referred to when processing is executed by the control device 306.

  The control device 306 is a device that controls the printing device 302, the modem 303, and the image reading device 304 to execute image forming processing. In addition, the control device 306 executes processing for transmitting the user authentication information acquired by the card reader 31 to the server device 2 using the network interface card 301 and receiving image output data from the server device 2 using the network interface card 301. Note that the control device 306 is realized, for example, by executing a control program by a microprocessor. Further, the control device 306 may execute formation of a print image and generation of facsimile data.

  The operation panel 307 has a display device and an input device, and is a user interface that can be used by a user at the installation location of the multifunction machine 3. As the display device, for example, a liquid crystal display is used, and as the input device, for example, a touch panel and a plurality of key switches are used.

  Next, the operation of each device in the system will be described.

  First, processing when a job is executed by an image forming apparatus having a card reader will be described.

  FIG. 4 is a diagram for explaining processing when the MFP 3 executes a job in the image forming system shown in FIG.

  In the client device 1, the user activates the output driver 11 via an application (not shown). The output driver 11 generates image output data corresponding to the document data (step S1), and transmits it to the server device 2 via a network interface card (not shown) (step S2). At this time, the user authentication information of the user is transmitted together with the image output data. Alternatively, identification information associated with the user authentication information is transmitted together with the image output data.

  The image output data is received by the server device 2. In the server device 2, the communication processing unit 221 receives the image output data via the network interface card 205. The output data management unit 21 stores the output data in the output data storage unit 22 in association with the user authentication information (step S3).

  Thereby, the image output data is temporarily held in the server device 2.

  Thereafter, the user goes to the installation location of the multifunction machine 3 and performs a login operation. In the first embodiment, as a login operation, the user holds the ID card 101 assigned to the user over the card reader 31. When the card reader 31 of the multifunction machine 3 detects the ID card 101 that is brought close to it, it reads the user authentication information from the ID card 101 (step S4).

  When the user authentication information is read by the card reader 31, the control device 306 transmits the user authentication request and the user authentication information to the server device 2 by using the network interface card 301 (step S5).

  The server device 2 receives the user authentication request and the user authentication information. In the server device 2, the communication processing unit 221 receives the user authentication request and the user authentication information via the network interface card 205. When the user authentication request and the user authentication information are received, the authentication processing unit 222 transmits the user authentication request and the user authentication information to the authentication server device 6 via the network 7 (step S6).

  When receiving the user authentication request and the user authentication information, the authentication server device 6 refers to the user registration data 61 and determines whether or not the received user authentication information is authentic (step S7). And the authentication server apparatus 6 transmits the authentication result to the server apparatus 2 as a response (step S8).

  The communication processing unit 221 of the server device 2 receives the authentication result via the network 7 and the network interface card 205 and supplies the authentication result to the authentication processing unit 222. The authentication processing unit 222 determines whether the user authentication information from the multifunction device 3 is authentic based on the authentication result (step S9).

  When the authentication processing unit 222 determines that the user authentication information from the multifunction device 3 is authentic, the output data management unit 21 selects the image output data in the output data storage unit 22 A list of image output data associated with the user authentication information is generated, and the communication processing unit 221 transmits the list to the multifunction machine 3 (step S10). The communication processing unit 221 transmits the list to the multifunction device 3 via the network interface card 205 and the network 7.

  If the authentication processing unit 222 determines that the user authentication information from the multi-function device 3 is not authentic, the authentication processing unit 222 uses the communication processing unit 221 to only display the authentication result. 3 to send.

  When the user authentication for the transmitted user authentication information is successful, the control device 306 of the multifunction machine 3 receives the list of image output data associated with the user authentication information with the network interface card 205, and operates the operation panel 307. Display on the display device.

  FIG. 5 is a diagram illustrating an example of a screen that displays a list of image output data according to the first embodiment. As shown in FIG. 5, the list includes a user ID, server save date and time of image output data, the number of pages, and thumbnail images. The user ID is a part of the user authentication information or identification information corresponding to the user authentication information. Further, the output data management unit 21 of the server device 2 generates thumbnail image data of the first page of the image output data and adds it to the list. The thumbnail image shown in FIG. 5 is displayed based on the thumbnail image data.

  Thereafter, when there is a selection operation by the user on the input device of the operation panel 307 (step S11), the control device 306 selects image output data from the list according to the selection operation, and sends a transmission request for the image output data. Then, the data is transmitted to the server device 2 by the network interface card 301 (step S12). For example, in the case of a list as shown in FIG. 5, the selected image output data is specified by the server storage date and time or serial number.

  In the server apparatus 2, when the transmission request is received by the communication processing unit 221, the output data management unit 21 reads the requested image output data, and sends the requested image output data to the communication processing unit 221. Transmit (step S13).

  The output data management unit 21 may delete the image output data from the output data storage unit 22 after the image output data is transmitted. Alternatively, the output data management unit 21 may automatically delete the image output data from the output data storage unit 22 after elapse of a predetermined period after the image output data is transmitted.

  The control device 306 of the multifunction machine 3 receives the image output data by the network interface card 301 and executes the image forming process selected by the user using the operation panel 307 (step S14). For example, when the print button is pressed on the screen shown in FIG. 5 (step S11), printing based on the image output data is executed using the printing apparatus 302, and the facsimile transmission button is pressed (step S11). Then, facsimile transmission based on the image output data is executed using the modem 303.

  If the user authentication is successful, the authentication processing unit 22 generates a session ID unique to this session, and the communication processing unit 221 transmits the session ID together with the list to the multifunction device 3. The control device 306 of the MFP 3 transmits the image output data transmission request to the server device 2 after adding the session ID to the image output data transmission request.

  In this way, when the user who issued the image output data is at the installation location of the multifunction machine 3, the image output processing job is executed, so that the possibility of security leakage can be reduced.

  Next, processing when a job is executed by an image forming apparatus that does not have a card reader will be described.

  FIG. 6 is a diagram for explaining processing when the printer 4 executes printing in the image forming system shown in FIG.

  First, the image output data is transmitted from the client apparatus 1 to the server apparatus 2 and held in the server apparatus 2 in the same manner as in the case where the image forming process is performed by the multifunction machine 3 (steps S1 to S3).

  When printing is executed by the printer 4, the user goes to the installation location of the printer 4 and the card reader 5 and performs a login operation. In the first embodiment, as a login operation, the user holds the ID card 101 assigned to the user over the card reader 5. When detecting the approaching ID card 101, the card reader 5 reads the user authentication information from the ID card 101 (step S21) and transmits it to the server device 2 via the network 7 (step S22).

  The user authentication information is received by the server device 2. In the server device 2, the communication processing unit 221 receives the user authentication information through the network interface card 205. When the user authentication information from the card reader 5 is received, the authentication processing unit 222 transmits the user authentication information to the authentication server device 6 via the network 7 (step S23).

  Upon receiving the user authentication request and the user authentication information, the authentication server device 6 refers to the user registration data 61 and determines whether or not the received user authentication information is legitimate (step S24). And the authentication server apparatus 6 transmits the authentication result to the server apparatus 2 as a response (step S25).

  The communication processing unit 221 of the server device 2 receives the authentication result via the network 7 and the network interface card 205 and supplies the authentication result to the authentication processing unit 222. The authentication processing unit 222 determines whether the user authentication information from the card reader 5 is legitimate based on the authentication result (step S26).

  If the authentication processing unit 222 determines that the user authentication information from the card reader 5 is legitimate, the authentication processing unit 222 inquires of the authentication server device 6 about the image forming apparatus associated with the card reader 5. The response is received from the authentication server device 6, and based on the response, the image forming device (here, the printer 4) that is the destination of the image output data is specified (step S27). At this time, when the authentication server device 6 receives the inquiry, the authentication server device 6 refers to the device registration data 62 to identify the image forming device associated with the card reader 5 and sends a response indicating the image forming device to the server device 2. Send to.

  Then, the output data management unit 21 reads out the image output data associated with the user authentication information from among the image output data in the output data storage unit 22, and identifies the image forming apparatus ( Here, the data is transmitted to the printer 4) (step S28). The communication processing unit 221 transmits image output data to the printer 4 via the network 7 in order using the network interface card 205.

  If the authentication processing unit 222 determines that the user authentication information from the card reader 5 is not authentic, the current session is terminated.

  If the user authentication for the user authentication information transmitted from the card reader 5 is successful, the printer 4 sequentially receives the image output data and executes printing based on the image output data (step S29).

  As described above, since the print job is executed when the user who issued the image output data is at the place where the printer 4 and the card reader 5 are installed, the possibility of security leakage can be reduced.

  As described above, according to the first embodiment, the client device 1 generates image output data from the document data and transmits it to the server device 2. In the server device 2, the communication processing unit 221 receives the image output data with the network interface card 205, and the output data management unit 21 stores the image output data in the output data storage unit 22. Then, the authentication processing unit 222 receives the user authentication information input based on the user operation from the card reader 5 associated in advance with the multifunction device 3 or the printer 4 via the network 7 by the network interface card 204. Then, it is determined whether or not the user authentication information is valid. When it is determined that the user authentication information is valid, the communication processing unit 221 sends the image output data associated with the user authentication information among the image output data to the multifunction device 3 or the printer 4. The data is transmitted by the network interface card 205.

  As a result, the image output data is temporarily stored by the server apparatus 2 and supplied to the image forming apparatus without user authentication of the server apparatus 2 from the installation location of the image forming apparatus such as the multifunction machine 3 and the printer 4 Not. For this reason, the user can take a printed matter from the image forming apparatus immediately after printing. Accordingly, it is possible to prevent secret leakage from the multifunction machine 3 and the printer 4.

Embodiment 2. FIG.
The image forming system according to the second embodiment of the present invention has a configuration similar to that of the image forming system according to the first embodiment, and only a part of a plurality of image forming processes such as printing and facsimile transmission is provided. Prior to execution, user authentication is requested in the same manner as in the first embodiment, and the remaining image forming processing is immediately executed without user authentication.

  In the second embodiment, the output driver 11 of the client device 1 specifies an image forming process to be executed on the image output data according to a user operation or the like, and notifies the server device 2 of the specification together with the image output data. When an image forming process that does not require user authentication is designated, an image forming apparatus (for example, the multifunction machine 3) used for processing image output data is also designated and notified to the server apparatus 2.

  When the output data management unit 21 of the server apparatus 2 designates a predetermined image forming process (for example, facsimile transmission) in the notification, the image output data is immediately designated to the communication processing unit 221. Sent to the image forming apparatus. Accordingly, in the case of a predetermined image forming process (for example, facsimile transmission), the communication processing unit 221 sends the image output data to the designated image forming apparatus (for example, the multifunction machine 3) without user authentication by the authentication processing unit 222. To the network interface card 205.

  In the second embodiment, the control device 306 of the multi-function device 3 determines the image output data for a predetermined image forming process (for example, facsimile transmission) without determining whether the user authentication information is valid. Is received from the server apparatus 2 and the image forming process is performed on the image output data.

  On the other hand, when another image forming process (for example, printing) is designated for the image output data in the client apparatus 1, the image output data is processed as in the case of the first embodiment.

  In this way, an image forming process with a low possibility of security leakage can be executed without the user logging in to the multifunction machine 3.

  It should be noted that, as in the second embodiment, a first authentication method (hereinafter referred to as single authentication) that enables execution of some image formation processing without user authentication, and all image formation processing before processing execution. Either one of the second authentication methods that require user authentication (hereinafter referred to as full authentication) may be selectable in the server device 2 and the multifunction device 3.

  As described above, according to the second embodiment, for example, user authentication by the server device is introduced for only one of two image forming processes (for example, printing) such as printing and facsimile transmission. As for (facsimile transmission), image output data can be directly supplied from the client apparatus to the server apparatus.

Embodiment 3 FIG.
The image forming system according to the third embodiment of the present invention has the same configuration as the image forming system according to the first or second embodiment, and the usage amount in the multifunction device 3 for each user or for each department to which the user belongs. Manage.

  In the third embodiment, the control device 306 of the MFP 3 uses the usage amount corresponding to the user of the user authentication information when the usage amount restriction information indicating that the usage amount is unlimited is not held in the setting data 311. A transmission request for restriction information is transmitted to the server apparatus 2 by the network interface card 301, the usage amount restriction information is received by the network interface card 301, and the received usage amount restriction information indicates that the usage amount is unlimited. If it is, the usage limit information is held in the setting data 311.

  In Embodiment 3, when the usage amount monitoring unit 223 of the server device 2 determines that the user authentication information is valid, the usage amount monitoring unit 223 receives the usage amount restriction information transmission request, Usage amount restriction information corresponding to the user of the authentication information is read from the usage amount data 231. The communication processing unit 221 transmits the usage amount restriction information to the multifunction device 3. The usage amount restriction information for a certain user includes a cumulative usage amount value (for example, the number of processed pages) of each item and the upper limit value of each item for the user or a department to which the user belongs. When the usage amount is unlimited, for example, the upper limit value is preset to zero.

  The other configurations of the respective devices in the third embodiment are the same as those in the first or second embodiment, and thus the description thereof is omitted.

  Next, usage management according to the third embodiment will be described. FIG. 7 is a flowchart for explaining usage amount management processing of the multifunction machine 3 according to the third embodiment.

  As shown in the first embodiment, when the user performs a login operation on the multifunction device 3 and the user authentication by the server device 2 is successful, the control device 306 uses the usage amount limit indicating that the usage amount is unlimited for the user. It is determined whether or not the information is stored in the setting data 311 (step S41).

  When the usage amount restriction information indicating that the usage amount is unlimited is not stored in the setting data 311, the control device 306 transmits a transmission request for the usage amount restriction information corresponding to the user to the server device 2. The usage amount restriction information is received from the server device 2 (step S42).

  Then, the control device 306 determines whether or not the received usage amount restriction information indicates that the usage amount is unlimited (step S43).

  When it is determined that the received usage amount restriction information indicates that the usage amount is unlimited, the control device 306 holds the usage amount restriction information in the setting data 311 (step S44).

  On the other hand, when it is determined that the received usage amount restriction information does not indicate that the usage amount is unlimited, the control device 306 starts the usage amount monitoring process (step S45). In the usage monitoring process, every time an image forming process is executed, the usage in the item corresponding to the process is cumulatively counted, and it is determined whether or not the usage has reached the upper limit value. When the value of the quantity reaches the upper limit value, execution of the process corresponding to the item is prohibited.

  If it is determined in step S41 that the usage amount restriction information indicating that the usage amount is unlimited is held in the setting data 311, the control device 306 uses the usage amount restriction information from the server device 2. Do not get

  If it is determined in step S41 that the usage amount restriction information indicating that the usage amount is unlimited is held in the setting data 311 and the usage amount restriction information received in step S42 indicates that the usage amount is unlimited. Each time the image forming process is executed, the usage amount in the item corresponding to the processing is cumulatively counted, but the usage amount has reached the upper limit value. It is not determined whether or not.

  When the user logs out, the control device 306 transmits the value of the usage amount at that time with the network interface card 301 to the server device 2 together with the user authentication information or the session ID. In the server device 2, the communication processing unit 221 receives the usage value, and the usage pipe monitoring unit 223 uses the received usage value to limit the usage amount for the user or the department to which the user belongs. Update the usage value in the information.

  As described above, according to the third embodiment, when there is no usage amount restriction, it is not necessary to monitor the usage amount in real time because the use of the multifunction device 3 is not prohibited according to the usage amount. For this reason, when there is no usage amount limitation, when the usage amount restriction information indicating that the usage amount is unlimited is received in the image forming apparatus such as the multifunction machine 3, the usage amount restriction information is retained and retained. Omit requests for information. Therefore, the time required for processing at the time of user login is shortened.

Embodiment 4
The image forming system according to the fourth embodiment of the present invention has the same configuration as the image forming system according to any one of the first to third embodiments, and the multifunction device 3 detects that the server device 2 is down. Display an error message.

  In the fourth embodiment, the control device 306 of the multifunction device 3 accesses the default server device 2 with the network interface card 301 at the time of activation, and if there is no response from the server device 2 within a certain period, an error message is displayed. Is displayed on the display device of the operation panel 307. FIG. 8 is a diagram showing an example of an error message display screen in the fourth embodiment.

  After that, when the next process is selected by the user, the control device 306 executes the process.

  For example, in the case shown in FIG. 8, one of “server setting”, “alternative server selection”, “reconnect later”, and “end” is selected as the next processing.

  When “server setting” is selected, a setting screen for designating a server device is displayed. On the setting screen, the user can specify another server device.

  When “select alternative server” is selected, a list of alternative servers registered in advance in the setting data 311 is displayed, and one of the alternative servers is selected based on a user operation and is used in place of the server apparatus 2. .

  When “reconnect later” is selected, the control device 306 tries again to access the server device 2 after a predetermined time (for example, 3 minutes).

  If “end” is selected, the control device 306 stops the activation process.

  Since other processes in the fourth embodiment are the same as those in any of the first to third embodiments, description thereof is omitted.

  As described above, according to the fourth embodiment, the user can know that the server apparatus 2 is down.

Embodiment 5 FIG.
The image forming system according to the fifth embodiment of the present invention has the same configuration as the image forming system according to any one of the first to fourth embodiments, and the server apparatus 2 is an authentication set in the multifunction machine 3. It is determined whether or not the method is compatible with the relay processing method set in the server apparatus 2.

  In the fifth embodiment, the multifunction device 3 has the user authentication setting for specifying the presence / absence of user authentication and the user authentication method in the multifunction device 3 in the setting data 311, and the control device 306 sets the user authentication setting at the time of activation. It transmits to the server device 2.

  Further, in the fifth embodiment, the server apparatus 2 has in the setting data 232 a relay process setting that specifies the relay process of the image output data executed by the server apparatus from a plurality of predetermined relay processing methods, and the authentication processing unit When the user authentication setting is received from the multifunction device 3, 222 determines whether the user authentication setting matches the relay processing setting, and the communication processing unit 221 sends the determination result to the control device 306 of the multifunction device 3. Send.

  The server apparatus 2 sets compatibility data indicating whether or not combinations of values that can be taken by the user authentication setting of the MFP 3 and values that can be taken by the relay processing setting of the server apparatus 2 are compatible with each other in the setting data 232. Have. The suitability data may be provided individually for each of a plurality of image forming apparatuses such as the multifunction machine 3 and the printer 4, or common suitability data may be used for the plurality of image forming apparatuses. It may be.

  FIG. 9 is a diagram illustrating an example of compatibility data according to the fifth embodiment.

  As shown in FIG. 9, in the MFP 3 according to the fifth embodiment, the user authentication setting is any one of “authentication off”, “local authentication”, “network authentication”, and “mediation server authentication”.

  In the case of “authentication off”, the user can use the multifunction machine 3 without performing user authentication.

  In the case of “local authentication”, whether the MFP 3 has user registration data, and the control device 306 refers to the user registration data, and whether the user authentication information acquired by the card reader 31 is valid. Determine whether.

  In the case of “network authentication”, the control device 306 directly transmits a user authentication request to the authentication server device 6, receives a user authentication result from the authentication server device 6, and based on the user authentication result, the card reader 31. It is determined whether or not the user authentication information acquired by the above is valid.

  In the case of “mediation server authentication”, the control device 306 transmits user authentication information to the server device 2 and causes the server device 2 to perform user authentication as in the first embodiment.

  On the other hand, as shown in FIG. 9, in the server device 2 according to the fifth embodiment, the relay processing settings are “transfer printing”, “dumb printing”, “job selection printing under single authentication”, and “under full authentication”. Selective job printing with "."

  Note that “transfer printing” is a processing method in which when the image output data is received from the client device 1, the server device 2 does not hold it, but immediately transmits it to a designated image forming apparatus.

  “Dum printing” is a processing method in which all image output data associated with user authentication information is transmitted to the image forming apparatus when user authentication is successful.

  “Job selection printing under single authentication” and “Job selection printing under full authentication” are those shown in the second embodiment. “Job selection printing” indicates that the image output data and the type of image forming processing can be selected.

  According to the suitability data shown in FIG. 9, the user authentication setting of the MFP 3 that matches the relay processing setting “transfer printing” of the server device 2 is only “authentication off”, and the relay processing setting “ The user authentication setting of the multi-function device 3 that conforms to “job selection printing under single authentication” and “job selection printing under full authentication” is only “mediation server authentication”.

  Therefore, in the case of the suitability data shown in FIG. 9, the authentication processing unit 222 determines that the user authentication setting value from the MFP 3 is “local authentication” and the relay processing setting is “job selection printing under full authentication”. ”, The user authentication setting is determined to be incompatible, and the communication processing unit 221 transmits the determination result to the control device 306 of the multifunction machine 3.

  The control device 306 of the multifunction device 3 receives the determination result, and if the user authentication setting is incompatible, for example, an error message indicating that fact is displayed on the display device of the operation panel 307.

  Alternatively, if the user authentication setting is incompatible, the authentication processing unit 222 of the server device 2 transmits compatibility data together with the determination result to the multifunction device 3, and the control device 306 of the multifunction device 3 relays the user authentication setting. If it does not match the processing setting, the user authentication setting may be changed to a setting that matches the relay processing setting with reference to the suitability data.

  Alternatively, if the user authentication setting is incompatible, the authentication processing unit 222 of the server device 2 changes the relay processing setting to a setting that matches the user authentication setting so that the user authentication setting becomes compatible. Also good. For example, when the relay process setting is “dumb printing” and the user authentication setting is “mediation server authentication”, the authentication processing unit 222 first determines that the user authentication setting is incompatible. The “dumb printing” is changed to “job selective printing under full authentication”, and then it is determined that the user authentication setting matches the relay processing setting.

  Since other processes in the fifth embodiment are the same as those in any of the first to fourth embodiments, description thereof is omitted.

  As described above, according to the fifth embodiment, the multifunction device 3 detects that user authentication will fail due to the system configuration (inappropriate authentication method) before executing the printing process. be able to.

Embodiment 6 FIG.
The image forming system according to the sixth embodiment of the present invention has the same configuration as the image forming system according to any one of the first to fifth embodiments, and the image forming process to the multifunction device 3 that does not go through the server device 2. Prohibit requests.

  In the sixth embodiment, even if image output data is transmitted from a device other than the server device 2 to the multifunction device 3 via the network 7, the network interface card 301 or the control device 306 does not receive the image output data.

  For example, when the IP address of the transmission source of the image output data is not that of the server device 2, the control device 306 does not receive the image output data.

  Further, the server device 2 adds a session ID to the image output data, and the control device 306 receives the image output data once, and discards the image output data when there is no session ID. Also good.

  The printer 4 performs similar processing.

  Since other processes in the sixth embodiment are the same as those in any of the first to fifth embodiments, description thereof is omitted.

  As described above, according to the sixth embodiment, since the image forming process such as printing cannot be executed without user authentication by the server apparatus 2 from the installation place of the image forming apparatus, Secret leakage from the printer 4 can be prevented.

Embodiment 7 FIG.
The image forming system according to the seventh embodiment of the present invention has the same configuration as the image forming system according to any of the first to fifth embodiments, and the control device 306 of the multifunction machine 3 is other than the server device 2. For image output data received from the apparatus, use of some functions of the multifunction machine 3 is prohibited.

  The control device 306 of the multifunction device 3 prohibits the use of high-performance functions such as color printing and high-speed printing for image output data received from devices other than the server device 2.

  Since other processes in the seventh embodiment are the same as those in any of the first to fifth embodiments, description thereof is omitted.

  As described above, according to the seventh embodiment, with respect to image output data received from a device other than the server device, the user can prohibit the use of high-performance functions such as color printing, high-speed printing, etc. Motivation to use 2 can be increased.

Embodiment 8 FIG.
The image forming system according to the eighth embodiment of the present invention has the same configuration as the image forming system according to any one of the first to fifth embodiments, and outputs an image from a device other than the server device 2 to the multifunction device 3. Data is transferred from the multifunction device 3 to the server device 2.

  When the control device 306 of the multifunction device 3 receives image output data from a device other than the server device 2, the control device 306 transfers the image output data to the server device 2. The communication processing unit 221 of the server device 2 receives the image output data with the network interface card 205, and the output data management unit 21 stores the image output data in the output data storage unit 22. Therefore, the image forming process is not immediately executed, and the image output data is held in the server device 2.

  The output data management unit 21 of the server device 2 may store the transferred image output data in the output data storage unit 22 in association with user authentication information of a predetermined user (for example, an administrator). . As a result, the predetermined user (for example, an administrator) can monitor the occurrence of a job to be printed without going through the server device.

  In addition, after the user authentication is successful, the control device 306 of the multifunction machine 3 to which the user has logged in acquires a list of image output data held in the server device 2 in this way from the server device 2, and the list When the user's image output data is selected, the image output data is acquired from the server device 2 and the image forming process is executed on the image output data in the same manner as in the first embodiment. It may be.

  The printer 4 performs similar processing.

  Since other processes in the eighth embodiment are the same as those in any of the first to fifth embodiments, description thereof is omitted.

  As described above, according to the eighth embodiment, since the image forming apparatus cannot be used without going through the server apparatus 2, it is possible to prevent confidential leakage from the multifunction machine 3 and the printer 4.

  Each embodiment described above is a preferred example of the present invention, but the present invention is not limited to these, and various modifications and changes can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. It is.

  For example, in each of the above embodiments, the image output data is, for example, an image format such as JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) format, TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) format, PDF (Portable Document Format) format, EPS (Encapsulated Post Script). ) Data such as format may be used.

  In each of the above embodiments, only one multifunction device 3 is provided. However, a system in which a plurality of multifunction devices are connected to the network 7 can be configured.

  Further, in each of the above embodiments, the server device 2 may have the function of the authentication server device 6 without providing the authentication server device 6.

  Further, in each of the above embodiments, a group of image forming apparatuses such as the multifunction machine 3 and the printer 4 is provided, group identification information is added to the image output data in the client apparatus 1, and the server apparatus 2 associates the group identification information with the group identification information. You may make it hold | maintain image output data. In this case, a list of image output data associated with the group identification information of the group to which the image forming apparatus belongs and the user authentication information of the login user is transmitted from the server apparatus 2 to the multifunction machine 3.

  In each of the above embodiments, the control device 306 of the multifunction machine 3 sends a request for deleting the image output data to the network interface card for the image output data selected by the user after the list of image output data is displayed. It may be transmitted to the server apparatus 2 at 301. In this case, when the deletion request is received by the communication processing unit 221, the output data management unit 21 of the server device 2 deletes the requested image output data from the output data storage unit 22. A session ID is added to this deletion request.

  In each of the above embodiments, the output data management unit 21 of the server device 2 may automatically delete image output data that has passed a predetermined period (for example, one month) since storage.

  The present invention is applicable to, for example, an image forming system having a plurality of multifunction peripherals.

DESCRIPTION OF SYMBOLS 1 Client apparatus 2 Server apparatus 3 Multifunction machine (an example of an image forming apparatus)
4 Printer (an example of an image forming apparatus)
5 Card reader (an example of electronic equipment)
6 Authentication server device 7 Network 21 Output data management unit (an example of data management means)
31 Card reader (an example of acquisition means)
205 Network interface card (an example of a first communication device, an example of a communication device)
221 Communication processing unit (an example of data receiving means, an example of data transmitting means)
222 Authentication processing unit (an example of authentication processing means)
301 Network interface card (an example of a second communication device, an example of a communication device)
306 Control device (an example of control means)

Claims (10)

  1. At least one image forming apparatus connected to the network;
    A server device connected to the network;
    A client device connected to the network for generating image output data from document data and transmitting the image output data to the server device;
    The server device
    A first communication device connected to the network;
    Data receiving means for receiving the image output data by the first communication device;
    Data management means for storing the image output data in a predetermined storage device;
    User authentication information input based on a user operation is received from the image forming apparatus or an electronic device previously associated with the image forming apparatus via the network by the first communication apparatus, and the user authentication information is Authentication processing means for determining whether or not it is legitimate,
    When it is determined that the user authentication information is valid, the image output data associated with the user authentication information among the image output data is transmitted to the image forming apparatus by the first communication apparatus. Data transmission means for
    The image forming apparatus includes:
    A second communication device connected to the network;
    Obtaining means for obtaining the user authentication information based on a user operation;
    Control means for transmitting the user authentication information to the server apparatus by the second communication apparatus, receiving the image output data from the server apparatus by the second communication apparatus, and performing image forming processing based on the image output data And
    When the second communication device receives image output data from a device other than the server device, the control unit of the image forming device outputs the image without performing image forming processing on the image output data. Transferring data to the server device;
    The data receiving means of the server device receives the image output data by the first communication device,
    The data management means of the server device stores the image output data in a predetermined storage device ,
    The image forming apparatus has a user authentication setting that specifies the presence / absence of user authentication and a user authentication method in the image forming apparatus,
    The control unit of the image forming apparatus transmits the user authentication setting to the server apparatus at startup,
    The server device has a relay processing setting for specifying a relay processing of image output data to be executed by the server device from a plurality of predetermined print processing methods.
    When the user authentication setting is received from the image forming apparatus, the authentication processing unit of the server device determines whether or not the user authentication setting matches the relay processing setting;
    The data transmission unit of the server device transmits a determination result by the authentication processing unit to the control unit of the image forming apparatus;
    An image forming system.
  2.   2. The image forming system according to claim 1, wherein the data management unit of the server device stores the image output data in the predetermined storage device in association with user authentication information of a predetermined user.
  3. An authentication server device connected to the network, having registered user authentication information, and performing user authentication based on the registered user authentication information;
    Authentication processing means of the server device transmits user authentication information from the image forming apparatus or the electronic device to the authentication server device by the first communication device to execute user authentication, and the first communication device performs the user authentication. Receiving the result of the user authentication from the authentication server device, and determining whether the user authentication information is valid based on the result;
    The image forming system according to claim 1.
  4. The control unit of the image forming apparatus acquires a list of the image output data of the user of the user authentication information from the server apparatus, selects the image output data from the list based on a user operation, and selects the selected Sending a request for transmission of image output data to the server device, receiving the image output data from the server device, and performing an image forming process based on the image output data,
    The data transmission means of the server device transmits the image output data requested from the image forming device to the image forming device that has transmitted the user authentication information and the transmission request;
    The image forming system according to claim 1.
  5. The control unit of the image forming apparatus transmits the user authentication information only to a part of a plurality of image forming processes to the server apparatus, and after determining that the user authentication information is valid, The image output data is received from the server device, and the image forming process is performed based on the image output data. Whether the user authentication information is valid for the rest of the plurality of image forming processes Let the image formation process be done without going through
    The data transmission unit of the server device transmits the image output data to the image forming device without performing user authentication by the authentication processing unit in the remaining cases of the plurality of image forming processes. Transmitting with a communication device,
    The image forming system according to claim 1.
  6. When the usage amount restriction information indicating that the usage amount is unlimited is not held, the control unit of the image forming apparatus issues a request for transmission of the usage amount restriction information corresponding to the user of the user authentication information. When the communication device transmits to the server device, the second communication device receives the usage amount restriction information, and the received usage amount restriction information indicates that the usage amount is unlimited, the usage amount Keeps the limit information,
    When it is determined that the user authentication information is valid, the data transmission unit of the server device responds to the user of the user authentication information when the transmission request for the usage amount restriction information is received. Sending usage restriction information to the image forming apparatus;
    The image forming system according to claim 1.
  7.   The control unit of the image forming apparatus accesses the server apparatus by the second communication apparatus at the time of activation, and displays an error message on a predetermined display apparatus when there is no response from the server apparatus. The image forming system according to claim 1, wherein:
  8.   The control unit of the image forming apparatus changes the user authentication setting to a setting that matches the relay processing setting when the user authentication setting does not match the relay processing setting. The image forming system described.
  9. The image forming system according to any one of claims 1 to 8 , wherein the image output data is print data described in a page description language.
  10. In a server device connected to a network to which at least one image forming device is connected,
    A communication device connected to the network,
    Data receiving means for receiving image output data in the communication device;
    Data management means for storing the image output data in a predetermined storage device;
    The user authentication information input based on a user operation, via the network in the communication device receives from the electronic device associated in advance in the image forming apparatus or the image forming apparatus, is legitimate the user authentication information Authentication processing means for determining whether or not
    The image forming apparatus that transmits the user authentication information to the image output data associated with the user authentication information among the image output data when the user authentication information is determined to be valid. Data transmitting means for transmitting to the communication device;
    A storage device for storing relay processing settings for specifying relay processing of image output data to be executed by the server device from a plurality of predetermined print processing methods ;
    The data receiving unit receives image output data received from the apparatus other than the server apparatus by the image forming apparatus and transferred to the server apparatus without performing the image forming process by the communication apparatus,
    The data management means stores the transferred image output data in a predetermined storage device ,
    The image forming apparatus has a user authentication setting for specifying presence / absence of user authentication and a user authentication method in the image forming apparatus, and transmits the user authentication setting to the server apparatus at the time of activation,
    When receiving the user authentication setting from the image forming apparatus, the authentication processing unit determines whether or not the user authentication setting matches the relay processing setting,
    The data transmission unit transmits a determination result by the authentication processing unit to the image forming apparatus;
    A server device.
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