However, in today's print climate the biggest question is how do you choose a provider to nurture and transform your print estate? The answer is to look for one willing to work with what you have — the goal is to integrate with your pre-existing system, rather than replace it entirely. “The ground dictates which product will suit a customer,” said David Carthy, technical solutions manager of Ergo, an award-winning cloud and managed services provider.
“We have a number of software applications which we use — it’s just a case of knowing what they use, and understanding the pain points. You need to go into the organisation, sit down with them, and see what they print and how they print it. Dependent on that, we’ll work out what suits them best, and build the solution around them rather than pushing something on a customer which might not actually suit them.”
Additionally, there is the issue of security; a core value to any print estate that is becoming more and more of a contentious issue as the threat of cyber attacks loom larger than ever. The responsibility of this lies in large part with workers (human error has been identified repeatedly as accountable for the majority of security breaches), but can also be improved by use of managed print.
Carthy said, “When we bring this to organisations, it’s often a lightbulb moment: they realise they’ve not thought of any of this previously. We’ll engage InfoSec experts who are in charge of locking down the network. They’ll have firewalls and other security measures in place, but what about the printer in the office plugged into their network?”
During their initial audits, Ergo often needs to remind clients that multifunction device often leave everything open, and that various large-scale cyber attacks have occurred by targeting printers. One especially dramatic hack last February saw thousands of printers of various brands ‘pwned’, churning out the Ascii message “stackoverflowin the hacker god has returned, your printer is part of a flaming botnet”.
It might not be first on your list in terms of risk, but you’d be wise to consider print and document services in your preparations for 2018’s GDPR. Regulators instituting the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation will not look kindly on data loss, be it virtual or printed on paper. Ergo’s Carthy predicted a rise in concern around loss prevention through managed print: “More and more organisations, as we draw closer to GDPR being implemented, will have to look at this, and that’s when they’ll start asking their managed print providers: ‘What have you done about data loss prevention? How do I protect my documents, and prevent unauthorised printing?"
“When we engage potential customers and talk about print security, it’s no longer about pull printing. It’s normally document release–you swipe your card to release your document. But organisations need to realise that data is stored in SQL, so they need to have policies in place for managing that data. Say a disgruntled employee wants to leak a document from the organisation, how will they do it? They could email it to their own Gmail, or they could photocopy the document and print it."
“We bring solutions for issues like this. You can redact a document — say if the user wants to print a document featuring, say, a PPS number, a credit card number, we can make it so that the printer won’t print that, and will notify management that someone printed that document at that specific time, and it will add the document itself and save it as a PDF. We can also watermark every document printed.”
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