Secure print services are key to digital transformation

Information technology (IT) security is firmly established as a top priority for most businesses, just behind digital transformation as a key business initiative, according to this Market Spotlight from IDC. However, while both are considered key business differentiators, it’s important to understand how digital transformation and security are intimately linked.

Today’s digital technologies (big data, cloud, mobile, and social) mean every device connected to the network is potentially an endpoint security risk—including printers and print infrastructure. But while tech-savvy organisations have zeroed in on a network and other security issues, most are blind to the vulnerabilities associated with their print and document environment.

Digital Transformations

At the heart of this issue is the role of the smart MFP. The MFP—an intelligent business processing hub acting as an on- and off-ramp to valued business and client information—can access data stored in the device, on the corporate network, on paper, or in the cloud. As an unmanaged and connected device, the MFP is a potential security risk. Yet more than 30 percent of organizations have no security policies in place for managing access to and controlling usage rights for printers and MFPs located on the network, according to IDC’s User Perspectives on Print Security, 2015. At the same time, over 50 percent of respondents surveyed by IDC expressed a high level of concern regarding the unauthorised use of copiers or MFPs.

The print environment is unique because it manages data, documents, and information in both digital and paper format, so business-critical content is exposed and vulnerable in a variety of ways. Thus, potential security breaches from malicious attacks using a network printer or MFP as an entry point—or careless use of devices by employees—pose a very real threat. The MFP is a front-line asset that needs to be secured by the organisation. Working with a managed print service (MPS) provider can play an important role in advancing your organisation’s print and document security strategy.

Some MPS providers have the tools and resources to help businesses identify and prioritise current security threats and to uncover and assess gaps in existing device and content infrastructure. They can also bring together the appropriate stakeholders in your business to develop and deploy secure managed print services to deal with vulnerabilities, harden the document infrastructure, and mitigate future security risks.

Organisations need to move from reactive to proactive when it comes to securing their print and document infrastructure by considering MPS providers with core competencies in threat level assessment and remediation capabilities. Neglecting to secure the print environment as part of an overall IT strategy leaves an organisation as vulnerable as if it were taking no IT security action at all.