5 ways managed print services can boost print security

April 5, 20184 minute read

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Cybersharks are surfing the digital waves, frenzy-feeding on outdated printers. The numbers tell a grim story: 64 percent of IT managers state their printers are likely infected with malware; 73 percent of CISOs expect a major security breach within a year, and the average annual cost of cybercrime is $7.7 million.

Many IT decision-makers are fighting back against cybercriminals by aligning with managed print services (MPS) providers who offer ironclad print security solutions. If you haven’t yet dipped into the MPS pool, check out the “IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Security Solutions and Services Hardcopy 2017 Vendor Assessment” for a deep dive into the topic and advice to help you sail through the decision-making process. Here are five ways to ensure you get the most out of your MPS partnership.

1. Know how your devices are protected

First, you’ll want to determine the level of complexity expected for print and document security within your business over the next three years. More vendors are baking security enhancements into their hardware, but solutions and services should extend protection well beyond the device. Here are a few questions to circle on your checklist when talking with vendors:

  1. How will embedded features protect your documents as they travel from creation and storage to disposal?
  2. How quickly can the printer lock down?
  3. Is the system scalable?
  4. Will it integrate into your environment easily?

2. Understand your current environment

Just imagine the panic you’d feel if you were running late to a budget meeting with the out-of-country CFO, went to grab your proposals and projections off the printer, and they were nowhere to be found. That’s just one specific—and pretty terrifying—example of why the location of a printer and who has access to printed documents need to be reassessed ASAP.

Are your printers located in an open area, under lock and key, or available from the cloud? Each scenario has an associated security risk you must identify and protect. Do you have adequate data encryption, pull printing authentication (i.e., passwords, ID cards, etc.), and hard drive security—especially for outside maintenance?

3. Ensure print security

Integrating print security within the context of your overall IT security strategy is a no-brainer, considering the importance of these endpoint devices. With some of the most exploitable vulnerabilities around, the printer is overlooked way too often—leaving the network wide open to cybercriminals.

You’ll find a lot of options for device- and data-level protection services, many of which integrate with existing document management and enterprise content management systems. Some security features even address governance and regulatory compliance issues. As you examine how your printer fleet serves your business, you’ll want to step toward spelling out security requirements for the long haul, too.

4. Look to your existing hardcopy vendors

Trust is critical when establishing a third-party relationship, so don’t let yourself wear rose-colored glasses if you’ve been with a vendor for a while. Work with your current vendors to jointly develop a roadmap that spells out how new technologies can be incorporated into your systems as your business expands or changes direction. Seek out vendors with core competencies in print and document workflow, content management, and secure print services. Your strategy should provide automatic tracking and compliance with few touch points to ensure accuracy and timely reporting.

5. Identify industry-specific capabilities

The government, hospitals, finance, oil and gas, and many other industry regulators inflict steep penalties if rules aren’t followed to the letter. The cybersecurity needs of the federal government will differ, for example, from those of a healthcare organization—HIPAA laws and patient data protection are top of mind for hospitals, but government operations will be more concerned with cyberterrorism and data privacy. Hold your team accountable for knowing and keeping up with all the regulations affecting your industry—so you can ensure your vendors are doing everything you need them to do.

These five steps will help you crystalize how managed print services can address your company’s level of complexity and create a viable plan for print security.

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