5 ways to lock down print security with managed print services

July 27, 20183 Minute Read

Cybersharks are surfing the digital waves, frenzy-feeding on outdated printers. The numbers tell a grim story: 40 percent of Canadian organizations surveyed recently had an IT security breach, and over half—56 percent—were print-related. This is despite the fact a full third of organizations consider more than half of their documents private or sensitive.

Many IT decision-makers are fighting back against cybercriminals by aligning with managed print services (MPS) providers who offer ironclad print security solutions. Here are five ways to ensure you get the most out of your MPS partnership.

1. Protect every device

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 security 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. Know your IT environment

Just imagine the panic you’d feel if you were running late to a budget meeting with the 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 factors, like the physical location of a printer and who has access to printed documents, need reassessment ASAP.

Are your printers located in an open area, under lock and key, or accessible from the cloud? Every 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. Establish a place for 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 and 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. Turn to your vendors for help

Trust is critical when establishing a third-party relationship, so take off those rose-coloured glasses if you’ve been with a vendor for a while. Work with your current vendors to jointly develop a roadmap spelling 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 various touch points to ensure accuracy and timely reporting.

5. Identify industry-specific needs

The government, hospitals, finance, oil and gas, and many other industries can face steep penalties if rules aren’t followed to the letter. The cybersecurity needs of the federal government will differ from those of a healthcare organization—PIPEDA 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 a plan for implementing managed print services that can adequately address your company’s level of complexity while creating a viable strategy for print security.

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