According to IDC research, 80% of the companies we surveyed indicated that IT security is important to their business processes, but only 59% of these companies stated that print security is important to their business processes. In addition, senior management is almost 40% more likely to be involved in decision making for overall IT security than for print security. We believe these findings show a lack of attention to print security that may leave businesses vulnerable. IDC research has revealed that there are compelling reasons for businesses to pay closer attention to print security as there are substantial IT and business benefits derived from a secure print environment, such as:
- IDC survey research found that more than half of companies surveyed have experienced an IT security breach that included print security within the past 12 months.
- Any organisation’s print/document environment is full of vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can come from malicious attacks from inside or outside the organisation as well as careless usage of printing devices and output. Potential print-related security breaches could occur from the device’s network ports, print/copy/scan job interception, print/MFP hard drives and memory (RAM), printed or copied documents left in output trays, or illegal use of secure media (checks, prescriptions), and so forth.
- In-depth enterprise interviews IDC conducted with organisation that have some level of print and related document workflow security revealed two types of enterprises embracing print/ document security:
- Companies with security and compliance concerns embracing an enterprisewide secure IT infrastructure
- Companies motivated by cost and IT efficiencies gained by security initiatives
- Interviews conducted by IDC with organisations that have initiated a print security program revealed that they have achieved the most significant benefits and business value in three areas: improved printer security, IT staff efficiencies, and cost reductions. Organisations interviewed reported an impressive collection of achievements for their print and security environments, including:
- Experiencing up to six times fewer printer-related security breaches on average after deploying printer security solutions
- Cutting staff time needed to support their printer environments in half on average after deploying printer security solutions
- Saving an average of 15% on paper, toner, and ink costs
- The manner in which print security solutions are implemented determines not only their effectiveness but also how much employee productivity is impacted. There are key technology, people, and process requirements to consider in order to ensure maximum benefits.
Why Businesses Should Care About Print/Document Infrastructure Security
Most organisations have made IT security a priority for their organisations… and with good reason. The proliferation of computing, mobile, cloud, and other technologies is facilitating an IT environment in which knowledge workers need and demand “anytime, anywhere” access to business information. However, IDC often finds that printing assets and print-related technologies are an overlooked element of an organisation’s IT security strategy.
IDC supplemented the in-depth interviews with analysis stemming from survey work. Qualified respondents came from over 440 organisations of all sizes and were full-time employees. The respondents had to have knowledge of the printing equipment used at the company as well as knowledge of the company’s IT security policies.
IDC survey research found that more than half of companies in the past 12 months have experienced an IT security breach that included print security.
So, why should businesses change their existing approach to print security and secure their print devices as they do other technologies (PCs, servers, mobile devices, etc.)? The answer is that an unsecured print infrastructure translates into an overall unsecured IT environment. The risk of printer-related security breaches is higher than one might expect, and there are costly liabilities.
IDC survey research found that more than half of companies in the past 12 months have experienced an IT security breach that included print security. This vulnerability can come from malicious attacks from inside or outside the organisations as well as careless usage of printing devices and output. Potential print-related security breaches could occur from network ports, print/copy/scan job interception, print/MFP hard drives and memory (RAM), printed or copied documents left in output trays, illegal use of secure media (checks, prescriptions), and so forth. In detail:
- Unsecured network ports are an entry point to the company network and information assets.
- Printing confidential documents (e.g., documents with patient information or client financial transactions) on shared printers where the documents sit in the output tray for any period of time is an opportunity for theft of confidential information and regulatory compliance failures.
- Transmitting print/scan data that is not encrypted is practically an invitation to hackers.
Security breaches are costly. There are three types of potential financial liabilities:
- Company resources used to address the breach. Companies that suffer a security breach will use significant employee time and costs to “clean up” the incident. Potential revenue-generating opportunities are delayed or cancelled to deal with it.
- Fines/penalties. Companies may face a financial penalty for noncompliance (e.g., HIPAA) or lawsuits from a breach of client-customer confidentiality.
- Company reputation. In the aftermath of the incident, the organisation could still suffer financially because of a tarnished reputation from bad press.
This article is an excerpt from the IDC whitepaper: The Business Value of Printer Security, to read the full whitepaper, click here.
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