April 26, 2022

Print and transformation: Why print belongs in your wider IT strategy

Scott Burridge
National DaaS Specialist at Data#3
The phrase business (or digital) transformation brings to mind fundamental changes to techniques, processes, and technologies with the goal of maximising capacity and performance. However, transformation isn’t solely about big moves like overhauling key business systems or consolidating and augmenting datasets for fast decision making. After all, the goal of business transformation initiatives is to ensure the best processes and systems are being implemented within an organisation, at any level.

Which brings us to the important role that print should play in your broader IT strategy.

Release the wolf… HP Wolf that is.

We’ll start with security because it’s one of the most important aspects of your IT strategy. HP did an awesome job with their Wolf video series – check out the video below if you haven’t seen any of the episodes.

Put simply, printers are connected devices – so they present a security risk. Yet despite this, many organisations still do not take the necessary steps to protect printers and the data they store – making printers an attractive target for cybercriminals, being used to:

  • Launch unauthorised print jobs
  • Access confidential data from memory or previous file and print jobs
  • Access the network or other applications for further security breaches
  • Configure changes to reroute print jobs or intercept transmissions
  • Manipulate print jobs
  • Access hard drives when printers are decommissioned.

To minimise risks, you need layered protection and fleet-wide resiliency. As part of our Managed Services offering (more details below), we assess your vulnerabilities and compliance needs to develop a robust security plan that secures all your printers and associated data. We use a combination of HP’s embedded security features and Data#3 security best practices to bring your print fleet in line with your enterprise’s overarching security posture.

HP Printers offer: Data#3 enhances print security with:
· Real-time detection · User authentication
· Automated monitoring · Secure mobile printing
· Ongoing protection validation · Streamlined digital processes

More than just printing on paper

When you really dive into the “what” (is printed), “why” (it is printed) and “who” (printed it), it’s easy to see how you can optimise your print environment. This can be transformative on so many levels, including:

  • Syncing user profiles from Windows Active Directory, Google Cloud Directory, Azure Active Directory and LDAP for fast account creation and full tracking
  • Defining and creating print policies to track and control printing and copying based on users, department, class, or client
  • Automating the setup of print queues and print driver deployment
  • Enabling secure, trackable printing via any device including mobile and BYOD
  • Setting up Secure Print Release to bolster document security and reduce wasteful, uncollected print jobs
  • Integrating with third-party systems like payment gateways, accounting systems and more
  • Prioritising cost recovery by assigning costs for print settings such as single vs double-sided, colour vs grayscale etc.
  • Defining pay-for-print settings to give users or groups print quotas
  • Additional security such as end-to-end encryption, User authentication, and watermarking and digital signatures
  • Web-based admin dashboard for centralised management of every user and printing device.

“The top perceived print-security risk is malware, rated as the highest concern by 70%. However, when it comes to actual incidents, 32% of incidents are caused by the accidental actions of internal users.” [1]

The above are all delivered through our partnership with PaperCut and their powerful print management solution – PaperCut MF – that enables you to track, manage, and secure all aspects of your printing, copying and scanning. This cross-platform, vendor-neutral solution takes care of all your print management needs, without sacrificing the user experience.

It makes sense to get it managed

For most organisations, the importance of print is often overlooked – and it shouldn’t be. It’s a substantial expense, typically only outspent by payroll and rent [2]. This is because each day print activities quickly add up. Costs don’t just stem from the ink and paper used to print a page; all parts of the document – and printer – lifecycle contribute to the overall cost. This includes purchasing, supplying and servicing equipment, along with the cost of paper waste and energy, as well as employee time to order supplies, maintain and manage.

“62% of organisations are using a managed print solution to gain access to print management and security skills which are often lacking in-house.” [3]

This lack of attention to hard, discrete printing costs means many businesses might fail to recognise the real costs when print is managed in-house or to know if an existing managed print agreement is delivering everything it should for the price.

With in-office work flickering back to life, now is the ideal time to revisit your print needs in line with your wider IT strategy. Some things to consider:

  • An audit of existing printers and print behaviour – are they fit-for-purpose?
  • Do your printers have the same security controls as other connected devices in the organisation?
  • Can you track and account for all costs associated with print?
  • Do you have the ability to implement policies and workflows for greater control, security and cost recoverability?
  • If you’re in a managed contract, do you have full transparency of costs?

All you have to do is supply the paper

Our Managed Print service with HP sees Data#3 take primary responsibility for your print infrastructure as we identify ways to optimise and secure your environment. This involves consolidating devices, reducing usage, minimising waste and integrating efficient workflows and processes across your organisation. It also includes maintenance, consumables delivered as-needed, replacement of non-working or end-of-life printers, ongoing tracking of fleet usage and monitoring of user satisfaction.

Like all of Data#3’s Managed Services, it is packaged under a predictable monthly cost, so you only pay for what you use. It is so comprehensive that the only thing left for you to do is supply the paper.

Ready to optimise your print?

Print belongs in IT and should take its place in your wider transformation strategy too. We’ve shown how easy it is to initiate savings in this area, as well as the critical role printers as endpoints play in the security of your organisation. If you’re looking for new ways to drive IT efficiencies, then it’s time to take a closer look at what, and how, your organisation uses print.

To find out how Data#3’s new Managed Print Service can support your wider IT strategy, contact a Data#3 print specialist today.

[1] Quocirca Global Print Security Landscape, 2019 https://www.caltronics.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Quocirca-Print-Security-Feb-2019-Final-Web.pdf
[2] https://www.mimeo.com/blog/destroying-office-printer/
[3] Quocirca Global Print Security Landscape, 2019 https://www.caltronics.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Quocirca-Print-Security-Feb-2019-Final-Web.pdf