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Modernising print security for today's working world


By CPC Helpdesk

The following is a guest blog by Quentyn Taylor, Senior Director of Information Security, Product Security and Global Response at Canon for EMEA.

Security is a top priority for the education sector, but the speed at which the cyber security landscape is evolving and the increasing sophistication of cyber attacks means a detailed understanding of where some of the biggest risks are coming from. This is limited amongst many Chief Information Security Officers and IT managers. By 2025, the cost of cyber crime for businesses is predicted to reach $10.5 trillion, up from $8 trillion in 2023.  Despite this trend, print security continues to be overlooked. In fact, according to research from Quocirca, printed documents represent nearly one third (27%) of IT security incidents, yet print security is low on the agenda when compared to other elements of the technology stack like cloud, email, and public networks.

In spite of this fact, 61% of organisations have experienced data losses due to unsecure printing practices over the past year. At a time where cyber attacks are on the rise, and will become increasingly common, it is critical that education establishments do not overlook the importance of securing the print environment as a crucial building block for a robust security infrastructure.

The impact of hybrid working

To address the evolving security challenges posed by people working in schools, colleges or universities and remotely, organisations need to implement additional measures to safeguard their networks and the sensitive information that travels on them.

When everyone worked in person full-time, organisations heavily relied on traditional security measures to protect their documents, including office security, traditional password encryption, network security and firewalls. In fact, recent research from Quocirca found that 39% of organisations are finding it harder and harder to keep up with print security demands as the education enviroment has evolved into the hybrid spaces for both staff and students.

The combination of remote and in person has increased the use of personal and mobile devices, which are not protected by the organisation’s robust security infrastructure. This leaves private end-user devices susceptible to breaches when working or studying away from the education establishment. As a result, security leaders are forced to reassess their cyber security strategies to specifically address document protection in this new landscape.

This is highlighted in a recent report from IDC, which shows that 43% of respondents cite security vulnerabilities and the ability to ensure that at-home print devices are compliant with governance and security policies as a top challenge.  With staff and students printing documents from their own homes and personal devices, the risks of potential data breaches and unauthorised access have significantly increased.

This paradigm shift in work dynamics calls for a more robust approach to print security. Organisations must adapt to the reality that sensitive documents may be accessed and printed on various remote devices that do not have the same level of protection as the wider organisation network. Consequently, security leaders are now tasked with reimagining their strategies, implementing measures to secure documents at every stage of their lifecycle, whether printed or electronic, and regardless of the device used or where it is located.

Robust security measures are the key for hybrid workplace safety

It is imperative for organisations that don’t currently have robust measures in place to safeguard their documents sooner rather than later. Third-party providers can play a significant role in enhancing secure practices around remote printing devices. While many organisations already invest in third party services, only 32% are satisfied with their security offerings.  As such, it is crucial for organisations to work with vendors that prioritise security from the ground up, ensuring it is implemented at every stage of the printing process.

Organisations should aim for services that offer a comprehensive, 360-degree approach to security, covering devices, software, networks, and cloud-based services. Many lean on third-party vendors that specialise in secure information management, to help ensure that sensitive documents are protected throughout their lifecycle, from storage and transmission to printing and disposal.

Leveraging external expertise can help strengthen organisational print security measures, promote a holistic approach to print security, and ensure a culture of secure practices is in place. In doing so, organisations can mitigate cyber attacks by safeguarding the confidentiality and integrity of their printed materials, particularly when using remote end-devices.

Prioritising print security for your organisation

It goes without saying that the safe moving and sharing of documents must be a crucial part of security. Implementing robust measures to safeguard sensitive documents is essential to mitigate potential risks and vulnerabilities. This includes adopting a comprehensive approach that covers devices, software, networks, and cloud-based services.

By recognising the importance of securing the print environment and implementing a proactive strategy, organisations can adopt a holistic 360-degree approach to print security and mitigate the risks of cyber attacks from the ground up.

To learn more from Canon on this particular subject, visit this link, or click here for further information on CPC's Multifunctional Devices and Digital Transformation Solutions purchasing framework, on which Canon UK are an approved, Lot 2 supplier.

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