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Are You Overlooking This Technology to Improve Security and Cost Savings?

July 6, 2017 No Comments

Featured article by Michael O’Leary, Vice President, Pharos Systems International

You probably don’t give much thought to your organization’s office printing expenses. It’s not sexy, and it’s perceived by many people as “free.” However, you might want to think twice about this. For many companies, printing is one of the highest ongoing expense categories.

Office printing costs often fly under the radar because the true cost of printing is hidden in a variety of factors. In addition to the obvious factors like equipment, toner, service and paper costs, printers consume energy. And, the greater the number and variety of devices in your organization, the more time is required to configure and maintain them. The total time spent on print-related tasks by IT resources is difficult to accurately calculate, but most IT professionals would not describe it as trivial.

Many companies have reduced these costs by working with experts to design a holistic print strategy, starting with the programmatic collection of all print-related data to establish an enterprise baseline.

It’s important to keep in mind that this process is not just about saving money. Information security is a critical focus for all businesses today, especially those dealing with sensitive information on a daily basis. Many businesses are starting to realize that their printing infrastructure is an important part of their overall security strategy.

Three business sectors in particular benefit from strategic print solutions to improve efficiency and security:

1. Healthcare

Healthcare professionals work hard to comply with the requirements set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, but internal printing is often overlooked as a factor in compliance. The right print management strategy and tools can improve document security and cut costs, especially when the strategy is focused on the demand side — employee printing habits — rather than supplies and devices.

By leveraging reports, identifying volume outliers and implementing secure pull printing technology, some organizations are able to reduce printing volume (and therefore costs) by more than 40 percent.

For example, at Banner Health, print management has done wonders for improving efficiency and increasing savings. Banner is an integrated health network that has 28 facilities and more than 47,000 employees. Needless to say, a lot of printing goes on there — but not as much as in the past.

After a process of gathering and analyzing the printing activities of employees, Banner implemented a simple education and policy program that led a majority of employees to change their printing habits to help achieve new goals. By the end of 2016, the company had saved more than $16 million on its printing while improving workflow efficiency and information security.

2. Finance

Recent banking hacks have brought the role of printer security to the forefront. As a result, many banks and other financial institutions are taking steps to treat their networked printers with the same security scrutiny they give servers and employee workstations.

This security focus extends beyond the role of the printer as a potential malware vector; the more common threat is the risk introduced by the information stored inside, as well as the output from, these devices. That’s why it’s so important for companies to deploy secure pull printing technology.

In a secure print environment, employees must be physically present at a printer to log in using their proximity card or network credentials before they can print their documents. This simple workflow protects document confidentiality and ensures that employees can only access the documents for which they are accountable.

3. Government

Cost efficiency and information security are critical concerns and objectives of the government, and many agencies are catching on to the role print management plays in achieving those objectives. In our experience, deploying secure pull printing technology significantly reduces nonessential printing volume while protecting document confidentiality.

Several years ago, the U.S. Department of the Treasury conducted a spending analysis that recognized printing as a business activity that can be extremely wasteful, but one that also carries the potential to generate significant savings when managed effectively.

To this end, the General Services Administration issued a bulletin on federal print management practices, which estimated that government agencies can reduce their printing costs by as much as 30 percent with the right strategy. In our experience, this figure is conservative.

When your organization requires high levels of efficiency and security to function, a print management strategy is a must-have. Even if you think your company doesn’t print much internally, you may be surprised to learn how much is wasted. Print management is an aspect of business to which every company should pay careful attention.

MikeOLeary 150x150 Are Printers the New Endpoints of Security Vulnerability?

Michael O’Leary is vice president at Pharos Systems International, a print management software and solutions company based in Rochester, New York. With more than 30 years of experience in the technology and print industries, O’Leary leads an organization that provides expertise in software, subject matter expertise, thought leadership, and best practices to some of the largest companies in the world.

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