Brother targets printer data security amid digital revolution in the office
The digital revolution may have changed the office forever, but the latest research shows that 70 per cent of businesses still rely on physically printing documents on a daily basis.
Amid a rise in cybersecurity concerns, most businesses have taken a proactive approach to protecting their computer networks, but according to printer and scanner manufacturer Brother, many overlook the office printer as a potential source of security and privacy breaches.
“Security in document management needs to be considered at every step of the way, and that includes the printer,” says Stephen Nicholls, Managed Print Services (MPS) Specialist at Brother International Australia.
“It’s a very big concern. These days we may talk about businesses printing less, but the evidence shows that printing for many businesses is here to stay and the more they print the better the digital ecosystem they must have.”
Nicholls says research has revealed that many organisations are finding it harder to keep up with print security demands.
“Some 27 per cent of IT security incidents can be taken back to print,” Nicholls says.
“Among the biggest challenges for businesses are keeping print management software up to date, protecting sensitive and confidential documents from being printed and securing printing in the remote-work environment.”
Brother, which has been providing printing solutions to Australian businesses since 1977, has been developing products to make the office printer more secure for its users.
The company’s focus more recently has been on assisting businesses amid a change in the way printing in the office is done.
“Since COVID, we have seen a shift in workplaces to cater for smaller teams,” Nicholls says.
“This has led many to downsize their machines, yet they still want the same features of the larger printer units they have used in the past.
“In response, we have scaled up with a new product range that brings those features you will find on printers used by the bigger end of town.
“Comparing todays boxes with what we had five or 20 years ago, there’s a lot that’s changed under the hood.”
Brother has launched its most advanced A4 colour laser printer range to date with three new innovative machines that effectively deliver a no-cost full-blown security system usually found in larger printer infrastructure.
“First and foremost, the new models provide higher print volumes than Brother traditionally offers, with capacity for 15,000 pages a month compared to sub-10,000 in our earlier models,” Nicholls says.
“But it is in print security that these models excel as they all incorporate an entry-level full security system that allows the user to manage their printing jobs to minimise any chance of compromising privacy and security.”
Nicholls says security should be at the forefront of all business printing activity.
“Our computers are password protected so the bare minimum for printers should be adding a password and being able to turn off features that you don’t need such as wireless.
“With our new models you can put in a fully encrypted USB key that is hidden inside the machine. Your job gets sent to the machine but doesn’t print; you walk up to the machine and put your PIN in or release it via a card system to print.”
Nichols explains that Brother is also overcoming the vulnerability of transmitting data via unsecured wireless connections.
“Especially now with the rise of cloud services, we have machines that will encrypt data before it is sent through the internet to be received either as a scan or a print job,” he says.
The new range of Brother laser printers also incorporates a copy interrupt button for the first time, a move that Nicholls describes as a ‘gamechanger’ for the company’s offering.
“The new feature enables users to pause a copying job in progress at any time to quickly copy another job,” he says.
“From a security point of view, this provides the person printing the job with greater control over the material being printed. You always have to be mindful of the printed document and about who can access that document after it is printed.”
The interrupt button also minimises paper waste which adds up during a day of printing in the office.
While Brother has long been associated with a strongly focused retail-style product that suits the mid-range market, the new range of high security printers brings the company’s offering into the ‘workhorse enterprise market’.
“We haven’t changed our focus,” Nicholls says. “We have just added another silo to the suite of products we already have by moving into higher volume printing and scanning.
“As the printing pie has become smaller, we have the ideal product that fits into the profile of businesses that are printing less.
“Businesses these days want a fully featured device, and they want to pay less which is where we fit into the market.
“We now have the next generation of product which has helped us penetrate this end of the market.”