Print Security, The Overlooked Vulnerability

Cyber-security has become a vital asset in recent years due to the increase of malicious cyber threats. This applies to all types of organizations: businesses of various sizes, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, etc. We have even written a separate article about the alarming trends of cyber-security that can not be ignored.

Every connected asset which becomes a part of a network becomes a potential opening for attack. There is however, one aspect of the network security that organizations often overlook. That is print security.

Secure print refers to printing that incorporates specific privacy standards to prevent unauthorized access to the data on the printed information. This security concept applies to both the network and hardware. Because printers are commonly seen as solely a hardware set up, print security has been an overlooked vulnerability.

According to the Global Print Security Report by Quocirca, 60% of businesses in the UK, US, France and Germany suffered a print-related data breach in 2018. The data loss related to these breaches costs companies an average of more than $400K.

In IT Management, preventive measures always cost less than reactive measures. A breach, including one into the print environment, can prove debilitating when it comes to costs. In a Managed Print Service, typically the service provider monitors the environment of the organization which includes security as well. Click on the image below for more information on your print environment.

The Cost-Effectiveness of Managed Print

The subscription based model has become a common way to purchase goods and services in our modern “As-A-Service” era of Information Technology. This includes, but is not limited to Managed Print Services. Managed Print is a solution where, rather than purchasing a printer(s) as a one time hardware purchase, your print environment is regularly monitored by an external vendor. Here are four benefits to cost that comes with Managed Print:

  1. Less Consumption
    In your typical print environment, there is widespread consumption of paper and electricity. Most of the paperwork do not get used at all.

    Managed print can centralize printing assets into fewer printers with maintenance of print usage quantity. The centralization of the printing hub can reduce the need for printing supplies and fewer machines can lead to less intensive usage of electricity.
  2. IT Costs
    Outsourcing Managed Print can free up your IT Department into focusing on network security, and the broader IT environment.

    Typically when a print situation occurs, the IT Professionals are sent to deal with the issue right away. Under a Managed Print Service, your provider will handle everything, allowing your organization’s IT environment to remain secure. All this would be included in the Managed Print subscription model as well.
  3. Improved Equipment Upgrades
    Typically, companies and organizations wait for their printers to reach End-of-life (EOL) before refreshing their printers. This involves a large purchase of new hardware upfront having an immediate impact on the budget (affecting other areas of the operations.)

    Under a Managed Print Service, refreshing your equipment will be taken care of with a high degree of stability. If you are running low on toner or your printer is reaching end of life, the service provider will be closely monitoring these and consult you accordingly.
  4. Consolidated Vendor and Spending
    With MPS, you are working with one sole vendor for the entire print solution. This means one invoice for your accounting department. Additionally, this also means that you are eligible for volume pricing. Rather than purchase multiple hardware from different vendors with less overall discounts, you can obtain bulk discounts from one invoice.

Overall, Managed Print helps consolidate your print environment into one organized strategy. Collaborating with a Managed Print Provider can enable you to closely monitor your print supplies and health while also reducing time spent on it. Monthly subscription on managed print can help make print budgeting more predictable as your supply needs are immediately addressed.

Seven Security Measures Your IT Team Needs To Take In The Midst of Cyber Warfare

In the midst of political tensions between the United States and Iran, the threat of cyber attacks on businesses and government agencies remain strong. Homeland Security has warned U.S. companies to “consider and assess” the possibilities and potential impact of cyberattack on their businesses.

Ransomware Incidents in 2019

Cyberattacks can have devastating impact on both government agencies and businesses. Right before the 2019 holidays, an Arkansas-based telemarketing firm suspended their operations and left 300 employees jobless due to a ransomware attack. Their servers were attacked by malicious software and kept their information systems locked from them for ransom. They lost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the incident.

Additionally, the state of Louisiana declared a state of emergency in November 2019 following a cyberattack on state government servers. A new ransomware called Ryuk struck a facility belonging to the U.S. Coast Guard, affecting facility’s access to critical files.

An Alabama hospital system called DCH Health Systems quit accepting new patients after a ransomware attack on its computer systems. They paid an undisclosed sum to the attackers. After the attack was resolved, patients of the DCH Health System filed federal class-action lawsuits accusing the three hospitals of negligence, invasion of privacy, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Cybersecurity Best Practices

Preventing a cyber breach requires more than just the IT Department; it is an organization wide endeavor. Here are some best practices for cyber-security

  1. Multi-Factor Authentication

    Strong passwords with keys, numbers, and avoiding obvious information like birthdays or names; are still a recommended route for security measures. However, this may not always be reliably implemented. Whether employees are using strong passwords or not, multi-factor authentication can provide an added layer of security in the scenario of stolen passwords. This added layer can be the user’s fingerprint or a text message to their phone.

  2. Update your software and computer systems

    All software applications and computer systems periodically require updates. Software and system updates can seem like a time-consuming hassle but can be a life-saver. Updates not only improve the overall function of the software/system; but oftentimes there are new bugs, and types of viruses that emerge. Updates on general software, computer systems and virus detection software can add a layer of protection against emerging cyber-threats.

  3. Back Up Your Files

    Cyberthreats often take aim at your data. That’s why it is best to secure and back up files in case a data breach or a malware attack takes place. Data can be backed up offline, external hard drive, or in the cloud. In the scenario of an attack, you will not lose your information.

  4. Avoid strange links and emails

    Phishing has been a large culprit in ransomware attacks in recent years. Phishers try to trick you into clicking on a link that may result in a security breach. Phishing comes in the form of malicious links that have viruses and malware embedded in them or in email attachments. Be cautious of links and attachments in emails from senders you don’t recognize. In the blink of an eye, your attachment download can enable an infiltration into your organization’s computer network that can prove to be devastating.

  5. Invest in security systems

    The cost of a security solution may seem intimidating to smaller businesses. A security system solution can include antivirus, malware detection, network firewall, and other products. While security solutions come at a cost, they are cost-effective in the long term because they are a preventive measure against the financial/legal costs of a cyber-breach.

  6. Secure your print environment

    All endpoint devices of the IT environment are an opening for attack, and this includes the print environment as well. Printers are connected to the network, meaning that if a printer is infected with ransomware, the entire network can be at risk of a cyber breach. When evaluating your security environment, do not forget to include print security in your security strategy.

  7. Staff Training

    Cyber-security does not end with the purchase of a strong security solution. Even with a strong security solution, bad cybersecurity practices such as opening a phishing email can leave a company vulnerable. In the aforementioned incident of the United States Coast Guard, an employee opened a phishing email which led way to a facility belonging to the Untied States military to be infected with ransomware. It is important to give your staff training, or if you are an employee; to ask for training.

The political conflicts between United States and Iran are not the only ones of the 21st century; there are and will continue to be more similar political situations. With 21st century conflicts comes cyber attacks as a weaponized tactic. Regardless of what your political views and leanings are, it is crucial that you keep in mind cyber-security best practices and solutions for your team.

“Smart IT” Versus “Cheap IT”

When it comes to IT, every organization has to maintain a budget.  Small businesses, enterprises, government agencies, educational institutions, all have to find effective ways of making the most bang for their buck in their investments.  Regarding the IT Spend, this means equipment that successfully enhances productivity, facilitates communication, maintains data storage, network connectivity, and an overall secure network.

When you have to buy laptops, printers, software licensing, cloud/on-premise storage, cybersecurity, network connectivity equipment and other aspects of an organization’s IT, the costs can be quite high and you have to stay within a budget.  So the question remains: how does one stay within budget while having a secure, reliable, IT ecosystem for their team?

“Convenience” Advancements

It is no secret that technology is constantly evolving and expanding.  One notable observation however, is that technology advances to increase convenience.  This pertains to not only smartphones but to IT equipment as well.  Convenience of usage should be one characteristic today we can centralize network data into one dashboard and manage the entire IT ecosystem from one pane of glass.  For example, network security breaches, connectivity issues, and browsing of individual end-user devices can all be managed from one dashboard.

Convenience can also include automation. There are regular tasks that can be automated via automation software and/or artificial intelligence. Earlier this year we published an article about the urgent need to adopt cloud based workflow automation. Workflow automation can benefit various roles in a company: marketing, accounting, software development, Sales, Human resources, Administrative Work/Data entry and more!

Additionally, if multiple functions are centralized into fewer solutions, costs reduce and productivity enhances.

Security, Security, Security

It is a no brainer: Security is an essential cost.  It is smart to invest in an effective cybersecurity solution for your team.  A network breach can cause tremendous costs such as theft of data, delays in operations, etc. We have published an article about the costs of cybersecurity for a businesses.

Cybersecurity does not only mean an Anti-virus for an endpoint device. Endpoint devices (computers, tablets, mobile devices) are all connected to the network of the organization. Cybersecurity includes protecting the network from external threats. Threats can enter through different parts of the network including but not limited to the router.

An aspect of cyber-security that is often overlooked is print security. In an IT environment, printers are also connected to the network. An insecure printer environment leaves room for infiltration into the network via the printer.

A cyber-security solution may be costly but it is crucial to be preventative to cyber threats rather than reactive. Reacting to a crisis is far more costly and unpredictable than preventing a crisis.

High Quality Hardware

In addition to having a secure network environment. having high-quality hardware is also important. Earlier this year the Compulink team has done a Collablink campaign where we discussed different products from multiple product categories and manufacturers.

That being said, it is important to have high, sustainable quality when it comes to IT hardware. If you have sustainable hardware versus cheap hardware it can last your organization a long time, saving you from spending a lot more in the long term.

The Cloud

The cloud has become quite the norm in the IT space. And there are a few doubts about whether to invest in the cloud or not. It is important to have a hybrid cloud solution for your business.

Here’s why:

The cloud can be a cost-effective way to save space. The costs are based on a monthly fee. The thing about the cloud is that when your organization enter

Regular IT Refresh

Information Technology products and services are always advancing, and it is crucial we all strive to keep up. The common rebuttal a business owner may provide is “if a product from 2001 has always worked for me, why should I still change?” There are a few reasons why:

  • IT Hardware becomes old and incompatible with new products, if they are not refreshed. Additionally, the aging process of hardware can cause inefficiencies in its functionality.
  • Similar to hardware, IT Software also gets old. New bugs emerge as IT software
The State Of Print Security in 2019

Quocirca’s Global Print Security Landscape Report 2019 reveals that organizations of different sizes continue to be concerned about print security.

Organizations are continuing to suffer print-related data loss incidents, and most are still not confident their print environment is fully protected. These point to a critical need to educate C-level executives on the strategic value of effective print security as part of a broader information security strategy.

Here are statistical trends on growing concerns in print security:

  • 72% of organizations are concerned about print-related security breaches
  • 24% are confident that their print infrastructure is fully protected
  • 77% are increasing spend on print security
  • 59% have suffered at least one print-related data loss
  • 32% of print security incidents are caused by internal users
  • The average cost of a print-related data cost is $394k
  • 76% of organizations using a Managed Print Service are considered print security leaders.
  • 39% of organizations have carried out print security assessments
  • 40% are using pull printing to mitigate risk

These are some of the growing concerns about print security. Print environments have often been an overlooked weakness in network environments of organizations. However, as the data previously has shown, more organizations are taking notice of the importance of print security.

The great question lies in what comes next to recognize as a security necessity in IT environments.

IT Expos: Why They Are Crucial for Government Agencies

In October 28-29, Compulink Technologies Inc. will be an exhibitor at New York Government Technology Forum hosted by eRepublic!  We are greatly looking forward to meeting our contacts in the New York City and State Government space!  After years of engaging with the Government’s IT life-cycle, we highly recommend all public and private institutions to attend these forums.  Here is why:


When it comes to IT in the government vertical, endpoint and network security is always a large concern.  Being the government, there is no shortage of malicious hackers attempting to steal highly classified government data.  Additionally, the cybersecurity solutions an agency procures years ago does not always stand the test of time.  Cyber-attacks are constantly advancing as does cybersecurity.  When the agencies attend a forum, they are able to stay up to date with cybersecurity.

Cloud Solutions

Cloud infrastructure has become an increasingly common application in the business sector.  This rapid trend helps digitize much of your work while cutting costs on infrastructure.  While the cloud has become a rapidly growing trend in the business sector, there are concerns about adopting cloud solutions in the government vertical.  Going to an IT Forum for Government Agencies can help you understand how to securely adopt a cloud solution for your agency and best practices for deployment.

Tech for Public Services

Seeing that all government agencies are public institutions helping public infrastructures function, there are numerous ways IT advancements can help agencies perform their public functions better and operate more efficiently.  These forums can help inform government agencies about new technologies and the collaborative networking space can foster dialogue on ways IT can help our public infrastructure.

AI and Government

Artificial Intelligence has become a trendy subject to discuss in the recent years both inside and outside of government. Automation, chatbots, predictive analytics, are all different examples of how government agencies all around the world adopt Artificial intelligence. When attending seminars related to AI for government agencies; procurement officials and IT department managers can know where AI can meet the needs of their agency and find the necessary compatibility for AI adoption.

Inclusive Procurement

Agencies are trying to increase their utilization of MWBE vendors in the successful deployments of their projects.  In NY GovTech 2019, procurement officials and IT managers of government agencies can network with MWBE-Certified IT Solutions Providers.  (Compulink is an MWBE-Certified IT Solutions Provider!)

By going to New York Government Technology Forum, there are a lot of ways government agencies can benefit from the tech updates. For starters, procurement and IT officials can keep up to date with trends in the industry and be well-informed on which solution can apply to their agency.

The Compulink Team will be at GovTech as an Exhibitor! Come visit us!

Compulink Technologies is an MBE Certified Firm that has been bringing top-notch IT Service solutions to businesses and government agencies across the nation since 1986.

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