At the time of going to press, TalkTalk customers were anxiously checking their bank accounts, following news of a massive security breach at the communications company. Rumours that customers’ bank accounts were being emptied of funds add a human dimension to the arcane world of cyber security and compliance. Instead of being warned what could happen to stolen customer details or what this might mean for a company’s reputation, which is how these things are normally reported, here were real-world examples of the messy consequences of a data breach. More by luck than design, data security is the topic of this month’s Q&A. In it, we ask experts from all corners of the data security industry why security breaches are so common and what businesses can do to protect themselves from cyber attack. Predictably there are no easy answers and, appropriate to the warlike language of data security, the main recommendation is constant vigilance.
That cyber security is a topic suitable for a printer magazine underlines how important it has become to identify and strengthen any weak points on the company network. Traditionally, printer and MFP suppliers have focused on securing the printed page (primarily through secure pull printing) and data residing on devices’ hard disks (through disk over-writing). By incorporating self-healing security features in all new HP LaserJet Enterprise and OfficeJet Enterprise X printers (see page 20), HP is adding a new layer of protection against malware and other attacks. I am not qualified to judge how effective these measures are. But at a time when security has overtaken cost-cutting as the primary driver for enterprise MPS engagements (see page 33), making security a competitive advantage looks to be a very shrewd move.
One reason why printer security has become such a pressing issue is the greater inter-connectedness of today’s devices. IT companies have identified the Internet of Things (IoT) as a key technology for the next fie years. In his keynote address at October’s Canon Expo (see page 34), Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai referred to the IoT as the Imaging of Things on the basis that what makes devices truly smart is the ability to capture and communicate visual information. There is another reason copier companies are excited by the IoT. When PrintIT met Paul Birkett, sales and marketing director of Samsung Electronics Europe, at last month’s Futurescape event (see page 32), he argued that the IoT is all about sensors, data collection and control systems, all of which need physical support. And who better to provide that than copier companies that over the years have developed sophisticated management platforms to manage customer devices remotely. He pointed out that an average MFP has 1,400 sensors and that an organisation which manages more than 200 print devices remotely is already monitoring more sensors than there are in a brand new nuclear power station.
James Goulding, Editor
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