by Robert Palmer | 9/4/14

On September 4, Hewlett-Packard made a series of moves as part of an overall repositioning of its solutions business. There are several facets to HP’s latest announcement, including improved security solutions, a new HP Flow MFP, and a branding strategy that will serve as an umbrella for all current and future HP printing solutions.

Security is clearly a dominant theme for HP. According to Ed Wingate, VP of LES Solutions at HP, security has become extremely and unavoidably important. He argues that up until recently, businesses often ignored security threats pertaining to printers and MFPs but today that is no longer possible. The risk of data hacking and securing information has become a prime concern for businesses of all sizes. “There appears to be almost a black market for information,” Wingate says. “This is a genuine problem and print is an area of substantial vulnerability.”

HP cites data from a variety of sources to reinforce this point. For example, studies indicate that nine out of 10 enterprises say they have suffered at least one data loss through unsecured printing. Further, research from Quocirca shows that the average cost to an enterprise for a single data breach is $5.4 million. According to Wingate, businesses have applied significant resources toward securing data repositories, computers and servers, and the network itself. In contrast, output devices that sit on the same network have not received the same level of attention. “Many of the security policies and procedures that are adopted for the enterprise are not put in place for printers,” he explains.

HP JetAdvantage

There are several important elements to HP’s latest announcement, but perhaps the most interesting is that HP has introduced a new brand designed to encompass its entire portfolio of business workflow and printing solutions. HP JetAdvantage will include current and future solutions in four primary categories: Management Solutions, Security Solutions, Mobile Print Solutions, and Workflow Solutions. The portfolio, which is already fairly extensive, will include solutions developed by HP as well as those provided by its partners, such as Kofax, Troy, Nuance, and Hyland Software.

By branding its solutions business and integrating its solutions portfolio, Wingate says that HP can begin to drive standards to foster a whole new level of customer implementation. “There are hundreds of different print-related solutions in the market but the problem is that customers and channel partners have difficulties navigating that,” he explains. One problem that Wingate points to is the lack of assurance that any one specific solution will remain available in the marketplace, or whether it will be supported with future printer/MFP platforms.

HP JetAdvantage Security Portfolio

HP also announced several new solutions as part of the HP JetAdvantage Security Portfolio. The security suite already included several solutions grouped in categories such as network security, document security, data protection, monitoring and management, access controls, and device security. As part of the rollout, HP launched five new security solutions: Secure Content Management & Monitoring, Printing Security Advisory Services, ArcSight Printer Integration, HP JetAdvantage Pull Print, and the HP Trusted Platform Module. In addition, the firm has enhanced its Imaging & Printing Security Center solution (click to enlarge).

According to Wingate, the combination of new and existing solutions provides HP with a comprehensive suite of security offerings. “One of the wonderful things about being a true IT company is we can bring to bear the full breadth of HP,” he says. “We are extending the traditional PC-based governance into the printer and MFP space.”

HP claims that the new security solutions provide the firm with a broad range of extended capabilities, including:

·       Industry-first print fleet compliance monitoring

·       End-to-end data protection

·       Expert guidance to achieve the most comprehensive print security policy

·       Information governance extended to the imaging & print environment

·       World-class device security

HP’s JetAdvantage Pull Print is a cloud-based secure print and release solution that provides added protection for confidential information. Like other pull-print solutions, it works by allowing users to send print jobs from the PC or mobile device for later release at any supported printer or MFP after authentication. The difference is that HP JetAdvantage Pull Print is cloud-based so it does not require a dedicated server. Also, it is destined to become a standard feature supported in future HP machines. According to Wingate, nearly every office-class device sold after November 1, 2014 will have access to the JetAdvantage Pull Print solution. HP also introduced something called the Trusted Platform Module Accessory, which the firm describes as a tamper-proof storage device for added protection of passwords and security keys.

New LaserJets

Lastly, HP also introduced some new printing products with its latest announcement. The first is the Flow MFP M630, the latest MFP from HP designed to streamline digital workflows with built-in support for HP’s Flow workflow solutions. The monochrome MFP has a print speed of up to 60 ppm and is the first machine from HP to offer built-in support for the full range of new security features offered through HP JetAdvantage.

The LaserJet Pro M201/M202 series will replace HP’s LaserJet P1566/P1606dn models. These monochrome printers have print speeds up to 26 ppm and are designed for small businesses. HP is promoting the “always available” capability of these machines by touting the built-in support for mobile printing features, including HP’s ePrint, AirPrint, and wireless direct printing.

HP’s LaserJet Pro MFP M225/M226 series will replace the HP LaserJet M1536dnf. Designed for cost-conscious users in small businesses and emerging markets, the M225/M226 machines are personal devices that support mobile printing as well as walk-up printing, scanning, copying and faxing. Users can print directly from a built-in USB port or wirelessly using HP ePrint, AirPrint or wireless direct. These machines also allow users to scan to retrieve documents from cloud-based document management sites directly from the device. All of the new LaserJet models are expected to be available later this fall.

Our Take

It is interesting to see HP taking steps to brand its solutions portfolio. The HP JetAdvantage name is certainly designed to leverage the popularity of HP’s LaserJet heritage while providing a level of continuity for the firm’s ongoing solutions platform. More importantly, the move likely portends a much stronger play for HP in the print solutions category. According to Wingate, establishing the JetAdvantage brand is indicative of HP’s commitment to the category, and he claims that HP will be “investing more in this space than ever before.”

As is the case with other vendors, secure print solutions represent a strategic focus for HP — and for obvious reasons. Securing access to information is top of mind for nearly every business these days, and output devices represent a significant threat to that process. Computer processing and content is moving to the cloud, while mobile and network devices are increasingly enabled to support downloadable applications and web-based content. Today, virtually any device that is attached to the network becomes an access point to business assets and corporate information.

This is certainly true for printers and MFPs because these devices have become much more sophisticated. With embedded web browsers and hosted applications, printers and MFPs have become information management devices that provide an on-ramp and off-ramp to the network. As HP puts it, all end points should be equal network citizens. Security now encompasses many different aspects in the printer/MFP world: securing the device, securing the document, securing access to content on the device, and protecting access to network content from the device itself. The new HP JetAdvantage security portfolio is designed to address each of these areas. 

 

Robert Palmer is chief analyst and a managing partner for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. He is an independent market analyst and industry consultant with more than 25 years experience in the printing industry covering technology and business sectors for prominent market research firms such as Lyra Research and InfoTrends. In December 2012 he formed Palmer Consulting as an independent consultancy focused on transformation, mobility, MPS, and the entire imaging market. Palmer is a popular speaker and presents regularly at industry conferences and trade events in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He is also active in a variety of imaging industry forums and currently serves on the board of directors for the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA).