Fortress Business Systems Strengthens Customer Print Security to Prevent Attacks

Fortress Business Systems is an Idaho-based HP partner that provides industry leading solutions and top-level support to customers ranging from manufacturers to banks, law firms, and medical offices. To differentiate its business and win market share from entrenched competitors, Fortress takes a solutions-selling approach emphasizing the critical role of information security—protected by embedded security features in HP PageWide and HP LaserJet A3 and A4 devices, and HP JetAdvantage Security Manager.


A new way to engage prospects

Medical offices, law firms, real estate companies, manufacturers and banks—when organizations throughout Washington, Idaho and western Montana need business equipment, they turn to a vendor that stands out for industry-leading copiers and printers, top-level support, and solution expertise built over 80+ years of team experience: HP partner, Fortress Business Systems.

“Anyone can sell a box that plugs into a wall,” says Jerod Keyser, Fortress general manager. “Fortress goes deeper. Our customers think of us as consultants. We listen to their needs, then recommend effective ways to streamline their processes and increase efficiency.”

Still, as is typical in this business, some doors remained closed to Fortress—potential customers that refused to move from existing vendors. The company aims to grow its business with new accounts and can now present a compelling marketing differentiator.

The answer is HP security.

HP security makes compelling business case

With cyber threats growing all the time, many organizations take great care to secure their computers and networks. However, these same organizations frequently overlook their printing and imaging devices. They don’t realize that an unsecured printer can open the entire network to attacks.

Fortress woke up to the implications of this for its business after HP, the world leader in print security, purchased Samsung’s printer business. Long a Samsung dealer, Fortress at first expected the devices to see very little change. Then Keyser and some Fortress colleagues attended an HP security training that rocked their world.

“The class was an eye-opener,” says Todd Trengove, Fortress sales manager. “We didn’t realize at that point how big a difference the security piece would make to our business. We weren’t expecting anything to be drastically different. Then we went to Boise for the security class, and we learned how much HP has to offer, and how big the security risk really is.”

Six out of 10 companies have unsecured printers — back door channels that can let hackers sneak through and take down an entire operation. HP foils such threats with industry-leading solutions. Embedded security features in next-generation HP devices—including HP PageWide and HP LaserJet A3 and A4 copiers and multifunction printers—automatically detect and stop attacks.

If attacked, the devices can reboot and self-heal. Meanwhile, HP JetAdvantage Security Manager software automatically assesses and, if necessary, remediates security settings to comply with organizational policies.

Already tuned to selling business solutions instead of just products and their features, Fortress took up the challenge of leveraging security as a competitive differentiator. The results have been dramatic.

A tale of two businesses

Consultative selling of HP security solutions is generating significant new business for Fortress. One new customer at first saw no reason to leave its existing vendor. “We were able to segue the conversation and say, ‘Have you thought about security?’” Keyser recalls. “We asked them, ‘What does a security breach cost? What does it do to your reputation? What does it to do your clients’ perception of you?’ I could tell immediately that nobody had ever talked to them about this before. Their eyes got bigger and bigger.”

Based on this conversation, the customer decided to attend an HP security seminar. Afterwards, “he walked out the door and we were still on the steps when he turned to me and said, ‘How fast can I get this and what’s the price going to be?’” Keyser says.

Another new customer learned about security vulnerability the hard way. Despite security discussions with Fortress months earlier, this company had delayed making any security decisions—until a ransomware attack through another vendor’s copier took the entire business down for a week. Hundreds of employees were idled, with pay. The company fell behind on thousands of customer orders and costs mounted as the company lost a week of productivity cleaning malware from every device and application.

“They called and said, ‘We need to see you,’” Keyser recalls. “I sat across the desk from their IT person and he told me what was going on. When I asked him what he’d like me to do about it, he said, ‘I would like you to go back six months, to when you first started coming in here, and make me buy HP so this doesn’t happen.’” With that, the company began its transition to HP secure printers.

“They feel like they’ve plugged the hole in the dike,” Keyser says. “They know that their HP printers are fortified, and now we’re working with them on the HP JetAdvantage Security Manager solution.” These aren’t the only examples Fortress can cite. A community college lost its scanning capabilities to malware, and now is migrating to HP. Law firms, medical offices, and other security-conscious organizations are coming to Fortress for guidance. A manufacturer is deploying secure HP PageWide printers in the process of improving its security.

The power of HP security

Many prospects and customers still need to be educated about security threats and solutions. Fortress also wants to make sure its own sales staff understands how to sell security. HP offers powerful resources to support both goals. HP also offers online and in-person sales trainings as well as customer education events.

“We make people aware that security is a real issue,” Keyser says. “In today’s world, new malware comes out every 4.2 seconds. How do you stay ahead of that? Do you have a policy in place for your end-user devices? Such questions start the wheels churning.”

A different kind of customer conversation

Raising the security issue is enabling Fortress to break into new accounts that didn’t realize their print technology from an entrenched vendor was falling short. Solution selling with a security focus gives Fortress a new competitive advantage. However, it also requires a different kind of sales process.

“You have to change your mindset. The average copier mindset is, you go in and talk about how the machine’s faster, it’s cheaper to run, service response times are better, and I can save you 10%,” Keyser says. “Solution selling is a whole different ballgame. You don’t sell security to people who are only trying to save money.

That’s the wrong conversation. What we tell them from the beginning is, ‘We’re here to offer you a solution and peace of mind, and to provide you with a level of security that nobody else can. If you’re looking for the complete package: security, service, durability, and a long-term relationship, it’s in your best interest to continue this conversation.’”

It’s a conversation, adds sales manager Trengove, that today’s customers are eager to pursue. “I have half a dozen appointments just next week with some large clients that, if it wasn’t for talking about HP security, we wouldn’t be on their calendars,” Trengove says. “HP security has become a powerful differentiator for us to build our business.”

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