Picture a world where your every move is monitored. Where danger lurks around even the most innocuous-looking corners. Where even the most mundane task puts your very existence at risk. It’s not 1984, it’s not Jurassic Park, it’s not a Stephen King book. It’s real life in the year 2015.
As I’m writing this, the major news outlets are reporting on what appears to be the largest data breach in history — 4 million current and former U.S. government employees may have had personal information stolen, and current fingers are pointing to China as the culprit.
Really, though, this is nothing new. I was a bit surprised to realize how blasé my outlook has become when it comes to data breaches. Yes, I say, in the tone of someone recounting the Challenger disaster or 9/11, I survived the Target data breach, and the lesser-known Adobe data breach as well. My Amex was hacked when I booked a cruise. My free Lifelock subscription is ongoing. My theory is, you can’t spend too much time worrying about it. I have alerts set up on all my credit cards and bank accounts. I get notified of every transaction. I keep an eye on all the accounts, even the ones I rarely use. It’s a fact of life in this day and age. I figure, you can either spend all your time worrying about it, or put reasonable precautions in place, exercise a reasonable amount of alertness, and go on about your day.
It’s that kind of mentality that is driving new initiatives among any number of companies these days. And when I say any, I mean any. Because there’s a thing — you may have heard of it — called the Internet of Things. It’s everyone’s favorite catchphrase just now, and it basically means that pretty much every electronic device has an Internet connection, thus making it vulnerable to security breaches. That includes not only your computer, tablet, and phone, but your refrigerator, your thermostat, and yes, your printer.
HP recently rolled out several new services and solutions designed to create better security in the print environment — you can read the full press release here. We recently sat down with Todd Gregory, director of Printing and Personal Systems Marketing for HP, and Michael Howard, HP’s worldwide security practice manager. Howard wrote an article in the January 2015 issue of The Imaging Channel entitled “Optimize Your IT Environment to Prepare For New Opportunities and Threats” in which he discusses, among other things, security, reporting that “data breaches cost companies an average of $136 per record compromised and $5.4 million overall in the U.S. when you factor in regulatory fines, reputation damage and the cost of closing the security gap.” He also notes that the most common printing security breach is leaving the actual printed document in the output tray.
This leads us right into HP Access Control. Although not a new solution itself, HP has continued to upgrade its pull printing services. Its latest update recognizes the fact that many smaller companies — and even enterprises — no longer have print servers, yet still want the security of pull printing, leading to the addition of serverless pull printing.
HP JetAdvantage Security Manger, which was introduced as Imaging & Printing Security Center, was renamed to be under the solutions umbrella of JetAdvantage. Again, not a new product, JetAdvantage Security Manager offers a policy-based approach to security. Upon deploying a security policy across the fleet, devices can then be monitored for compliance with the policy. The upgrades to this product offer expanded device coverage, to include a wider range of printers, including legacy devices that might otherwise be a stumbling block in an overall security deployment. Any enterprise device can be managed or configured, said Gregory.
Newly launched is the Proactive Print Advisor, which is a globally available service providing customized reporting, analysis and recommendations for customers seeking to optimize their fleets.
Rounding out some interesting new additions (I’ve skipped over the Capture and Route additions, but you can read about them in the press release) are the expanded geographical solutions available for HP’s Printing Security Advisory Services, an interesting human addition to a lineup of software and solutions. An HP security advisor works with a company’s internal IT team, advising on goals, solutions, and deployments — and of course, the right HP security products. The change here is that the service is now available in Europe and Asia. We asked whether there were significant differences in the security challenges in different regions, and the answer was no. While rules and regulations may vary — necessitating consultants familiar with specific regions — security concerns are universal.
In defending his nation in the current U.S. security breach, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei told CNN “China itself is also a victim of cyberattacks. China resolutely tackles cyberattack activities in all forms.” Whether or not China is behind the U.S. attack, there is no reason to imagine Chinese citizens — or any others who live in a connected society — don’t live under the same shadow we in the U.S. do. Regardless of whodunit, we have to take personal responsibility, and maximize the means at our disposal. HP’s products and services are one example that the means to defend ourselves is there for the taking, but we have to be willing and able use it.