Data Security for Office Technology Dealers: Big Headache or Big Opportunity?

posted by Jay Allpress on Friday, January 04, 2019 in Office Equipment Blog

Regardless of the industry you serve, IT security is a hot and relevant topic. High profile cyber security breaches like the Facebook and Equifax hacks have made headlines in the last few years, and as a result, buyers have become more aware and more educated on just how important it is that their data is protected. More information is being stored and more devices are connected to the network, printers included. Without the proper precautions in place, this data becomes vulnerable.

The Importance of Cyber Security In the Office Technology Realm

Consider that most printers do more than print; they also fax, scan, email—all through the network they are connected to. They send information and store information, and as with any network connected device, they too are vulnerable to cyber security threats. Hackers target printers just as they would laptops or computers. In fact, according to a business and IT analysis conducted by Quocirca, data losses in 2018 related to print remained widespread across companies of all sizes that use MPS. In 2018, 65% reported at least one data loss, an increase from 60% in 2017. Notably this rises to 70% for midmarket organizations and drops to 60% for larger organizations.

Security Compliance

We’ve already seen cyber security laws and regulations enacted. In the years to come, we will only see this theme become more prominent. Strict security and compliance requirements have resulted in some urgency for companies to keep security a high priority and avoid costly violations of these security standards. Here are just a few examples of such regulations:

With these rules and regulations serving as motivation, companies have been forced to address data security concerns by adjusting their products and processes to be in line with regulations.

The Cost Avoidance Approach to Security

Another big motivator is the need to avoid other negative aspects that can result from a security breach, like costs in lawsuits, negative PR and loss of credibility. In fact, at this point, cost avoidance has been a main driver for businesses who have prioritized the creation and maintenance of a secure network environment.

At the end of the day, however, this shift is really related to customer expectations, not regulations. Both consumers and businesses expect you to take care of their data, so why not make that work in your favor?

Security as a Business Enabler

We mentioned earlier that consumers are becoming smarter about who they work with, and smart businesses are figuring out that consumers are making security a requirement to doing business with a company. If security isn’t being taken into account in every aspect of your organization, from the products and services you offer, to the environment in which you collect and store your customer’s data, prospective buyers may be inclined to consider more secure alternatives.

Privacy laws and regulations have forced companies to get serious about security, but a “have-to” approach where the number of boxes checked is what determines compliance, leaves much to be desired.

Instead, why not view security as an opportunity to sell what the newly educated consumer wants to buy? Adopting this perspective will not only help you to meet the needs of your customers, but it also offers an opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition.

How Does This Affect The Office Technology Dealer?

In an industry where competition is fierce, there is always buzz about how one can differentiate their dealership. Some have added managed print or document management services into their portfolios to do just that. However, when it comes down to it, you sell many of the same products and services that your competitors do. Why would someone choose to do business with you over them?

Security could be that reason and savvy office equipment dealers understand it is an area they can tap into to position themselves ahead of the offerings of their competition. After all, only a dealer of secure document and print solutions can truly back their claims of being an elite provider, and as today’s buyers do their research, they will be able to weigh your abilities against others in the marketplace.

While print will continue to be a lucrative and necessary business for years to come, we all accept the fact that print volumes are declining. We know to stay relevant we must change and evolve with the industry to continue bringing useful products and services to our customers. Office Technology Dealers claiming to provide high-end or “Mercedes-Benz” type services cannot back these claims unless they’ve evolved and matured their businesses from a security standpoint.

Security threats will only grow in the years to come. Office Equipment Dealers have a choice to view this evolution as a headache or a chance to grow and claim market share. Those prepared to make a shift toward the business enablement mindset will be afforded an immense opportunity to grow their businesses for the better. Learn more about the steps you can take to up the ante on your security.

And to learn more about how you can help your customers in their security efforts, please visit

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About The Author

Jay Allpress, Vice President, Information Security at GreatAmerica Financial Services, has been actively involved in physical and information security for over 25 years. In his current role at GreatAmerica, Jay is primarily responsible for the development and delivery of a comprehensive Information Security Program for the organization. Prior to joining GreatAmerica in October, 2017 Jay performed similar duties for Hills Bank and Trust Company from 2001 to 2017.  Jay served 10 years in the United States Air Force and Iowa Air National Guard. He is an active member of Safeguard Iowa Partnership, Infragard and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP).  Jay received his Associate of Applied Science degree from the Community College of the Air Force in Electronic Systems Technology.

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