The secure way to print

Mobile print is on the rise – but the challenge of convincing customers of its security benefits remains. Three print industry giants explained in October 2018’s issue of Dealer Support why the sector is doing so well.

While these four little letters have caused many businesses a great deal of confusion, stress and even irritation, GDPR is something that needs to be thoroughly considered in many aspects of office life because it has far-reaching implications regarding data protection. We touched on the growth of app-based printing earlier in the year, but it has undergone further developments since then – particularly in relation to security – which render the theme worth revisiting in more depth.

As the remote workforce grows, so too does mobile print – in fact, this has been one of its primary drivers. The sheer ease of printing from a mobile device is another major driver expected to continue the uptake, particularly as flexible working continues. According to Juniper Research, more than a billion employee-owned devices are now being used for work under bring your own device (BYOD) policies which were widely implemented last year. As such, standards for printing devices have skyrocketed, meaning that dealers and their suppliers need to be working closely together to ensure they deliver what the customer needs.

“In today’s business environment, employees now expect to be able to access, work and then print documents from any location they choose – and they expect technology to cater to those needs,” says Jade Paris, product manager at Epson. “The ability to integrate cloud computing and wireless technologies with mobile printers is another driving factor for business adoption, providing secure, remote access and delivering users high-quality print, effortlessly, wherever and whenever needed.”

Addressing security

To ensure this process is seamless, security concerns need to be addressed in order to rid potential users of any lingering doubts; the answer lies in standardisation, says Jade. “Many potential users are discouraged by their fears over how secure mobile printing can be and, of course, we now need to make sure this is foremost amongst our concerns when designing products.”

Jade suggests that dealers can assuage these fears by recommending that customers invest in printers which already have built-in security technology, that they keep documents within the company firewall at all times and that the system they use integrate into existing IT environments. Many printers now also come with short-range Bluetooth technology, creating a one-to-one connection between the mobile device and the printer; this means that, once paired, the devices can contact each other at any point in a way that is so secure it bypasses any capacity for hacking.

Joe Doyle, group marketing director at KYOCERA Document Solutions UK, says that security will always be an unavoidable issue when printing. “Security is key in this digital age,” he explains. “Giving network access to multiple devices throws up the additional challenge of how to maintain security. However, more and more organisations are realising that accessing company data on mobile devices can be more secure and controlled than they first assumed.”

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Joe points out that there are solutions which can prompt users to identify themselves when submitting a print job via an app, and some software even has geolocation rules available, meaning that not only who, but where one can print is controllable. “In essence, security challenges can be addressed by combining the right technology solutions with a greater degree of networking management,” says Joe.

Why go mobile?

Printing remains an integral part of basically every workplace; the role of the PC is steadily declining, making it more appealing than ever to begin using mobile devices and apps to print. “The mobile print market is growing and this is opening up an array of opportunities for our partners,” says Ged Cairns, head of mobile solutions at Brother UK. “Businesses across a range of sectors seek to work more efficiently and improve productivity levels.

“Despite growing trends, many small businesses see security as one of their biggest challenges for growing mobile workforces,” he continues. “It’s essential that we’re addressing these concerns from the outset by selling solutions which have the right security credentials and ensuring customers understand the features on offer. In a business climate where margins are being squeezed – and customer expectations around the speed of service increase all the time –, it’s easy to see how mobile print can have a real impact on the operational and financial success of organisations.”

Scalable and simple solutions

Education is key here, and dealers are in a position where they can learn directly from the manufacturer and pass that wisdom – and assurance of security – on to customers. Joe believes that, not only is mobile print a growing industry, but that, “Mobile document management is here to stay.

“If current trends tell us anything, it’s that mobile print will continue to develop, focusing on offering scalable and simple solutions. The ultimate goal would be a single user experience regardless of the device being used,” he adds. KYOCERA has begun to see mobile devices even being used for scanning as part of approval processes, or for storage in document management systems.

It’s an unavoidably growing market and, Jade believes, something to take full advantage of. “Embracing the freedom to print from any device and from any location ensures that employees benefit from a fully-integrated, secure mobile print solution – printing what they want, when they need it,” she says.

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