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CRN Roundtable reveals security threat

September 24, 2018

During CRN’s recent Printer Roundtable at Xchange 2018, channel executives from three OEMs weighed on the issue of printer security.

As CRN reveals, the general lack of awareness about printer security among customers leaves a “big opportunity” for solution providers to gain “new business”.

“Less than 20 percent of CIOs surveyed recognised that printers as an endpoint were a threat,” said Dan McDonnell, Vice President of U.S. Print Channel at Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP Inc. “Ninety percent of them understand that PCs have some serious challenges, but they don’t see printers as an issue.”

According to a 2017 Spiceworks Survey, which was commissioned by HP, the majority of CIOs had “no security in place”, with only 41 percent of respondents having “either network security, access control, data protection or end point security on their printers.”

HP itself has invested heavily in an “aggressive security program”, offering a bug bounty of thousands of dollars to anyone who can successfully hack their devices.

 “It’s helped to close deals. It’s a tiebreaker,” McDonnell said. “If you get to that level with a CIO, security is a big factor. It depends where you’re having the conversation, but it certainly is on a lot of people’s radar as more and more people lose data and understand the repercussions of breaches.”         

“Breaches, I’m sure, happen much more frequently than we all know,” he went on. “They’re just not publicised. The company that is breached is not willing to go out and create a testimonial around it, so awareness remains a lot lower than we’d like.”

Lexmark’s Greg Chavers was in agreement with McDonnell.

“If you look at the security breaches, over 50 percent of those happen at an endpoint device on the network, and guess where most of our printers and MFP’s are located? On the network as an endpoint device,” Chavers said. “So it’s definitely a big concern.”

He explained that Lexmark offers what it calls full-spectrum security, designed to reinforce device security around a customer’s needs.

“There is no specific security offering that’s going to meet every particular customer need,” he said. “So, what we’d like to do is we like to be really good across the gamut, so whether it’s, hardening the device and being able to protect the device, being able to protect and secure the information that’s on that device and also being able to secure access and make that very secure for the particular end users that you want to have access to those devices. So, we want to be good at all of those.”

Meanwhile, John Reilly, VP of US channel sales at Xerox, explained that his company has formed partnerships with Cisco and McAffee “to build configurable security into the printers” to benefit customers, whether they are SMBs or enterprises.

“It is an extremely secure device and an extremely secure process within MPS backed up by the data and the certification,” he said. “So, we feel very good about where we’re at … this is one that we can do a better job at getting that message out and helping the channel understand the flexibility and the capabilities of our security.”



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