Canon's Bob Pickles: Printing, security and supplying the House of Commons

We spoke to Bob Pickles, the director of public sector business development and public affairs for Canon UK & Ireland, about being one of the major suppliers to the House of Commons.

Pickles told us that Canon were responsible or supplying "multifunctional printers" to the House of Commons, moving on from being a hardware provider to "vertically integrating" with their customers.

We asked him whether there should be stronger measures taken against companies that have suffered data breaches and failed to disclose them.

"The rules of disclosure are identical for both public and private sector," Pickles told us. "It's simply that private companies don't want to run the risk associated with such exposure."

"The Information Commissions Office places exactly the same expectation on private companies as they do on the public," Pickles said. "The only difference is that public companies are more often in the public eye, and are given more exposure in the press."

Pickles was very clear that security and good practice has to extend to all levels of any organisation's infrastructure.

"More than 50 per cent of the fines that have been levied in the public sector have been as a result of the loss of data via printed matter," he said. "The ability of organisations to secure their printed output as well as their electronic output is very important. It's not just about USB sticks being lost, and laptops and CDs going missing, it's also about taking care of what you've printed."

This is a job that can be made easier by the sensible procurement of technology, he claimed.

"It's about making sure you know what's being printed, and making sure the documents are securely released, so the wrong person doesn't pick them up."

Although you can never secure against human error, Pickles told us "you can put in place enough measures to make it unlikely."

The IT industry as a whole is a in a state of flux, Pickles told us, with new technologies and trends like bring your own device (BYOD) overturning the traditional ways of doing business.

"The tension that exists between giving people the flexibility to work wherever they want, whenever they want, and also keeping in place the necessary levels of security – this is what keeps chief information officers awake at night."

"The management on the entire end-to-end delivery of a successful service is going to be as dependent on a single user as it is on the hardware or the software or the processes used to support it," Pickles said. "The important thing is not to focus so much on the processes, the systems, the technology, but to focus on the user – the people."

"How we engage with, train, develop and support users through the changes – particularly in the public sector – that will have to take place over the next three years, will depend on managing the user, so the user understands what's expected. That's probably more useful than anything you'll ever do."

Bob Pickles has worked for Canon (UK) Ltd for over 20 years. During that time, he has held a number of management and senior positions within the Sales and Marketing elements of Canon's business, and for the last 10 years has worked entirely within Canon's significant Public Sector business.