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With cyberattacks becoming more common security now needs to take priority

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Sergey Nivens)

The last 12 months has seen multiple industries put an increasing amount of emphasis on digital transformation, with more businesses beginning to experiment and deploy new smart tools and workflow solutions, which has led to faster information sharing, increased productivity and the automation of repetitive, mundane tasks. But the cybersecurity attacks that took place in 2019 have made companies reconsider their strategies with security now becoming more prominent.

The last 12 months saw a number of huge high-profile hacking and cybersecurity attacks across a range of sectors, including Toyota’s data breach that exposed the details of 3.1 million customers. Incidents like this have made organisations increasingly conscious about their security models, with many now looking to improve their security systems, but how can they achieve this?

As companies continue to adopt smarter and integrated workflow solutions, the security of the entire system must be considered. Unfortunately, too often, the security of the print IT is overlooked. However, print hacks such as the PiewDiePie incident showed that organisations can never play it safe.

Therefore, better collaboration between an enterprise solution provider, the MFD service provider and an organisation’s IT department is crucial. In addition, companies that adopt good identity management software will not only improve their overall security but will also simplify the complexity of managing multiple sets of credentials. One way this can be achieved is by entering a unique pin code when printing out a document that identifies a specific user. This will result in important documents no longer getting into the wrong hands. It also allows more people within organisations to print files outside of their office building, for example at home.

Cloud/ Edge computing

While cloud adoption has been around for several years now, plenty of companies still struggle to move into the cloud completely because of old legacy technology and hardware. However, in a world of increased remote and flexible working, cloud adoption will not only help companies to improve their overall productivity, but it can also help companies to improve costs and risk management.

In the next 12 months, organisations will see a cloud approach as a crucial part of their business strategy. By prioritising models such as Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service companies can begin to consume applications without having to invest in skills to build solutions themselves from the ground up. Following on from this, more organisations will also begin exploring Edge computing as part of the print setup to solve issues that Cloud can’t, such as latency and bandwidth costs, which can impact productivity and efficiency. Unlike cloud, Edge computing brings tasks closer to the data source by outsourcing to a local server or to a device itself. This increase in security reassures customers that their data is more secure and less likely to be stolen, improving the relationship and trust between a business and its clients/customers.

Artificial intelligence

Many people predicted that artificial intelligence and robotics would eliminate a huge number of jobs by 2020, but there is now a consensus that the increased efficiencies delivered through these technologies could actually result in more jobs, with an increased focus in security. In the next 12 months, more companies will experiment with AI and robotics to run security and quality assurance tests on software and hardware solutions. This in turn, will help companies to detect security attacks, programme mistakes, and viruses much more quickly in addition to providing higher quality products and services.

However, let’s not forget this type of technology can also get into the wrong hands. No sector is safe from cyberattacks and the level of sophistication of the attacks are growing at a rapid rate. It’s almost certain AI will be used in future cyberattacks. Its ability to adapt and absorb information quickly makes it the perfect way to perform criminal cyber-activity on a monumental scale. To counter this, businesses will need to use AI to contain any upcoming cyberthreat and detect it before it becomes a major problem.

Green credentials

Sustainable lifestyles have become increasingly important not only for individuals but for organisations no matter how large or small they might be. Green movements such as Extinction Rebellion have created a huge political movement that has made climate change more imperative. As a result, individuals hold organisations more accountable than ever before, not only for their consumption but also for their contribution to the environment. Organisations are expected to improve their green credentials and do more to achieve energy efficiency goals. For most companies, print IT will play a huge role in this and organisations are expected to report on elements such as how many trees are used to print as well as report on their water and energy consumption. As a result, more companies will adopt automated scan workflows, which transform paper-based work processes into digital workflows, helping companies to keep track of their consumption and be more productive while focusing on their core everyday tasks.

As businesses evolve over the course of 2020, we will see faster and more innovative print technologies impact the sector. This year we will see further emphasis put on security in light of increased cyberattacks and pressure will be mounting on businesses to adopt a green strategy as climate change becomes a more pressing issue. As long as companies keep pace with the changing technology landscape and look at their entire IT infrastructure as a whole, they will ensure efficient, secure, and more eco-friendly processes.

Change in attitude

Although cyberattacks happen every day to businesses across the globe, no matter how big or small, there are still companies that bury their head in the sand. Unfortunately, some organisations that are lucky enough not to be on the receiving end of a data breach often think it can never happen to them and when it does it’s too late for them respond. All a company has to do is look at previous incidents to know any business can be threatened. Client and customer safety should be at the heart of every business and customers should have full faith that their data is in safe hands.

Putting the right systems in place might not stop criminals attempt to hack into a printer or cloud platform but it will heavily reduce their chances of succeeding. Failure to improve and strengthen security systems can leave valuable information exposed, which will not only impact customers and clients but also impact the reputation of a company.

Ross Penman, Head of Global Delivery Management, Y Soft