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By: Mike Mulholland, head of services and solutions at Brother UK, discusses how companies can make the most of print technology to maximise efficiency within their business.

Technology has sat at the heart of the business response to the pandemic – it has enabled greater resilience, empowered employees to be more productive and supported the drive towards more sustainable ways of working.

Yet print is often overlooked when businesses aim to meet new challenges and opportunities with the help of technology. And as IT managers and business owners look to build on the last 18 months to deliver permanent hybrid working models, a thought-out approach to print can pay dividends in supporting employee productivity, security and cost-efficiency.

Boosting productivity

Flexible working arrangements are driving demand for managed print services (MPS), which give IT managers full oversight and control over print fleets – wherever devices are located.

This is being achieved through cloud-enabled print devices, which can relay information such as diagnostics or supply levels back to IT managers, suppliers, or vendors like Brother.

This means that wherever a printer or employee may be, IT managers or suppliers can efficiently service devices – fixing issues before they become a problem and replenishing supplies before they run out. It’s helping to boost reliability, up-time and productivity, without commanding extra admin on IT staff.

Additional solutions, such as our Remote Panel software, can be installed on devices for IT partners to carry out diagnostics and repair devices remotely.

Resilience through tighter security

As well as supporting productivity, MPS can also help to curb the likeliness of security breaches, which can be a disruptive affair.

A survey carried out by the UK government* found that half of businesses (49%) report cyber breaches or attacks happening to them once a month, with key consequences tending to be temporary loss of access to files or networks and disruption to websites, applications or online services. Yet in a survey by Spiceworks** a professional network for the information technology industry, only 16% of IT industry respondents think that printers are at high risk of a security breach.

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We’ve seen that some cybercriminals are taking advantage of this lack of awareness over print vulnerabilities, which can arise from keeping default logins and not updating firmware, for example. It can be tricky for IT professionals to have sight of this across all devices, particularly unprotected printers in employees’ homes which they may have connected to the firm’s network. These printers can often be easily found by external parties by using Internet of Things search engines like Shodan or Censys. Some old devices even have fixed administrator logins which are widely known online posing a substantial risk.

Most attacks are overcome within a day* but as the race between cybercriminals and software developers becomes ever more intense, it’s essential to implement security systems that ensure businesses can run optimally.

MPS can provide peace of mind by giving businesses a cost-efficient way of accessing the latest models with the best encryption and sophisticated access control. Cloud-connectivity also enables IT managers to install firmware updates remotely, ensuring that systems, and devices connected to systems, are always one step ahead of hackers.

Another threat that MPS can mitigate is ensuring use of genuine supplies. Criminals can locate impressions of potentially sensitive data through some toners and cartridges. By using MPS for supply restocks, firms can ensure their supplies are tested by trusted professionals, for example our Brother Genuine Supplies are tested by Smithers PIRA – an independent authority – based on methods used by criminals, giving businesses an extra layer of security.

Greater cost efficiency

The reality is, investing in new printers can require significant capital expenditure, a potential barrier for many businesses. However, depending on the contract, MPS can remove that need, instead allowing devices to be leased for a fixed monthly fee over the term of a contract.

The contract will also include supplies – ink and toner cartridges – based on your businesses’ usage and management of maintenance which can help print costs to become entirely forecastable and play a key part in wider cost management.

Meeting business challenges

Businesses face many challenges that can impact on the smooth running of their company yet, with the right resources in place, the past 18 months have shown that companies can adapt and meet the demands of work life. Technology has underpinned this and print has been key in helping businesses succeed.

As hybrid becomes a permanent way of working, there are a variety of simple solutions that can be implemented to make organisations’ print systems run more smoothly. Managed print services provide benefits to ensure company fleets run more efficiently, in turn supporting users to work more productively, securely and even more cost efficiently.

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