Protect your business’ data

We conducted a survey of European IT buyers across a number of sectors. Learn how the results could defend your business against digital threats.

Protect your business’ data

4 steps to reducing information security threats in the workplace

The rise of digitalisation, wearable and collaborative technologies, and even innovative improvements to the trusty office printer are moving workplace efficiency forward in leaps and bounds. A recent Epson survey showed that 85% of European businesses think new technology provides a competitive advantage1, and that working with more efficient technology tools can account for 21% increased employee productivity. It is clear that new generation inkjet printers alone bring a range of benefits to the office environment including increased productivity, reduced waste, and lower energy consumption; however, as technology changes and with the shift to digitalisation there is also an increased information security (InfoSec) risk.

Today the stakes are higher than ever: malware, cyberattacks, and careless handling of sensitive information – sometimes large quantities – can create security breaches that could result in anything from operational disruption, loss of proprietary information (trade secrets), public embarrassment or reputational damage, to fraud and costly legal action. In recent years, InfoSec breaches have been big news – take Mumsnet, AXA healthcare, or Sony as examples of why the issue is now every company’s business.

Since the entire information trail – from keyboard, to paper, to disposal – can pose as a potential threat, how can we protect our information and minimize the risk of it getting into the wrong hands? Here are four practical ways to avoid unnecessary risks.

1. Involve Top Executives in the Information Security Discussion

Many companies today are appointing Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) to run their security programmes, and the roles and responsibilities of the top cybersecurity executive have expanded in recent years. Having a business manager in this role, who understands risk management, corporate governance, and overall business objectives can help set the security agenda for the IT department and the wider company workforce. The IT department can then invest in the right hardware, software, training, and procedures to protect the company and its employees and meet business objectives.

2. Ensure Awareness and Training on New Technologies

In a new Epson survey1, of more than 3,600 white-collar workers across Europe, 39% of respondents claimed to introduce new technology into their workplace at least once every six months. With regular changes being implemented, proper training must be given in order to leverage security capabilities. In Epson’s research, 31% of respondents identified poor training on how to use new technologies as the main barrier to achieving the full benefits in terms of productivity. If lack of training is a culprit for lower productivity, you can bet it’s also a culprit of nasty security threats.

3. Understand the Role of Paper in Security

Offline InfoSec is as important as online; and office printing is a key component. In Epson’s research, 77% of respondents said printers are vital to help them work effectively. And they print a lot – 21 items on average per day, according to the research. Furthermore, certain kinds of documentation must be printed, by law. Companies must comply with records management regulations, which are complex, far-reaching, and vary by country. Having a record retention policy in place helps minimise the risk of losing confidential information, but it doesn’t always protect against information getting into the wrong hands (if left unattended on a printer, for example).

4. Opt For a Distributed Printer Fleet

European office workers are on average 12 metres away from a printer, according to the research1. The sprint back and forth to the centralised printer down the hall or on another floor might be a nice way for employees to stretch their legs, but there are significant disadvantages to this type of printer fleet structure when it comes to security of information. Anyone that works in an office knows that the centralised printer can be at times a graveyard of forgotten documents – even confidential ones. For this reason, amongst others including productivity and efficiency, many companies are going down the path of distributed (or decentralised) printer fleets. Thirty-six percent of Epson survey respondents noted that a ‘personal printer’ could be a solution for security concerns. The local distributed print model is particularly useful where confidentiality and fast, direct access to prints is crucial. This includes senior management, legal and HR environments, and customer-facing staff like teachers, doctors, nurses and retail staff who can’t leave customers, patients or students while they go off to pick up prints.

InfoSec breaches can have massive implications; but as with any threat, increased awareness and precautionary measures can significantly reduce the risk. As companies become more and more digitalised, and high-profile cyber-hack cases make international news, awareness of InfoSec for digital information is increasing. But just as important, companies and their CISOs must reflect and take precautions to secure information that moves internally around the workplace – whether that be in digital form or paper.

1 Research conducted by FTI Consulting on behalf of Epson Europe, 2015.