This Week in Imaging: Security to be the New Differentiator for Printers and Copier/MFPs

Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

Back in the good old days, the only way someone could get to important documents was to pick a lock or break down a door. Indeed,  back in the early 1970s, a U.S. president resigned due to a scandal in part connected to a burglary at the Watergate Complex in Washington, D.C., that was an attempt to photograph opposition campaign paper-based documents (and wiretap the offices). Today, in contrast, news headlines speak of similar burglary attempts to access opposition campaign documents, but those documents are all digital.

The Watergate attempts were all ultimately undone by a security guard, Frank Wills, who noticed tape covering latches on some of the doors in the Watergate Complex. Wills’ discovery eventually led to the resignation of a U.S. president.

Today of course protecting documents is an increasingly more sophisticated and perhaps difficult proposition (although we can’t dismiss Wills’ astuteness in observing and reporting the taped locks).

Last week, we discussed how artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are here to stay, and while they are and will displace many jobs, one of the jobs they are and will create are those related to security services. Indeed, last week, IDC released one of its latest reports, the Worldwide Semiannual Spending Guide, which, among other things, forecasts that:

“With nearly every industry investing in security solutions to meet a wide range of threats and requirements, spending is expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.6% over the 2016-2021 forecast period. Worldwide spending on security products and services will total $83.5 billion in 2017, an increase of 10.3% over 2016.”

According to IDC, more than 80 percent of security spending in 2017 will go to services and software. Those services and software will require an army of workers to design, advise, sell, and install.

In the office copier/MFP/printer industry, we’re long past the time when encrypted hard drives and user authentication were the ultimate in security. While those things are still necessary, lots more is now required, for instance, secure guest mobile printing, and preventing downloading of harmful malware to the device. (The need for secure 3D printing will be even more critical, as physical items – such as parts used in cars and planes – are being produced – but that’s a whole other story.)

Reflecting this is that we now have analysts ranking printer and MFP makers’ security offerings – with this week, HP Inc., Lexmark, Ricoh, and Xerox reporting that they’ve been named leaders in IDC’s MarketScape: Worldwide Security Solutions and Services Hardcopy 2017 Vendor Assessment.

The take-away is that, although office print volumes are declining, it appears there’s opportunity for those in the industry willing and able to provide hack-proof printers and MFPs, as, for instance, we don’t see malware and ransomware attacks on unprotected devices going away anytime soon – and they’ll be sure to keep popping up in news headlines. As they say, when one door closes, another one opens.

Office-Imaging News

Print Audit Data Shows Who’s Printing – and Who’s Not – Read more here.

Epson Launches Reseller-Focused ReadyInk Ink-Replacement  – Read more here.

Financial News

Canon Reports Robust Third Quarter, Raises Forecast – Read more here.

Toshiba Revises Forecast, Expects Net Loss of $1 Billion – Read more here.

Xerox Revenue Down for Third Quarter, but Earnings per Share Up – Read more here.

Revenue Up for Epson’s Latest Quarter, but Profits Down – Read more here.

Executive-Management News

Lexmark Appoints New President and CEO – Read more here.

Legal Briefs

Canon Loses Key ‘Dongle Gear’ Toner-Cartridge Patent-Infringement Lawsuit in Germany – Read more here.

Imaging-Supplies News

Epson Said to be Using eBay’s ‘Trusted Status’ to Have Ink Cartridges Removed from Sales Listing – Read more here.

Consumer-Imaging News

Fujifilm Launches New Instax SHARE SP-3 Mobile Photo Printer with Square-Format Printing – Read more here.

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