GPN: How has the printing industry’s involvement with the public sector evolved over the past few years?

Tommy Gardner: It wasn’t long ago that we thought of the office printer as an isolated piece of equipment regulated to the corner of the office to churn out documents when needed. Aside from the occasional ink replacement or paper jam, printers received little maintenance. Today, many government agencies still think of their network printers in this way, rather than the internet-connected, digitally-enabled, and capability-rich machines that they are.

The relationship between the printing industry and public sector is evolving as government officials begin to realize the vital role printers play in the operational efficiency of an organization – from wireless printing to small- and large-batch jobs. The expansion of printer capabilities has required increased expertise on behalf of government officials to secure and maintain their fleet of printers. For that reason, we’ve seen a rise in Managed Print Services (MPS), which secure and optimize printers—to help government agencies get up to speed.
 

GPN: What are some new innovations that have been integrated into the printing industry’s products/services recently?

TG: One prominent innovation is embedded printer security, which helps customers better protect against malware. In the past, we have found that customers often only thought about securing their networks, not their endpoint devices.

Another innovation is the rise of printing through the cloud. With cloud printing, a professional can submit print jobs in real time, and pick the print jobs up at from a set of locations at the office, home, or elsewhere. This enables professionals to print at any time, from any place, on any of their devices, securely. Gone are the days of painstakingly trying to connect to printer networks.
 

GPN: What is the biggest misunderstanding/myth that you think public sector professionals may believe about doing business with the printing industry or using your industry’s products/services?

TG: I see it time and time again – government officials don’t realize their printers are just as vulnerable as their computers. They have internal storage, memory and are connected to the internet, so assuming they are less vulnerable to hackers can have dire implications. According to the 2017 year-end report from the Identity Theft Resource Center, more than 5.8 million records were compromised from the government and military. We are certainly witnessing the rising importance of endpoint security among local and federal government agencies.
 

GPN: What should local government professionals consider most when buying and/or using products/services within the printing industry?

TG: Government officials should want their printers to be as secure as their computers, and invest the best security money can buy. Protecting information and data from hackers should be paramount. Oftentimes, however, government employees are simply accepting what they see as “good enough” in terms of security. If the consequences of buying second-rate computer or printer security systems is that 100,000 people could lose their identity, it should be an easy calculation to invest in more secure devices.

 

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