Note: This article was filed by a paid contributor to Xerox Corporation.

In October 2016, a massive Denial of Service (DoS) attack targeted the internet infrastructure company Dyn and brought the internet in the United States to its knees. Dyn provides critical DNS technology and services to the likes of Twitter, Amazon, Spotify and Netflix, all of whom saw disruptions from this botnet-based attack. In this case, a well-known strain of malware scanned the Internet of Things (IoT), searching for unsecured devices such as DVRs and IP-based cameras. The malware then hijacked the processing power and network connections of these devices to send continuous traffic to high profile websites, crippling their ability to keep up. If you are reading this, a device in your customer’s business may have unwittingly been part of this attack. The question many are now asking in the document management community is—are printers the next target for this type of attack?

Security has become a paramount concern for organizations large and small and must be a major priority for channel partners managing end-point devices. Whether it’s a printer or a router, we deploy and manage more end-point devices than ever before. As the Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing how we collect and process data from these devices, the devices themselves are becoming more and more vulnerable to determined hackers. IT managers can tell you that the enterprise is now full of devices that are not computers, but have processing power and are connected to the internet, making them ideal targets. But that doesn’t mean SMBs cannot reap the enormous benefits of IoT.

SMB Document Security

Take, for example, the devices that make up SMB document management infrastructure inclusive of printers, scanners, copiers and multifunction printers that serve SMB document processing needs. On average, these document management devices make up as much as 15% of IT budgets of small to medium-size businesses (SMB) and demand as much as 12% of end-users’ total IT resources. These devices collect and retain valuable information on how documents flow within your customer’s organization. This represents information and connectivity that can be harnessed to make your customers’ businesses more efficient, and provide business opportunities for you. What is sometimes missed, however, is that these devices, just like smartphones and laptops, require the same type of end-point management and security processes as the rest of the IT infrastructure.

With IT resources already stretched for most SMB customers, many are looking to channel partners and Managed Print Services (MPS) as a way to not only secure their enterprise, but also optimize how they manage the devices they use for document processing. Managed print services represent a new way of managing and operating document infrastructure. In a managed environment, Xerox channel partners are responsible for all remote management, maintenance and optimization of document infrastructure. End-users know that printers, copiers, scanners and any other infrastructure associated with document management, are always up to date with the right hardware and software to get the job done and keep the business secure. But beyond just day-to-day device management, with managed print services, these devices communicate back to an operations center when critical supplies are needed to keep documents flowing within the organization. Toner is sent on-site in advance of need, when it is sensed that the printer is running low. Paper is ordered, or trays dynamically swapped to accommodate large print jobs. And technicians are dispatched immediately when devices are in need of service. This “fleet-wide” management approach for all document processing, frees up valuable resources in the IT organization to focus on other issues, while still maintaining a real-time watch on the flow of document production.

Intelligent Insight from ConnectKey®

At the heart of this intelligent document management infrastructure is Xerox® ConnectKey® technology. Xerox® devices built on the ConnectKey architecture provide intelligent insight into resource usage and metrics, and can be managed remotely via agent software. The ConnectKey platform also supports the management of non-Xerox devices. In addition to device management, ConnectKey opens document infrastructure to mobile users, allowing them to print and access data from their smartphones or tablets. Extending this functionality into the cloud, printers can integrate directly via applications with Dropbox, box.net and Office365 so users can easily print documents residing on the most popular shared storage platforms directly from their mobile devices.

Cisco Trustsec Integration

A managed print approach delivers not only efficiency and cost savings to the end-user’s business, but significant security benefits as well. Many SMBs can’t keep up with the critical patching required to keep end-point devices such as printers secured across tens or hundreds of devices. With a channel partner managing this process, customers can be certain that all printers are updated with the latest patches, keeping them running efficiently and securely. Through a partnership with Cisco, ConnectKey-enabled devices integrate seamlessly with Cisco’s Trustsec Integration. This partnership allows Cisco and Xerox end-users to receive the benefits of 256-bit encryption with image overwrite features, secure print with time deletion and encrypted email connectivity between devices and externally hosted email servers, allowing mobile users to print from their devices without the fear of transferring data over an unsecure network. This portfolio of functionality is at the center of the Xerox Cisco partnership, allowing Xerox® MPS end-users to take advantage of Cisco’s Borderless Network Architecture.

Today’s IT infrastructure provides both challenges and opportunities for SMBs. The dual levers of IT resources and budgets are strained like never before. More and more, channel partners are seeking alternatives for their customers to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and get more from their IT spending. Xerox® Managed Print Services secured with Cisco security technology provides a force multiplier to SMBs, reducing cost, protecting confidential data and expanding the resources available to focus on the strategic business of IT.

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