Five Tips to Help Government Agencies Secure Printers and Save Money
We worked with a government entity recently that had over 300 printers and copiers in their offices. After right-sizing their print environment, we were able to consolidate those printers and copiers down to about 100. The customer saw huge cost savings and increased the security of their printers.
How did this happen?
We work closely with city, county, state and federal government agencies in Minnesota and Wisconsin to identify common challenges many face related to printing and scanning. Here are five pieces of advice that will help you increase printer security and cut costs at your organization.
1. Know Your Print-Related Data
How much do you print in a given month? Are those prints made on desktop printers, where prints can be more expensive if not optimized, or on more affordable multi-functional devices (MFDs) strategically placed throughout your office? We see plenty of government organizations that do not have a good handle on how much they print and where it is printed. Without knowing this information, you can’t make informed decisions to help cut your print costs. Knowing where you are today will help you know what changes to make and help you implement more efficient and cost-saving solutions down the road.
2. Protect Printers from Security Breaches
Security of copiers and printers has been a been a key trend that many government agencies can benefit from, whether at the local, state or federal level. We know within government institutions, including schools and universities, there can be a lot of movement and change. At many government organizations, desktop printers have not been identified as a risk for security breaches, but they are network-connected endpoints capable of allowing something or someone to hack into your systems. It is vitally important to consider your desktop printers when talking about information security. This means making sure they are secure so cybercriminals can’t access them. You should also consider introducing HID card and swipe technology on your office copier to ensure security for not only printing, but also scanning.
3. Scan Smarter and More Securely
On the scanning side of the security conversation, you’ll find today in most organizations you can walk up to any copier, scan a document and email it. Often those documents just come from the copier instead of an actual user’s account. From an IT perspective, that is considered a security breach. Especially with ransomware and phishing risks that have users on high-alert, you need better identifiers when sending and receiving email. We are starting to see a significant trend in securing devices by using advanced scanning platforms that allow users to scan to a personal, secure folder on their network, instead of scanning straight to email. If they do scan an email, new technology can allow the user to be identified as the sender, so the email comes straight from their email account. This helps recipients know the email is secure.
4. Don’t Have More Printers Than You Need
Take a scenic tour of your office copiers and look at how many different pieces of paper have been abandoned or forgotten on top of the units. This common office practice causes definite information security issues.
The argument for having printers on every single desktop in the office has really gone away because secure print technology has been introduced at more centrally shared multifunctional devices. These changes have allowed organizations to right-size their workplaces, reducing printer fleets down to something that is much more manageable and cost effective.
Another opportunity for consolidation and cost savings for government agencies is in limiting the number of vendors handling their printers. If you are using a different vendor for copiers and printers, consolidating to one vendor simplifies your cost tracking and processes when problems arise, and ultimately saves your organization money.
5. Take Advantage of State Contracts
State contracts are good news for all state entities, county governments, city governments and educational institutions, including colleges and universities or K-12. A lot of great contracts are available in today’s market.
The state of Minnesota negotiated an aggressive contract for multifunctional copiers and printers, as well as for secure print and scan software. Benefits include:
- Aggressive pricing
- Built-in terms and conditions to make sure organizations are taken care of from a vendor's standpoint
- Service levels built in for response time and uptime percentage
- Free trainings
- Free moves
Other contracts, such as National Joint Powers, that some people are not aware of, can also offer an advantage for government agencies.
A Loffler expert can help you build a platform for a cost-effective and secure print strategy and take advantage of these contract options.
Melissa is an Account Manager focused on serving government institutions, including both state and county agencies in the Twin Cities. She has over 30 years of industry experience. In her free time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and cooking.