Sharon McNee (Research Manager)

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been in force since May 2018. IDC research shows that despite a slow realization and recognition of its significance, organizations are now aware and actively monitoring their overall corporate compliance and IT and print infrastructure security.

Almost all the 450 companies that IDC surveyed in Western Europe in 2019 were GDPR and print aware and ready, compared with only two-thirds the previous year.

Print Cost Trumps Print Security

Fear and uncertainly generated by GDPR meant that security was the number 1 priority for respondents in the run-up to the transition period last year. However, the hype and hysteria have now subsided somewhat and the day-to-day cost-cutting imperative and the demand to do more with less have regained the number 1 position in the hierarchy of corporate and operational concerns, while security has dropped into fourth position.

Despite the price-sensitive nature of the current market, those responsible for buying print solutions still consider security expertise and credentials when selecting a managed print services (MPS) provider. Most survey respondents had already incorporated or planned to include security as part of their MPS contract. However, increasingly there is buyer expectation that print devices should be out-of-the-box secure and that related solutions and services will be de facto compliant too. Eventually this type of commoditization will prevail and providers will become embroiled in a race to the bottom in terms of offering the lowest cost per page with the maximum number of components including security.

Print Security Still a Threat and an Opportunity

IDC believes there is a window of opportunity for providers to move the sales discussion away from cost per page to the value-add of providing ongoing secure and compliant print services. Security regulatory compliance is no longer a one-off project but an ongoing part of print infrastructure management and something with which organizations need constant and continuous help. By offering print security as a service either as a single offering or as part of an MPS contract, providers can enhance and deepen the relationship with the customer and potentially secure longer-term and more profitable business.

No doubt enterprise print security is becoming more robust, but it is not impenetrable and hackers are not standing still. Print-related breaches are occurring. Around 12% of respondents had experienced an incident in the past year, yet printers are still often overlooked as network weak spots. Providers must create awareness and fear around the fact that printers are vulnerable, and offer the services, assurances, and peace of mind that customers need.

Source: IDC European Imaging, Printing, and Document Solutions Survey, April 2019 (n = 450)

Please contact Sharon McNee if you would like to know more about IPDS research.