Headteacher Magazine, guide to services and products for UK Schools
There’s no denying that schools and colleges have benefitted from the development of increasingly sophisticated technology for the classroom and back office. However, with innovation comes greater tech vulnerability, and it is critical to protect sensitive student and staff data. Printers aren’t typically considered the front line of cyber security, but ever-increasing hard drive space means they shouldn’t be overlooked when assessing your school’s vulnerability to data breaches.
The only way to ensure the safeguarding of information is to prepare for all eventualities. Here are three key steps you should take to protect against security threats when purchasing a new printing system:
Step one – Audit internally
Carry out a thorough audit of the internal processes, policies and equipment within your organisation. Developing a comprehensive understanding of where your data is stored and who has access to it is pivotal to introducing the best safeguarding practices. This will help you choose the best printing systems based on your specific requirements and pressures.
Step two – Know your requirements
It is imperative to research and avoid impulsive purchases when overhauling your printing systems – remember, they’re an investment. Always check that a device has the necessary security features required by your school. If you plan to store data on the printer’s hard drive, check that the device has the highest level of encryption. Similarly, if you transmit sensitive data over Wi-Fi, you’ll need user authentication and access tools.
Printers usually come with benchmark security features, but don’t be afraid to discuss individual needs with a supplier – they will be best placed to recommend bespoke options.
Step three – Research developing tech
This drive to deliver top-level security is set to continue across the print industry, particularly in the wake of GDPR. Larger manufacturers have begun introducing enterprise-level security solutions within all their devices to keep up with consumer needs. For example, Xerox has launched its ‘ConnectKey Technology’, which offers intrusion prevention, device detection, documentation and data protection. HP and Lexmark are also providing their own version of these high-end security features.
It’s a relief to know that today’s printing devices are built with security in mind. There is a presumption that such intelligent technology comes with a high price tag, however investment in more secure systems will save you money in the long term. For example, most of these machines ship with large amounts of toner, along with options for higher capacity cartridges, therefore they inherently have low ongoing running costs.
By following these steps and choosing a knowledgeable provider, you have the best chance of getting great value for money and protecting your school against possible data breaches that innovative technology brings with it.
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