PrintIT Reseller issue 118

01732 759725 VOX POP 46 More people seem to want to be able to connect printing and scanning together and they are looking at security a bit more seriously now. Our office supplies and furniture business is doing just as well, so it looks as though there is a return to confident times now that offices are expanding again. PrintIT Reseller: One in five respondents see AI as an existential threat to their business and have concerns around data privacy and security, what steps can organisations take to mitigate risks of AI in the workplace? John Green: I think it’s important that AI complies with the regulations set out to protect customers who use managed print solutions, telecoms and IT services and carry out regular security audits. AI needs to have some boundaries and if that means setting up rules-based systems that allows only certain people to use it in the workplace, then that might be a good way of preventing AI from developing out of control, with farreaching consequences. Daniel Gilbert: Employee training and teaching best practices is the most important step to take to mitigate these risks. Ensuring robust cybersecurity policies and technologies are in place when met with competent use will go a long way to prevent security breaches and lessen the impact of threats and phishing attacks. The use of AI systems in businesses is becoming more prevalent, and ethical AI practices need to be in place to understand fairness, accountability and transparency of its use. Similarly, compliance with legal requirements and industry standards should be understood before they are implemented, and their use should be monitored to sense check output and to correct potential biases or errors. Jon Palin: We regularly monitor our customers’ systems, whether they are using MFPs, printers or IT hardware and software. There needs to be some sort of monitoring and auditing system for AI in businesses and schools to help control the activity, it’s undertaking, and the information it has access to within the customer’s system. Under the PSTI (Product Security & Telecommunications Infrastructure) Act, passed at the end of April, OEMs and suppliers are now duty-bound to ensure that easy-toguess, or regularly applied, passwords are banned for gaining access to any machine or system. Paul Kamlesh: With software like PaperCut, it’s possible to add layers of rules to limit the use of, or gain access to, certain features of an MFP or printer. Maybe this type of software can also be used to place added security on the use of AI in companies and schools. With robust encryption on MFPs, it may be possible to encrypt any data that is stored or being used on the hard drive. Current security measures are very stringent so should be sufficient. Arwel Griffiths: At the moment AI is still in its infancy, but in the back of everyone’s mind is the question about how it’s managed (and is there an emergency ‘off-switch’?) so that it doesn’t become uncontrollable. Probably the most effective way to reduce the risk now, is to add some way of making it difficult to get access to personal data and maybe even to limit who has access to AI within companies, using multi-layered authentication to approve what is being carried out by AI, as an added layer of security. We are also seeing a move towards digital transformation, especially in schools with smart devices and connected laptops for students and teachers, e-learning over the internet and school intranets. We have even been discussing the slow but steady introduction of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence at this stage, for lesson planning, assessments and adding efficiency to admin tasks. Paul Kamlesh: We have seen our business increase sharply this year and mainly in the mid-volume sector of our MFP range and in managed print services. We have also seen an increase in enquiries from existing customers about IT services, giving a clear indication that customers really want to combine their business systems under one contract. Interestingly, we have seen the number of referrals increase from a local IT services supplier that we often come into contact with. They refer their customers to us, who have asked about managed print services, which they don’t provide. In response to this, and the increase in the enquiries from our own customers relating to IT technology, we have formed a partnership with this local IT services company and are now collaborating to fulfil our areas of strength, within businesses and schools that require a combined systems approach. Arwel Griffiths: The last 12 months has been really busy for us with a steady increase in the number of multifunctional printer-copier-scanners in the mid volume, 30-50ppm segment. Ensuring robust cybersecurity policies and technologies are in place when met with competent use will go a long way to prevent security breaches and lessen the impact of threats and phishing attacks continued... Steve Smith Jon Palin