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ISM Article

Keeping Customers Secure

11 Dec, 2006 By: Eric Stavola, Witt Company imageSource

Keeping Customers Secure

As I travel around talking with dealer principals and sales staff alike, I
constantly get asked, "Hey Geek Boy! What are some hot topics for IT/MIS?" or
"What are some areas that I can talk about to engage IT/MIS personnel?".
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting up with a number of my fellow "Geek
Cohorts" at a convention about key concerns and issues for IT/MIS personnel.
Other than when the next Star Wars saga is going to be released, the
overwhelming topic was that of security!

Security always has and will be a key concern when dealing with IT/MIS
personnel. In the copier realm, most perceive the topic of security as simply
limiting copies or prints via account codes.  As we have grown into a
value-added industry, so too, have the security solutions that we can provide
our customers.  As with most things in life, to understand we must first define,
in hopes of gaining a better grasp of the conceptualization of selling the
security solution.

The term information security describes the tasks of guarding digital
information, which is typically generated by a computer or copier and stored on
a hard drive or other storage media. When our information is seen as "secure,"
it ensures the user, or in some cases your client, that protective measures have
been properly implemented. When talking to ANY IT/MIS personnel about security,
keep in mind that we are simply talking about keeping information or data
secure. Furthermore, three key characteristics of information that must be
protected at all times are:

  • Integrity
  • Confidentiality
  • Availability

Thus, as a rule always gear your conversations with IT/MIS in regards to
security with these three characteristics in mind. As a sales rep engaging
IT/MIS personnel about security, we should further focus on factors such as: 

  • Access Control – Ensure that only legitimate users/traffic are allowed
    on the network or on Network Devices.
  • Encryption – Ensures data cannot be intercepted or read by anyone other
    than the intended party involved.
  • Identifying Weaknesses – Example: Network copiers running useless
    protocols or opening potential holes to the network.
  •  Limited Access – Protection for critical devices including MFPs,
    Printers, and Scan Stations.
  • Change Management – Document change to all areas of IT infrastructure.
    We will aid our customer   and achieve security through persistence and
    added layers of security.
  • Physical Security – Against theft, loss, manipulation, availability, and
  • Perimeter Security – Control access to critical   network applications,
    data, and services.

As our industry has grown and our products become more integrated into our
customers’ network environment, I hear a lot of talk about authentication. So
what exactly is network authentication?

  • Authentication – The Positive identification of a device or individual
    seeking access to secured information, services, or resources on the
  • Authorization – This is a predetermined level of access to such
    resources set in advance by IT/MIS personnel.
  • Accounting – This is simply the logging of use of each resource on the

In regards to scan to e-mail functionality on MFP devices and scan solutions,
we spend a lot of time regarding Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)
authentication. Please keep in mind that, as a whole, IT/MIS personnel always
has a battle of functionality vs. security. For example, you would probably get
annoyed if you always had to put in your user name and password to make a copy,
print, or scan. While security needs to be a high priority, we must also keep in
mind functionality and productivity.

Other Hot Security Topics for IT/MIS personnel:

  • IPv6 – "Next Generation Internet Protocol" IPv6 is designed to run well
    on high performance networks (Gigabit Ethernet) and at the same time still
    be efficient for low bandwidth networks (wireless). In addition, IPv6
    provides a platform for new internet functionality and security that will be
    required in the near future.
  • IP Filtering – As the name states, IP filtering allows for some
    semblance of filtering out unwanted access to network devices.

True Network Security comes in the forms of layers. There really is no one to
make a network 100 percent secure, because information, technology, and
attackers are always changing. What we can provide in a value add sale to IT/MIS
personnel as an industry is key layers and levels of security from a Physical
and Network standpoint. As we attack this solution focused marketplace, it is
best not to leave security behind!



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