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Marry Compliance with Imaging Solutions

12 Sep, 2008 By: Brad Arrington imageSource

Marry Compliance with Imaging Solutions

Regulatory compliances such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), the Health
Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Patriot Act have had
a tremendous impact in today’s business world.  Companies worldwide are turning
to technology more frequently to help comply with these regulations, manage
records more efficiently, and improve overall business processes with a
competitive edge.

However, when faced with regulatory compliance issues, one overlooked segment
of the needed IT infrastructure is the integrated, multifunction peripherals and
document distribution and management applications that capture, distribute,
store and print information.  These technologies are part of everyday office
workflow, yet they are largely forgotten when thinking about ways to strengthen
internal controls, harden information security, automate workflow or reduce
human error.

As imaging solutions advance and technologies are further integrated into the
digital workflow, forward-looking IT executives are recognizing the need to
include imaging solutions products into their overall analysis for facilitating
SOX and other compliances, while improving IT controls.

Neglecting to include imaging solutions in one’s IT regulatory compliancy
and security plans and strategy can be costly for an organization.  For example,
HIPAA mandates that health insurers take steps to protect the privacy of
patient-related information, including medical and payment data.  The steps
required include physical and procedural safeguards, as well as employing
technological advancements to secure patient information.  In some cases,
significant workflow reengineering may be required, and new office technology is
likely to play an important role in facilitating an organization’s compliance
with the HIPAA privacy and security requirements.

As more data is transmitted electronically – health claims,
remittance/payment, claim status inquiries, eligibility, case review and a host
of others – just about all patient information, will be subject to the
regulations.  All this data, which can be distributed or printed at the push of
a button, needs to be protected.  Unauthorized disclosures can quickly incur
costly penalties – up to $25,000 per disclosure under HIPAA – and erode customer

Beyond the issue of compliance, companies must also consider the value of
their information handled by their own employees.  Numerous recent studies have
shown that most information leakage is the result not of outside attacks, but by
internal personnel whether it is careless handling or malicious intent.  In
today’s business and information environment, businesses have a growing
awareness of the need to secure information in network storage, and monitor and
track e-mail.  But those same businesses sometimes overlook their office
equipment as a likely source of untracked information leakage.  In order to
achieve a comprehensive information security framework, businesses should take
steps to apply the same rigorous security technology and policies to their MFPs
as the rest of their resources.

Imaging solutions – including both MFP hardware and companion software – play
an important role in document collection, distribution, retention and
management.  They also are central to an organization’s required control and
process policies related to this document handling.  For instance, controls may
need to be placed around the points where paper-based information is scanned and
sent via fax or e-mailed from the multifunction device. 

devices are the central point in the office through which document-based
information is passed and converted from paper to digital form.  Offices sending
and receiving confidential information via fax, for example, may require
automatic Fax Forwarding capabilities to avoid unattended printing of
documents.  They may require multifunction devices that can enforce secured
printing and copying, as well as ones which seamlessly integrate with existing
security infrastructure such as proximity cards.

To improve the effectiveness of internal control structure, necessary to
comply with regulatory standards and security data and information – not to
mention today’s basic business due-diligence–an integrated imaging solutions’
infrastructure that includes both hardware and software solutions is critical. 

We all know imaging solutions play a significant role in the day-to-day
processing of documents and information on paper.  They can add tremendous value
to both the business process and internal information control structure. That’s
why progressive executives and IT organizations revere the capabilities of this
technology, not only for improving regulatory compliance, but also for advancing
a company’s efficiencies, lowering operating risk and costs, and improving
information security. 

Courtesy of Brad Arrington, Manager, Solutions Business Development
Division Canon U.S.A. Visit


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