Security: The Conversation You Need To Have Now


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With the universe of connected devices growing exponentially, so is the sophistication and volume of cyberattacks and data breaches that can cause acute harm to businesses and people alike. This complex landscape makes securing devices, data and identities essential to preserving the trust and confidence customers have in technology and the companies – and partners – they choose to connect with.

“Security” is the topic you can’t escape—and shouldn’t ignore, even if your customers don’t seem to be actively talking about it. Although a meager 16 per cent of respondents think printers are at high risk for a security breach (significantly less than desktops/laptops and mobile devices), there has been a 200% rise in breaches due to targeting endpoint devices. If that number didn’t make you sit up straighter, how about this: the average cost of a data breach is $4 million. As increased mobility widens the net, companies large and small are at ever-greater risk.

Endpoint security is a huge opportunity for the channel to reinvent the role they play in devising and deploying security strategies in their accounts, advancing security thought leadership, creating meaningful value for customers, and moving from transactional to contractual relationships. 

While cyber security is a critical consideration for IT decision makers, it’s not always top of mind. Further, while customers may cite the need for improved security, the focus tends to be only the networking half of the story, when in fact devices present the largest security breach vulnerabilities in most organizations. Channel partners can facilitate security-focused conversations with customers by asking the right questions to uncover potential vulnerabilities and offer industry-leading guidance on how and where to harden their endpoint security policies.

Remember paper? The world is increasingly digital but there doesn’t seem to be less paper, and, especially in certain verticals, what’s on the paper is highly sensitive and/or confidential. Think hospitals. A nurse inadvertently prints a patient’s test results to a printer on another floor. When she goes to her printer and doesn’t see it, she hits print again. But what about that first document? If the printer doesn’t require user authentication, the document prints and is easy pickings for anyone who might grab it and share the information. Small breaches like this are violating HIPAA requirements and spurring legal battles across the country. Share with your customer that both hardened authentication, like fingerprints and PINs, or soft measures such as passwords and facial recognition, are options they can evaluate based on their threat exposure.

What about data that may never be printed? Today’s threats require attention to data in-transit as well as endpoint devices, including printers. White hat hacker Michael “Mafiaboy” Calce says, “Printers are the largest group of devices in an office setting. . . Hackers can pull all of the jobs from the printer’s memory or they can do many other things to run exploits like use some of the ports of the printer to gain access to the entire network.” Customers need to consider how they ensure that only authenticated users and devices access their network, and how they encrypt data. Are they able to track printer use? Are security updates happening automatically and consistently across PC and printer fleets? What about when they are ready to retire devices? Are they confident that data destruction is happening in a compliant manner?

How wide is the net? Last year, there was a 200% increase in attacks targeting notebooks and desktops. If a PC BIOS is attacked or corrupted, can your customers’ IT team sleep knowing that their company data is automatically protected? Are they thinking beyond the BIOS? For instance, do employees’ smartphones extend endpoint security by providing alerts and locking PCs when they step away from their desk? If a laptop is stolen, are they able to remotely wipe it clean? What about restoring the data? As the number of connected devices multiplies, customers need to be looking for products that have designed-in detection and recovery capabilities so they can trust their technology.

Are they safe in the wide, wild world? How often are customer employees working in public—on a plane, at a coffee shop, at the soccer field? 90% of visual hacking attempts are successful. Do their devices have features to prevent prying eyes from seeing—and stealing—data? What about browsing. The majority of IT professionals say that an insecure web browser is the primary attack vector. If that’s true for your customer, what are they doing to harden that vulnerability and prevent malware, ransomware, and viruses from infecting other browser tabs and the system itself? Remember to think about the users themselves. Security systems to be discrete and unobtrusive to avoid alienating users and inhibit them from adopting smart security practices.

Security—especially endpoint security—is an urgent and fast-evolving target and as leaders, we have to walk the talk. As we beef up our own leadership credentials on security, HP has created a new Security Advisory Board, bringing together the company’s security leaders across each major business unit along with several external cybersecurity experts, each with unique perspectives on the threat landscape facing companies today. We are thrilled to bring this offering to our company, the partner community and the marketplace.

In the end, customers recognize its criticality but may not understand the full picture. With the right questions and a consultative approach, the channel can convert this gap into a tremendous opportunity to deliver increased value to customers and deepen their confidence in their security measures—and their provider partners.

About: HP Reinvent | World Partner Forum

From its beginning, HP has created technologies that enable people to do the impossible. We exist to create the future – imagining it, reinventing for it – and together with our partners, making it happen. HP Reinvent | World Partner Forum, formerly known as the HP Global Partner Conference, is a reinvention of our most important annual engagement with the channel. This year's forum will be a sharing of ideas and perspectives about how we continue to transform our partnerships, our portfolio and our relationships with customers to anticipate what’s next.

Stephanie Dismore is Vice President and General Manager, Americas Channels, HP Inc.

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