HP Teams With Partners On Print, PC Security Solutions Offensive

HP Inc. is teaming with partners on a security solutions blitz aimed at snuffing out potential printer and PC security breaches.

The partner offensive is being backed up by a new multimillion dollar global campaign aimed at "elevating the awareness" of security risks facing businesses and consumers.

The campaign kicks off Tuesday with the premiere of the newly lauched HP Studios web series "The Wolf," featuring actor Christian Slater, in a series that highlights how corporate networks can be hacked and what companies must do to protect themselves.

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"This is a tremendous amount of untapped opportunity here for partners," said Stephanie Dismore, vice president and general manager, Americas Commercial Channel for HP, speaking about the security solutions push. "What we are trying to do is help the channel have more security conversations for PC and print."

HP is teaming with partners on a full PC and print security framework that includes security assessment tools and digital assets that can be co-branded by partners.

HP is also offering market development funds (MDF) and ongoing spiffs from its Blue Carpet Partner Program for midmarket and enterprise accounts. "We are creating programs to enable the channel to help get the security message to customers," she said. "This is a massive opportunity for channel partners."

The biggest untapped opportunities, said Dismore: the hundreds of million of older printers and 400 million PCs that are four years or older with antiquated technology – including outdated BIOSes – -that makes them attractive targets for hackers.

HP touts its HP SureStart technology – which is featured on its printers and EliteBooks – as the industry only self-healing BIOS. HP's printers also include HP JetIntelligence print security technology which provides secure compliance and secure authentication and monitoring that protect printer data.

HP estimates that less than 2 percent of the hundreds of millions of printers installed in businesses are secure. In one case, Dismore said, 27 nurses were suspended as a result of HIPAA violations when a document was sent to the wrong printer, and the information was widely distributed.

"We have been able to secure documents by putting them on a protected server or in the cloud and then requiring users have to identify themselves at the printer with their authentication or code while they are standing at the printer," she said.

On the PC front, HP is targeting the more than 400 million PCs that are four years or older with outdated BIOSes that put them at risk of being breached. "They are just not secure," said Dismore. "That translates into a huge dollar opportunity for partners. My rallying cry to partners is: 'Together, we can transform the marketplace to keep the threat of attacks away from customers.'"

Jeff Sheahan, senior vice president of product management at Merrimack, N.H. based Connection, the $2.5 billion national IT solutions powerhouse, said the HP security offensive is resonating with Connection customers. "Security is top-of-mind for our customers," he said. "It's a high-level concern. If you lead with a security message you get the customers' attention. It takes the conversation from a printer or PC refresh to addressing gaps in security that we uncover during our assessment process. It creates a whole different conversation."

HP has done the best job of addressing print and PC security with offerings like Sure Start self-healing BIOS, multi-factor authentication and Work Wise which leverages smartphones to notify you and lock your system if it is being tampered with, said Sheahan. "With HP you are going in with the best set of products and security story with innovation that is second to none," he said.

Connection has found strong traction with customers centered on print security audits, he said. "We have taken a strong aggressive approach on it in our security assessments," he said. "We've been able to show that the printers are vulnerable. HP does the best job of addressing print security. Their print technology security is second to none."

The print security conversation is also leading to increased lifecycle management solutions centered on printing as a service, said Sheahan.

Connection also has an aggressive PC refresh campaign centered on combining Intel's seventh generation processors with Windows 10 in 2017, said Sheahan. "We're calling it, '7 plus 10 in 17,'" he said. "We think that's a great formula for customers. It's a great time for them to refresh their fleets so they can get the hardware based security you get from seventh generation processors plus the incredible software-based security you get with Windows 10 to really take PC security to a new level. That security message is getting our customers to think about refreshing their fleet."

Connection is mining its extensive database to target older, antiquated technology for replacement, said Sheahan. "We are bringing this security message to our customers in a very concentrated way," he said.